Pharmacy Technician Advantages and Disadvantages

Like any other occupation, there are advantages and disadvantages to being a Pharmacy Technician. Starting a career straight out of school, flexible work schedules and an ever increasing job market are some of the pros associated with this career. However, repetitive nature of work and high levels of stress are a downside to this job. To know more about the pros and cons of this career, read through the article that follows:

Advantanges

Quicker Career Launch:

While earning some degrees in healthcare take several years, you can earn a Pharmacy technician credential in relatively shorter period. It will take you 10 months for a certificate program, whereas an associate program will take two years to complete, the pre-requisite being just a high school diploma or GED.

Flexible Job Openings in Various Sectors:

Opportunities for you as a pharmacy technician are not limited to just the medical field. Job openings are available in retail pharmacy, grocery stores, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and mail-order pharmacies. Although most pharmacy techs work full time, occasionally even working night shifts and over the weekends, you can opt for convenient placements, especially in retail pharmacies which offer part-time options. Thus the flexibility which this job offers makes it convenient for those seeking a work-life balance.

Social Interaction and an Opportunity to Help:

You will usually work as part of a healthcare team, including pharmacy aides, pharmacists, doctors and nurses. Being part of a team, enables learning and forging of bonds amongst team members. As a pharmacy tech, you will come in contact with patients from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds. The opportunity to interact and help different people recover from their illness can make it a rewarding occupation for you.

Certification is Recognized Across The Country:

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the agency which administers the national examination for pharmacy technicians, awards the certification which is recognized nationally. Hence relocating to a new place can be a smooth transition.

Growing Number of Jobs:

Pharmacy technician jobs are expected to increase by 11.83 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. The health care industry is recession proof. Much of this is attributed to factors like an aging population, rise in chronic lifestyle diseases and an increasing number of people getting their health insured. This invariably means more prescription medications which in turn increases the demand for pharmacy technicians in the job market.

Salary and Benefits:

Pharmacy techs can, in some jobs where no prior experience is required, start earning $8 to $10 per hour, straight out of school. Certification and training gives a considerable rise to the pay package of a pharmacy technician. An experienced pharmacy technician can earn an average wage of $21 per hour. The average salary is $33,034, with entry level candidates earning 22,000 and experienced ones earning $46,980. They are offered generous benefit packages such as health insurance, paid time-off and even reimbursement for the cost associated with becoming certified. For the training required to be a pharmacy technician it is certainly prove to be a well-paying job for you.

Scope of Career Advancement:

Your career as a pharmacy tech can be a stepping stone to being a pharmacist as the learning and experience gained can be useful to pursue a career as a pharmacist. It also opens up many other professional avenues such as sterile and non-sterile compounding, specializing in nuclear pharmacy, medical equipment, technology and inventory management. This list is not conclusive as there is no dearth of paths opening up for pharmacy technicians even in business and marketing, with some taking up management positions in large retail, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies.


Disadvantages

Can Be Stressful:

As a pharmacy technician, you will process a number of prescriptions in a day. A slightest error in dispensing medications can be life threatening for the patient. Besides, you have to answer patient queries, manage billing and keep the pharmacy organized. The constant need to maintain utmost accuracy along with handling multiple tasks can be draining.

Dealing with prescription drug abuse can be stressful. Drug abuse is common amongst people of all ages and backgrounds. At times these people can be rude or aggressive. Pharmacies are at times under staffed, which means coping with more workload. In a retail setting, you will be additionally expected to sell products, keep the cash registers ringing and at times even take care of housekeeping duties like throwing trash and cleaning up the pharmacy, which means added responsibilities. The job can be physically straining as you are expected to stand for long hours in a day and are required to lift heavy boxes and reach out for supplies on higher shelves, often with the use of a ladder.

Pharmacy techs working in pharmacies that are open 24/7 can be overworked as you are expected to work night shifts, at times over the weekends and even on holidays, leading to a work-life imbalance.

Recertification Requirements:

As a certified pharmacy technician, you have better career prospects in terms of salary packages and employment opportunities. However even after earning a certification you will have to recertify every two years, regardless of whether you are working part time or full time. There are new medicines being developed every day. In recognition to this fact, continuing education to keep your knowledge up to date, is a pre-requisite to apply for re-certification. There is a fee for recertification, although some employers provide reimbursement, in some cases you may have to bear this expense.

Repetitive Nature of Work:

As a pharmacy technician, your typical day includes filling and preparing prescriptions, dispensing medications, taking payments from patients, entering data into a computer and answering calls. The work can get repetitive, doing the same job day in and day out. In busy pharmacies it can get mechanical with negligible breaks in between. For a person who thrives on a challenging work environment, a typical day of a pharmacy technician may seem mundane.


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