Thinking of Becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician?

The Role of the Technician

Technicians will have different roles depending on the setting in which they are going to be working. In a retail setting they usually perform all of the following:

  • Assist pharmacists in providing pharmaceutical care
  • Perform tasks such as computer/data entry,
  • Medication preparation/selection
  • Counting and labeling
  • Refer patient questions regarding medications and drug information to the pharmacist
  • Handle inventory
  • Bill insurance carriers

Technicians in a health system pharmacy (such a hospital), could also be responsible for the following:

  • Reviewing patient charts
  • Prepare and deliver medications to nursing stations
  • Perform unit dose packaging
  • If certified, they can prepare sterile materials such as IV antibiotics and chemotherapy products.

Certification

In the past, the majority of pharmacy technicians were trained on the job after being hired. The problem with this is that on the job training by its very nature is very employer specific and usually limited to the tasks that employer would like you to perform. In most cases, it does not provide the necessary training or background regarding pharmacy practice. Formal education requirements, competency exams and registration with a State Board of Pharmacy is now slowly taking over on the job training. Many states in the USA already have certification requirements to even be eligible for a technician job. It’s only a matter of time until more and more states adopt legislation requiring all pharmacy technicians to receive formal training and to become certified.

Certification Exam

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is an exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and is taken upon completion of the pharmacy technician training course. The exam is officially recognized by over 25 individual State Boards of Pharmacy. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and needs to be completed in a 2 hour window. There are three areas of measured competence:

  • Assisting the pharmacist in serving patients – This is the most comprehensive portion of the exam. In includes material on dispensing prescriptions, distributing medications and collecting/organizing information. You also will need to scan prescriptions for accuracy and validity, perform certain counting tasks and performing certain pharmaceutical calculations. This section of the exam consists of 66% of the total exam material.
  • Maintaining medication and inventory control systems – This section will test you on knowledge of placing and receiving drug orders, storing drugs correctly and other inventory related questions. This section of the exam consists of 22% of the total exam material.
  • Knowledge of pharmacy operations – This section will test your knowledge on general pharmacy operations including various workflow based questions, maintaining pharmacy establishments, various legal questions and questions on dispensing and computer management systems. This section consists of 12% of the total exam material.

Career Opportunities

In terms of jobs that don’t require a college degree, being a pharmacy technician is ranked one of the highest in multiple categories. It consistently ranks in the top 100 fastest growing jobs also in the top 100 best jobs without a college degree. The annual job growth rate for technicians is over 25%! So, where are all of these technicians going to work? Retail pharmacy is but one job area that pharmacy technicians can work in such as:

  • Clinical practice
  • Compounding
  • Nuclear medication
  • Training & Education
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Research & Development
  • Consulting

The Pharmacy Technician Class

The course itself usually consists of 14-15 classes spanning 7 to 8 weeks. The course is certainly comprehensive! Here is a list of topics that you can expect to learn during the course:

  • History of pharmacy
  • Pharmacy law and ethics
  • Health system pharmacy and technology
  • Inventory management
  • Health insurance billing
  • Compounding and sterile products
  • Math skills
  • Dosage calculations, concentrations and dilutions
  • Alligations
  • Parental calculations
  • Dosage formulations and administration
  • Drug classifications
  • The different systems of the body

Considerations During Pharmacy Automation

At some time there is a realization by management that there are negative points in the operation of a pharmacy that require significant attention in order for the total operation of the pharmacy to improve to an optimum level. The management of the pharmacy must decide what area of the operation of the business needs the most attention in order to achieve improvement in overall operations. There is also a realization that pharmacy automation is likely the best way to improve operations, so that the work environment is improved, mistakes in filling are reduced, and overall cost of operations are reduced. Management will need to look at the detail of all parts of the operation and decide what negative issues in the operation are having the greatest impact on the bottom line.

Are your employees able to keep up with the work load in peak times?
Is the pharmacy incurring overtime charges as a result of peak time prescriptions?
Are there significant prescription filling errors?
Are employees over stressed by the work loads of peak times?
Is there employee turn-over based on the stress of tasks performed?

These are some of the questions that management must answer in order to decide where the greatest need for improvement exists. Once scrutiny has been accomplished, it is necessary for management to rank the needs from “Most Needy” to “Least Needed”. All of the listed needs can be quantified by assigning a dollar figure to each one. If the pharmacy incurs overtime to fill prescriptions, then it is necessary to calculate the monthly and annual estimated cost of that. If management feels that waiting times for customers to get prescriptions is a negative, then an estimate needs to be made for the amount of lost business that may have caused. The main point here is for the management to decide what areas need improvement most for the good of the business by using pharmacy automation. Quantifying these areas that need improvement can help in deciding where to put the most resources to get the greatest improvement.

