Do you wonder why pharmacy technician jobs are in higher demand by day? Well, their roles are very significant in the pharmaceutical industry.
Pharmacists know that skilled, educated, and dependable pharmacy technicians are critical industrial players. They are crucial in giving the highest quality patient care.
This is also in agreement with the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics. They report that the demand for pharmacy technicians is now higher than average. The factors that affect the high demand include:
- Increased use of medications by the global population
- Expansion of pharmacy service organization
When you take the pharmacy technician certificate course, you can get it done in as short as nine months. The coursework aims to equip you with essential skills and real-life scenarios necessary for pharmacy technicians.
You’re then required to sit for the PTCB exam. This is a recommended pharmacy tech certification test. It’s a prerequisite before joining any pharmacy technician career scope.
Our article below will discuss the 3 common scopes of pharmacy technicians in the medical career. But, before that, let’s find out what you need to become a pharmacy technician.
What You Need to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Are you interested in becoming one? Then you should know the basic steps to fulfill this dream.
Just like any other profession, a related and relevant educational qualification is required. Applicants who are expected to finish a PTCB-accredited education or program within 60days are qualified to take the licensing exam.
Individuals who have the following may be granted the chance to take the exam:
- Certificate of completion
- Letter from an educational institution indicating the completion of the program
- Transcript or diploma
However, it is best to note that the certification will not be granted unless official proof of completion is presented.
The good news is that you no longer have to fear the exams. Medical test prep experts have made things better with the PTCB practice test. This is a pharmacy technician practice test that contains continually updated questions. The materials have everything you need to pass your actual PTCB test.
The PTCB study guide helps you master the main examination concepts. Thus, you get well-equipped to tackle the final exam. Since the PTCB online practice test materials are always up-to-date, you can’t miss out on any essentials.
The best part is that the pharmacy technician test prep counts fully towards your success in the actual exam. This is because the practice test is a true reflection of the real PTCB exam. It resembles the PTCB final test both in content and format.
Once you’re well-equipped for the final pharmacy-tech test, you can tackle the questions confidently and pass your exams. Afterward, you get certified to start practicing in the profession.
Now, what’s it like to work as a professional pharmacy technician?
What’s the Work of a Professional Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians’ standard scope of practice is to help the licensed pharmacist in every way possible. As a pharmacy tech, you’ll often report to the chief pharmacist. And you’ll be working under their direct supervision.
So, you’ll find that, especially in your early work stages, you’ll be engaging the licensed pharmacist more. This is to enhance your job experience.
There are primary functions and responsibilities that pharmacy technicians often handle. This will help you understand your life as a pharmacy tech. Remember that your tasks will vary depending on where you work.
The general roles include:
- Engaging customers in-person or over the phone and checking their written prescriptions and refills;
- Helping customers find the prescribed over-the-counter medications;
- Answering customers’ general questions within the scope of your knowledge and training;
- Confirm general information on patients’ prescriptions to ensure accuracy. You confirm the info from the licensed pharmacist;
- Creating patient profiles or accounts and updating them;
- Preparing various medications and fixing labels;
- Formulating and processing patients’ medical records and insurance claims;
- Dealing with inventory;
- Maintaining storage supplies; and
- Handle and maintain pharmaceutical equipment.
Scope in the Medical Field
1. Scope of Practice for Hospital Pharmacy Technicians
As a pharmacy technician, you may work in a hospital setting. You’ll have almost similar responsibilities to a community technician in such a case.
You should also expect additional duties depending on different situations. But, your roles as a pharmacy tech in a hospital should still revolve around what we discussed earlier.
If you happen to work as a pharmacy technician in a hospital, you should know more about:
- Different medications
- Medical terminologies
- Healthcare processes
This means that your work setting will differ slightly from those working in a community pharmacy. In hospitals, you get to interact more with patients. And, you’ll find that the patients often have varying questions regarding their medications and doses.
In all, you have to operate within the standard scope of practice. But, your senior pharmacist may allow you to assist patients on a deeper level concerning their medications. Such instances help build on your work experience.
A pharmacy technician in a hospital setting will also work closely with other healthcare physicians and staff. You may work together with other physicians to:
- Confirm some medical details
- Assess the risks of particular drug combinations
- Give patient information
2. Scope of Practice for Community Pharmacy Technicians
Among the various scopes of the pharmacy profession, community pharmacy is the most popular. As a community pharmacy technician, you get to work in your local pharmacy stores. An example includes Walmart’s pharmacy center.
The community pharmacy setting allows the public to access their medications and advice concerning their health.
Community pharmacists are the most reachable health professionals to the public. This is because they’re available to offer personalized health care and advice in a walk-in setting.
Patients do not need an appointment. In England, approximately 1.6 million people in the community visit a pharmacy every day.
Community pharmacy technicians handle a lot of customers either directly or indirectly. Customers will mostly ask you questions about:
- Insurance coverage
- Medication prescriptions
- Recommended doses
- Over-the-Counter medications and more
You should refer customers to licensed pharmacists for questions beyond your scope of practice.
Working in a community setting, you may also communicate with insurance providers. You do this to verify patients’ coverage. Furthermore, you may have to liaise with outside healthcare providers to confirm other patient information.
3. Scope of Practice for Military and Emergency Pharmacy Technicians
This scope of practice has many similarities with the other scopes. This is in terms of everyday tasks and primary responsibilities. However, as a military and emergency pharmacy technician, you should expect significant differences in your roles.
As a starter, this pharmacy profession scope can be fast-paced and demanding. You’ll need the capacity to work well under pressure. And you must be quick to respond to emergency scenarios. Particularly, if you desire to work as a pharmacy technician in a military setting, you’ll need formal military training.
For instance, you may want to be a professional military pharmacy technician in the army sector. In this case, you would require an additional:
- 9 weeks of basic combat training
- 19 weeks of advanced personal training.
The recommended training will vary depending on the military branch you choose. Thus, with extra education, training, and experience, you can advance into:
- A manager of retail pharmacy
- A pharmaceutical representative
- A licensed pharmacist
The pharmacy technician career is indeed promising. The scope of this profession is diverse, with lots of opportunities for advancement.
You can work in different pharmacy technician settings. They include hospital, community, or military-based facilities. As a certified pharmacy technician, you can also pursue an advanced career path in more prominent pharmaceutical laboratories. More so, you can proceed further to join research facilities.
Working as a pharmacy technician in different scopes, you also have opportunities to increase your pay and credentials. You can earn additional certifications and enroll in other specialty programs like sterile products, compounding, and more.
In short, there are great opportunities for advancement in different pharmacy scopes, with higher-paying positions. So, you have all it takes to set the pace for your journey as a pharmacy technician. The ball is on your court!