Pharmacy technicians are the background employees who assist pharmacists with a variety of responsibilities, more than the public realizes.
If you choose to join this industry, you will be part of one of the fastest-growing areas of healthcare.
Like with any career, there are positives and negatives to becoming a pharmacy technician.
Before choosing this path, it is important to understand both sides so you can make an informed decision.
Keep reading to learn more about the positives and negatives of becoming a pharmacy technician, so you can determine if this career is right for you.
- Primary Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
- Pros of Being a Pharmacy Technician
- Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician
- Should You Become a Pharmacy Technician
- Pros and Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician Summary Table
Primary Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense medication to health professionals or customers in hospitals or retail environments.
However, their daily responsibilities don’t stop there.
They also gather information required to fill prescriptions, measure medication dosages, label, and package prescriptions, organize inventory, answer calls from customers, arrange for customers to speak to pharmacists, accept payments, and process insurance claims.
While pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, a prominent level of independence and knowledge is required.
Also, in many states, pharmacy technicians operate automated dispensing equipment when filling patient orders, which is learned through real-time training.
Pros of Being a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmaceuticals are a recession-proof and constantly growing segment of the medical industry.
Luckily, these aren’t the only advantages of becoming a pharmacy technician.
Other pros include:
Certification Is Nationally Recognized
One of the best aspects of becoming a pharmacy technician is once you have acquired certification, it is recognized across the U.S.
That means you can work in any state, regardless of where the certification was earned.
This is incredibly convenient if you are looking to relocate to another area.
Excellent Job Stability
As a pharmacy technician, you are in a fast-growing field with excellent job stability.
Patients always need prescriptions filled and pharmacies cannot operate without you.
Pharmacies are always looking for qualified pharmacy technicians to help them accurately and quickly fill orders.
Now that many pharmacies have popped up online, pharmacy technicians will always be needed.
Flexible Work Schedule
While the hours and days can be grueling, many pharmacy technicians have a flexible work schedule that allows them to complete appointments and errands during the day when everyone else is working.
Depending on the work location, you can create a schedule that works to your advantage, allowing you to spend time with your friends and family while maintaining a solid career.
Get to Help Others
One of the greatest benefits of entering this field for most is the ability to help people.
You will aid pharmacists in delivering patient care for those who are suffering from a variety of ailments.
You are ensuring the correct medications are dispensed, giving instructions on how to take the treatment, and ensuring no drug interactions exist between different medications.
This is an extremely rewarding field that will make you feel good!
Short Training Period
Schooling is minimal for pharmacy technicians, which is excellent for those who are not interested in lengthy schooling and allows you to start earning money faster.
If you wish to earn a diploma, you can begin your new career in as fast as 12-months.
If you decide on an associate degree, your career will start in only two years.
You must find the education path that best fits your lifestyle and budget.
Training Can Be Completed Online
To add to your educational flexibility, you can earn a degree online, which offers a wealth of benefits.
If you have a busy work or family schedule, you can log in whenever is convenient for you to complete the required coursework.
You will have practical work experience from earning the degree without having to sacrifice time away from friends and family and your responsibilities.
Work in Diverse Settings
Pharmacy technicians can work in a variety of settings including grocery stores, convenience stores, hospitals, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, to name a few.
Each has a unique environment so if you find one that doesn’t suit your needs, you can always work in another location.
This allows you to determine what environment best suits your skills and personality.
Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician
Like with any career path, there are a variety of cons that may make you rethink becoming a pharmacy technician, including:
Could Require Continuing Education
To maintain your position as a pharmacy technician, you must complete continuing education courses that are designed to communicate the latest developments in pharmacy.
Also, these courses are required to keep your certification current.
If you do not complete these requirements, you will lose your certification or licensure, rendering you unavailable to legally work, depending on the state requirements.
High Levels of Stress
Pressure is something that will come into play as a pharmacy technician, and this could lead to constantly elevated levels of stress.
Part of your role is to work quickly to fulfill patient needs, so there will always be a time crunch.
Also, knowing that making a mistake could be the difference between life and death weighs on many considering this career.
Trickle in uncooperative patients and demanding doctors and this may not be the right area for you.
Interaction With Some Unpleasant Customers
Given that you will be working with the public, you will have to deal with unpleasant customers.
You may find some patients are rude or even mean to you for no reason.
Encountering unpleasant individuals daily could make you question your career path and even make you want to leave the job you worked so hard to earn.
May Have to Work Long Hours
One of the greatest cons of becoming a pharmacy technician is the requirement to work long hours.
Your job is critical to ensure pharmacies can serve their patients when needed.
Therefore, it can be challenging to coordinate events because of your long shift schedule.
This means you may miss family and friends’ activities, so you need to understand if this is the right career path for your lifestyle.
Need to Earn and Keep Certification
24 states require pharmacy technicians to be certified.
There are two certification types available, The National Certification and a diploma.
Offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the National Certification requires an associate degree or more than one year of experience working in the field.
The high school or equivalent diploma is required by the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians.
Although your state may not require certification, most employers recommend the certificate.
Once certified, you will need to recertify every two years, which requires 20 hours of continuing education and a specific number of training units.
Repetitive Job Duties
The role of a pharmacy technician is incredibly repetitive which results in dull daily tasks.
You could become bored due to the lack of variety throughout the day.
Unfortunately, this is a normal part of the job that you must adjust to that will never change.
If you are not the type to perform repetitive tasks or get bored easily, this may not be the best career path.
Unfavorable Work Hours and Days
In addition to working long hours, you may be working nights, weekends, and holidays.
Many pharmacies are open 24/7/365 to ensure patients get the medication they need when needed.
Therefore, you must consider because you may not have much energy or time to attend various events or activities.
Also, you may be required to work some holidays which can disrupt traditions and family functions.
Should You Become a Pharmacy Technician
Many pros and cons exist when considering becoming a pharmacy technician.
Pharmacy technicians must be patient and friendly since you will be regularly interacting with co-workers, patients, and healthcare.
Since you will need to deal with unpleasant patients or coworkers, you must keep a smile on your face.
Also, pharmacy technicians must be organized, observant, and alert, especially when compiling customer prescriptions to ensure mistakes are not made.
Like with most careers, communication with patients, doctors, coworkers, and other healthcare professionals is paramount and will make you successful in this role.
A pharmacy technician’s role can be satisfying and fulfilling but may not always be easy.
Building a career in this field requires a certain type of individual who can manage stress, is friendly, and is dedicated to helping others.
Are you up for the challenge?
Pros and Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Pharmacy Technician
|Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician
|Certification Is Nationally Recognized
|Could Require Continuing Education
|Excellent Job Stability
|High Levels of Stress
|Flexible Work Schedule
|Interaction With Some Unpleasant Customers
|Get to Help Others
|May Have to Work Long Hours
|Short Training Period
|Need to Earn and Keep Certification
|Training Can Be Completed Online
|Repetitive Job Duties
|Work in Diverse Settings
|Unfavorable Work Hours and Days