Around nine percent of the country’s 334,400 pharmacy technicians reside in California and the state is home to the top ten highest paying metropolitan areas for technicians.[33] Employment growth is up across the U.S. overall, with California holding the number one spot for employment growth. Salary growth is notable as well, placing California at number three on the list of states with the highest salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technician salaries and employment figures for California (and the nation) are as follows:[34]
Technicians' additional training allows them to perform tasks that include administering anesthesia, and medicating and vaccinating animals. Assistants feed and bathe animals, prepare examination and operating rooms, and may also perform clerical duties. State laws regulate what those working in each occupation are permitted to do. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website provides a state-by-state guide to specified duties of assistants and technicians.
In addition, many states are updating the rules and regulations concerning permitted technician duties. For example, the Idaho Board of Pharmacy recently updated its rules to allow certified pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations, clarify and transfer prescriptions, and take verbal orders, as long as key requirements—national certification and proper training—are met.8
To accommodate work and family obligations, distance learning is an option for many students wishing to earn a degree in veterinary technology from home. The AVMA accredits several distance-learning courses that meet the same standards of accreditation as traditional programs and include a clinical component. Students fulfill the clinical training through sponsorship by a licensed veterinarian.
"One of the most challenging aspects [of the job] comes down to maintaining knowledge on all the changes that occur within the field," says Mike Johnston, chairman and CEO of the National Pharmacy Technician Association. "Pharmacy practice changes on a weekly basis with new generics and new drugs." Another challenge is interacting with patients who are "not always feeling their best," he says. "The majority of your customers that you're going to be dealing with are sick – whether it be a cold or sinus infection or a much more serious, chronic condition. So it takes a lot of compassion and empathy."
Since you’ll be required to work with computers, software and financial transactions in your dealings with the public, learning some accounting principles—specifically billing and reimbursement—will come in handy. Consider taking a mathematics course. Understanding patient maintenance software, pharmaceutical software and prescription processing software will also give you an advantage. Learn about data management and take a course in Microsoft Excel to further give yourself an edge.
Top Tech is an annual program designed to identify, recognize, and reward Ryder’s top performing technicians. Eligible participants for the award are selected from Ryder’s team of more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian-based technicians and are measured on technical training qualifications, outstanding customer service performance, and quality workmanship. After advancing through three increasingly demanding rounds of challenging written and hands-on tests, seven finalists compete for the top honors at the Top Tech Competition.
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