An important change to operations like the addition of pharmacy automation must have the understanding and support of current employees. It would be in the best interest of the continuation of the business to have the input of current employees throughout this process. Having pharmacists, technicians, and other employees give their input during the pharmacy automation can strengthen their support of the changes as these changes occur. During this process of evaluating what the negatives might be in operating the pharmacy, it is important to also look at what tasks could be added to daily operations if there were time available to do them. Obvious tasks include the time for a pharmacist to answer in-depth questions from customers or explain drug interactions. Other less obvious tasks might be more involvement with customers about over-the-counter drugs. There may be tasks that have been required for the pharmacist to do after the normal work day, that could be done during regular hours. The value of each of these tasks should be quantified in some way, so that their value can be added with the values of the possible improvements. This should help to quantify what the overall improvement of the pharmacy operation will be if automation is added to operations.

There will need to be a quantification of the cost of the pharmacy automation and its associated components. These will include the cost of pharmacy automation equipment, but it may also include employee training, rearrangement of pharmacy shelving and equipment to allow floor space for changes, and the installation of the automation equipment. There will be a disruption of normal operations while the equipment is being installed. Management will need to do some advance planning to cut down on the impact this might have on daily prescription filling.

Locations for all the prescription drugs will have to be determined. As prescriptions are filled there will need to be a storage area to keep the filled prescriptions. This will need to be adequate enough space to contain all the prescriptions that would be generated during the heaviest peak filling time. It is important to make sure that there is a proper place for the pharmacist to review each prescription after it has been filled by automation, but before it goes to the storage area or is given to the customer.

A very important part of the automation process that must occur before the selection of the proper solution is the establishment of a relationship with an automation company. It is particularly important to review the capabilities of several companies that have done automation work for other pharmacies. Management should visit other locations where pharmacy automation installation have been done, so that an unbiased opinion of effectiveness of the installation can be gained. Management should prepare a list of questions about the installation that relate to the needs of their own pharmacy operation. The engineering staff of the automation provider should be able to recommend to the company what the best automation solution would be, considering the company needs. Management will need to be able to depend on technical recommendations from the provider. Management should also make a visit to the manufacturing facility where the automation equipment is manufactured to gain as much insight about equipment support and the quality of the equipment that might be purchased.

Earn a Competitive Pharmacy Technician Salary With Proper Education

Today’s healthcare industry is growing fast, and is estimated to increase by up to 25 percent or more in the next 5 to 10 years.

For certain service-oriented positions including that of the pharmacy technician or `PT`, this means thousands of new jobs available each year, making the profession one of the more stable positions that does not require a college degree.

Salary is competitive as well; looking into becoming a pharmacy technician could be a lucrative decision for a detail-oriented person considering a career in healthcare.

Pharmacy Technician Salary Range

A pharmacy technician’s salary will vary depending on a number of factors such as education and prior experience. Although in many places it is possible to secure a position as a PT without having a college education or formal specialty training, those jobs tend to be much lower in salary.

In the US and Canada, non-schooled pharmacy technicians in retail settings generally earn a basic hourly rate that starts anywhere from minimum wage to slightly higher and increases as experience is gained. Most of the entry-level jobs that require no formal education are in retail settings, which pay the least across the board.

Advancing from there, positions for schooled individuals that either have a college degree or have graduated a diploma program for pharmacy technicians and have earned their CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) increase substantially.

While there are still many lower-paying retail locations, having the CPhT opens many higher-paying employment opportunities, whether in more advanced positions in a retail pharmacy or in hospital, outpatient and inpatient positions.

In the US and Canada, most recent job data for a CPhT shows salary ranges from $20,000 USD per year to start, up to as much as $40,000 USD annually after a few years in the profession.

Noted real averages seem to be between $23,000 and $36,000 annually for a typical CPhT position. Higher paid positions are usually out of retail settings, with military-run facilities paying the most.

In the UK, individuals are required to obtain certain levels of schooling in order to secure a position as a pharmacy technician, which differs greatly from a pharmacy dispenser.

Pay rates usually coincide with AfC Pay Bands depending on the schooling and experience someone has. Non-specialized technicians with qualifications earn between £16,000 and £20,000 annually, while higher-rated positions and those with more years experience earn as high as £37,000 annually.

As with rates in the US and Canada, pay rates are higher out of the retail setting and highest for jobs paid by the military. Pharmacy dispensers typically start lower than the base pharmacy technician rate and increase from there.

How to Earn a Good Pharmacy Technician Salary

As with most jobs in the healthcare industry, salary is dependent on schooling and experience. It is usually possible for someone with no schooling to gain the necessary experience and work his or her way up to higher salaries, but this is the long route to higher pay.

For those able to put the time into 12 to 24 months of schooling and externship, or to continue their basic education to take more specialized training, they will not only have a higher starting pay in most cases, but will also have more job opportunities, whether in retail or hospital settings.

