Even though pharmacy tech certification and degree programs require hands-on training, some general coursework can be completed online. Many accredited schools offer online pharmacy tech programs that make it easier for a student taking care of a family or working a full-time job to complete their education. Here are some things to look for when exploring online pharmacy technician schools:
Helping a pharmacist dispense prescription medication might seem like an easy task, but it requires immense precision and detail. Pharmacy technicians ensure medications are filled correctly in a specified window of time. Unlike pharmacists, pharmacy technicians are not the sole dispensers of medication. They mostly assist in measuring, mixing, counting and labeling dosages of medications. Also, pharmacy technicians don't typically advise patients on proper medication dosages and side effects the way a pharmacist does.
Food science technicians who work in manufacturing investigate new production or processing techniques. They also ensure that products will be fit for distribution or are produced as efficiently as expected. Many food science technicians spend time inspecting foodstuffs, chemicals, and additives to determine whether they are safe and have the proper combination of ingredients.
Take the pharmacy technician certification exam. Exams are given in virtually every state. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) administer certification exams. Which one should you choose? Start by reviewing each exam’s prerequisites. You may be required to have work experience or formal education in order to take the test. It’s also a good idea to check with your state board or local employers to see which certification is accepted.
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.
The scientific aspects of the job aren't the only things that vet techs need to prepare for, however. Tear says the hardest part of working as a technician is dealing with the relatively short lifespan of animals. “Our patients live anywhere from five to 15 years,” she says, “so there’s quite a bit of grief.” Another challenge is getting by on the salary, which, on average, skews quite a bit lower than comparable jobs in human medicine. “This isn’t a career you go into for the money," Tear adds.
“You have a wide variety of equipment to choose…There’s a lot of information to digest, and it’s always changing, but Ryder does a good job of keeping you up to date with the latest manual [and] factory training…We have a very vast knowledge compared to other companies and people in the diesel industry…They’re generally pushing you to obtain your training.”