The Growing Opportunity in Pharmacy Tech

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You might have noticed it yourself. Last time you were picking up your prescription at the pharmacy, did the boxes behind the counter seem a bit fuller and the lines a little longer?

It's no coincidence. The rate doctors are prescribing medication, the cost for those pills and fluids and hands needed to orchestrate the process all are on the rise.

It's just a few of the reasons that the projected job growth rate for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow faster than average.

There's never been a better time to explore a pharmacy technician training program. "It's almost a constant wave of a need for more pharmacy technicians," said Paul Lerch, pharmacy technician program director at our Concorde Tampa campus.

What does a pharmacy technician do?

Pharm techs used to be relegated to more administrative type tasks in and around the pharmacy. Today, because of the demand of orders and customers becoming more active in health care, pharm techs roles have expanded to address these needs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians typically do the following:

  • Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
  • Measure amounts of medication for prescriptions
  • Package and label prescriptions
  • Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages of medications or supplies
  • Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
  • Enter customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a computer system
  • Answer phone calls from customers
  • Arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists if customers have questions about medications or health matters

A Changing Landscape

WFTS, a local TV affiliate, recently came to Concorde Career Institute in Tampa to visit with Lerch and students in our pharmacy technician program. In addition to the demand, Lerch expounded on the vertical movement available to well-trained pharm techs. Click here to watch the interview

Students, like Krystal Jordan, are hoping that their pharmacy tech training is a stepping stone to other advanced degrees.

"I know I like helping people," Jordan said. "I wanted to go into the medical field."

"I would love to go on and eventually get my pharm degree, eventually get my doctorate, and become a pharmacist," she said.

What other settings can you use a pharmacy tech degree?

While there is advancement for pharm techs in traditional environments like drug stores and hospital settings, there are also positions in pharmaceutical wholesalers, mail-order companies, health and bioscience firms, marketing and sales teams and academia.

"Pharmacy practice changes on a weekly basis with new generics and new drugs," says Mike Johnston, chairman and CEO of the National Pharmacy Technician Association as quoted in a recent U.S. News and World Report article.

Here's another reason that a pharmacy technician school might be right for you. "Before they commit to a six-year college education program, it's always a great opportunity to get some experience and make sure that is a career path that you are interested [in]," he said. "And it also provides a great job while you're in school, so you're studying and learning that material in a practical setting as well."

Do you have an Associate's degree in health care field, which is a pre-requisite for this program?