Of the many courses and training programs available to those wishing to become a PT, be aware of the differences in terms of qualifications after completion and how that will affect salary.

Certificate courses and the equivalent offer no real qualifications and provide only a basic overview of the job. Diploma courses, College degrees and specialized educational training courses in the UK provide the appropriate certifications to obtain a position as a PT where someone can perform to the full capacity of the job. These, naturally, are the jobs that will pay more from the start and offer the greatest salary potential.

Regardless of how someone enters the field, a position as a pharmacy technician can be an interesting and pleasing career in service-oriented healthcare. It is definitely a recommendation to obtain the necessary education ahead of time though, or to continue education in order to earn the higher certifications the field offers.

Even if in some situations starting salary are similar, having the qualifications to fill any type of position in the field without being limited to retail or basic positions is well worth it, both professionally and financially.

In order to find out more about best educational programs to earn the best pharmacy technician salary, contact your local pharmacy technicians professional association or pharmacy education association such as the AAPA or PTCA in the US, the CAPT in Canada and the GPC in the UK. These organizations can help anyone get on the right track to a rewarding and great-paying career as a pharmacy technician.

How to Get Prepared For Online Pharmacy Technician Certification Training

As technology advances today, almost everything is available via information and communication technology (ICT). By everything, I mean education too. Distant learning has become a new tread among learning curriculum in present times. Many schools, universities and colleges offer their programs well ready and available online, allowing you to do your preferred course at very flexible timing and in the comfort of your own home.

Online pharmacy technician certification training can be found online as well. If this has become your choice of education, here are a few useful tips to guide you.

  • Before starting, you would need to know what exactly a pharmacy technician does. Basically, you would be assisting the pharmacist with all office and non medic work. This would include maintaining patient medical records as well as dispensing medication. Do some research and talk to those involved in the sector to get in depth knowledge.
  • Next, make sure you already have a high school diploma. This is crucial for all occupations as it shows that you have got the basic fundamentals of your primary and secondary education.
  • Next, head on and look up an online pharmacy technician certification which suits your wants and which you are comfortable with. Once you’ve found the course you can work with, enroll yourself and start studying. It is best if you get your assignments and course work done on time and with perfection so as to avoid losing out points and marks.
  • Next, sign yourself up for an internship program. With this, you can gain a lot not only in knowledge but from hands on activities that can give you a great experience of what the reality of working really is.
  • If you don’t want to go through the process of a formal internship program, sign up as a volunteer at a nearby hospital, pharmacy or clinic.

Once you’ve gained your online pharmacy technician certification, you’d be ready to step out and embrace the working life. So be prepared, as it comes with a salary too!

Pharmacy Reviews – The Best Thing For Impaired Men and Women

Impaired people who desire to buy medication online can often be overcome by the sheer number of web sites that they can order from. There’s lots of competition for consumers, and it could be tough to determine which internet sites will be the right websites to buy all sorts of things from. There is additionally the issue of consumers buying from web sites that are illegitimate or aren’t qualified to provide drug treatments. The industry has known that this can be an important problem, and has taken several actions in expectations of correcting it and insuring consumer satisfaction and security. Consumers are additionally following through, and among the most common ways for all of them to safeguard one another is using pharmacy reviews.

How exactly do the disabled profit by acquiring medications on the internet? Online pharmacies may be significant to the existence of individuals with afflictions. Their bodily situation frequently helps it be very difficult for these individuals to arrive at a brick-and-mortar local pharmacy to get their treatment. While clinical doctors can often be required to take house calls for checkups and healthcare determinations, pharmacists really do not do the same thing for people. Consequently, men and women with actual physical afflictions must identify that the online drugstore they may be gonna do business with is protected, qualified, and reliable. One of several ways they can do this is by verifying several pharmacy reviews.

As with almost any e-commerce enterprise, online pharmacies strongly encourage looking at pharmacy reviews, which provide a small piece of info that the ordinary consumer won’t be capable to acquire by simply just taking a look at the online drugstore’s webpage. They can easily have info about precisely how effectively the site’s prices can rival the ones from their opponents. Consumer support is frequently reviewed in these types of review online websites. In some instances, they could additionally possess useful details with regards to the site’s capacity to process an old prescription or if it possesses a webcam or chat services for getting a treatment plan.

A number of pharmacy reviews will consist of details on how simple it is to get around a webpage or how simple it really is to order. A customer also can touch upon whether a web site ships reliable items as a caution to additional consumers. You’ll find numerous web sites out there that are deceptive, and testimonials are usually a great approach for the overall public to offer dire warnings. Subject to the customer, there may additionally be details presently there pertaining to what permits or accreditations the website has, which can go a long way toward establishing it as a respectable company.

