Pharmacy technicians must take the lead in educating themselves on drug information and any major changes occurring in the industry. They may be required to read about drug studies, review pharmaceutical literature or produce reports about different prescription medications and dispensing activities. Since many work in busy retail drugstores or emergency rooms, they must also have strong organizational skills and be able to work in a fast-paced environment without making mistakes.
"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."
Veterinary technicians in Texas earn a median salary of $28,530 per year. The top earners in this field may command a salary of as much as $38,100 per year. Although the median vet tech salary in Texas is below the national average for this profession ($32,350 per year), this is largely offset by the low cost of living in Texas (9.7 percent below average) and also the moderate cost of housing.
Job growth for pharmacy technicians is expected to be roughly 20 percent from 2012 through 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Demand for experienced and skilled pharmacy technicians is expected to stay strong as consumers live longer and increasingly turn to pharmacists for prescription medication to manage chronic diseases and take care of aging-related health issues.
Practical experience in a veterinary hospital is also often part of the curriculum in an associate's degree program for aspiring veterinary technicians. An externship can be completed during a student's last semester of an associate's degree program for veterinary technology or animal science. However, if there is a high hourly requirement to fulfill this externship, then it is may need to be completed during the summer between the first and second years of enrollment. Externship participants assist veterinarians by taking blood samples, weighing animals and sterilizing surgical instruments. Students learn to handle stressful situations, such as working with difficult animals, and to manage their emotions while completing work in a professional manner.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for pharmacy technicians in 2016 was $30,920, which is $14.86 per hour. Salaries can range depending on where you work. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,370. The highest 10 percent, more than $45,710, with the highest earners typically working in general medical center and surgical hospitals.
Practical training, such as completing an internship in a pharmacy, is also often required as part of training for employment as a pharmacy technician. Many employers favor pharmacy technicians to be certified with a national or local pharmacy board, such as by passing a standard exam and/or paying a fee. In the United States, voluntary certification is available through many private organizations. Elsewhere, such as in Tanzania and the United Kingdom, pharmacy technicians are required to be registered with the national regulatory council.
Texas A & M University’s Bachelor-level Animal Science program is offered at their Kingsville campus in the town of Kingsville, Texas. This is a full, 4-year public college with 13,246 students, of which 74% are undergraduates. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $7,700 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $20,191 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,344, although this varies from program to program.
Clinics and animal hospitals have increased their use of vet techs to provide general care and lab work. This demand has led to a much faster than average projected job growth through 2026. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that veterinarians are employing veterinary technologists and technicians instead of veterinary assistants because of their higher skill level.
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Most veterinary technicians are certified by the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). In order to qualify for certification, vet techs must complete a two-year degree program at a school accredited by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. Some vet techs, especially those looking for clinical research jobs, will go on to get a four-year degree in animal science.
In the United Kingdom, a Pharmacy Technician now must complete a recognised accredited training program with vocational training to SVQ/NVQ level 3 in Pharmacy Services as well as an academic underpinning knowledge program such as BTEC or National Certificate (NC) Pharmacy Services. In addition a minimum period of time of working as a trainee Pharmacy Technician is needed before final qualification and compulsory registration is required before commencing work as a Pharmacy Technician. Pharmacy Technicians may counsel patients on their medication (under the supervision or direction of a pharmacist, though counselling is not one of the learning outcomes for pharmacy technician training) as well as general dispensing of prescriptions. In community pharmacy, it has been recognised that the role is difficult to distinguish from that of a dispensing assistant with an NVQ2 qualification. Additional training is available to qualified Pharmacy Technicians and can include accuracy checking of dispensed prescriptions (though there is no legal requirement that a person be qualified as a pharmacy technician before undertaking an accuracy checking course), Medicines Management (Hospital or PCT), participation in the running of hospital clinics such as anticoagulant clinics, dosing Warfarin patients under dose banding guidance, or other higher duties traditionally done by Pharmacists.
Pharmacy techs must have strong attention to detail, as the majority of their daily tasks involve measuring, dosing and dispensing prescription medication according to very specific orders. They must also have good written and verbal communication skills to communicate effectively with the pharmacists they work with, patients, and medical professionals or medical representatives they come into contact with.
The growth of pharmacists’ roles across health care settings has led to the need for a comparable evolution in the responsibilities and roles of pharmacy technicians. Traditionally, technician tasks have focused on cashiering, insurance claim processing, medication preparation, and order entry, usually within a community or hospital setting. Advancement opportunities have been limited to lead technician or supervisory roles, medication and supply purchasing, and sterile products compounding because of a lack of promotion opportunities.
Veterinary technicians are often confused with veterinary technologists. While both occupations share some of the same job responsibilities, they work under a veterinarian to test animals and diagnose illnesses and injuries. A veterinary technician requires less education. A typical degree program completed by a veterinary technician lasts for two years and is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Licensing, certification and registration requirements for vet technicians vary by state.
The Institute for Health Professionals does not provide clinicals or internships for the Pharmacy Technician program. However, PCC’s Career Pathways program does offer internship and clinical opportunities. The cost of Career Pathways’ clinical or internship options are in addition to the Institute for Health Professionals’ registration cost. You arrange this directly with Career Pathways.
Pharmacy technicians are entry-level personnel that work in many different pharmacy settings within the health care industry. They assist the pharmacist as the right-hand person in many different pharmacy practice settings. One of the main duties of a pharmacy technician are to enter patient data and information into the computer system to process prescriptions. They are also responsible for dispensing commercially available medication, compounding specialty orders, and/or preparing intravenous medications.
As a laboratory technician on assignment with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) you might manage the laboratory associated with a tuberculosis treatment program, training the technicians you supervise in sputum microscopy. Alternatively, you might find yourself tasked with establishing a laboratory facility, introducing quality control to an HIV laboratory, or testing people for sleeping sickness in an outdoor mobile clinic.