Pharmacy reviews are very helpful for the disabled because these could be inspected through the comfort of their own properties. Because they can’t move around as regularly as some other men and women, getting all the details they may need conveniently accessible is a great benefit. The details that thorough testimonials offer you could be useful for a person wanting to see if they’ve discovered an online drugstore. You will discover other ways to find out essential data about online pharmacies, but internet pharmacy reviews could be an excellent tool for several disabled men and women who need treatment.

Community Pharmacy and the World of GP Commissioning – Prescribing Budgets

In the previous articles in this series we explored what GP consortia were, why they were being formed and we looked at the relationship between community pharmacy and primary care trusts (PCTs).

This article is the third in the series and explores the topic of “prescribing budgets” and how this has affected community pharmacy.

A prescribing budget is a sum of money that has been put aside by the local health trust to pay for the cost of drugs and appliances. Each GP practice has an allocated amount of money that it can use to buy drugs and appliances for their patients. At present most prescribing budgets are “notional”. This means that the actual money is normally in most instances still with the PCT but the GP practice is given a theoretical sum that it should try to adhere to.

As we move into the world of GP commissioning, the actual money will rest with groups of GP practices (known as GP consortia) who will decide how best to distribute the sum to member practices.

Prescribing budgets run into many millions of pounds. For example, a consortia of about 20 practices could expect to have a prescribing budget of anywhere between £20m-£30m. In addition to this, there are a number of factors that affect the prescribing budget. Some include:

1) changes in health need in the area

2) economic climate

3) drug cost inflation

4) patent expiration of drugs

5) local deprivation

6) local prescribing habits

In general, there has been a huge pressure on PCTs and GP practices to cut the cost of their prescribing budgets recently. Even a 1% saving in a consortium’s drug budget could save hundreds of thousands of pounds that could be reinvested into patient care.

So far so good – but what does this have to do with community pharmacy?

In 2005, the community pharmacy contractual framework (alternatively known as the pharmacy contract) was implemented nationally. The contract implemented a new system of reimbursement which meant that the profits made on purchases of medicine by pharmacies were limited to a set amount using a system known as “category M”.

This meant that if the community pharmacists made too much profit in one year, it would be taken off the following year of profits and vice versa. The mechanism for this was the artificial price inflation (or deflation) of a basket of certain medicines to compensate for over or under funding – “category M”.

It was soon realised that there were discrepancies in the system. For example in 2010, if a GP were to prescribe “salbutamol inhaler” the pharmacist would be reimbursed about £3 for the prescription and the GP charged for the equivalent amount on the prescribing budget. On the other hand, if the GP were to prescribe the exact product by brand “ventolin inhaler” the pharmacist would be reimbursed at about £1.50 and the GP charged at the lower rate on their budget. A number of different instances exist of similar sorts of discrepancies. This particular instance is known as “branded prescribing”.

A further example is the “switching” of drugs to similar – albeit different – chemical entities. For example, there have been sustained attempts to change patients from Atorvastatin to simvastatin. The saving that can be made by this switch alone can be huge but may not be suitable for everybody.

If you happen to be a pharmacist in an area where GPs were “hot” on these changes then your income could be significantly different from an equivalent pharmacy in an area where GPs were not so in tune with prescribing costs. This has lead to significant regional variances in pharmacy income even though the total amount distributed nationally is to a set level.

This issue is an ongoing battle between pharmacy representative groups and the government to ensure that pharmacy remuneration is fairly distributed.

In the next article in the series, we will explore the issues related to “medication review” and how recent developments in the pharmacy contract over the past 5 years has sometimes lead some GPs to question benefit of Medication Use Reviews (MURs) in community pharmacy.

Canada Pharmacy – Pioneering The Industry Of Online Prescription Drugs

Buying prescription drugs from an online pharmacy has revolutionized the concept of drug purchase over the years. More and more people are now using Internet to buy prescription medications online. Availability and exorbitant price of medicines have lured people of United States to pay more attention on online Canadian pharmacies. Fast online ordering system, reasonable shipping cost and low price of prescription medicines have made Canada drugs and Canada online pharmacy a pioneer in the mail order pharmacies.

People are using Internet as the medium for healthcare, researching illness, treatments, medicines and drugs. Today people prefer convenience and privacy while buying medications online. For them, sitting at home and placing an online order for discounted drugs is very easy compared to purchasing a drug from local drugstore at high price. The other advantage is the easy availability of generic drugs at discounted prices. You can purchase generic drugs having similar chemical composition like branded American drugs. Calculating the total cost involved in buying drugs online from Canadian pharmacies, right from ordering till delivering at your doorstep is very low compared to retail store at your neighborhood.

Although there are certain amounts of risks involved when buying drugs online but exercising good common sense and scrutiny can help you in identifying the right Internet pharmacy. It is very necessary to find out a reputable online pharmacy so that your drug purchasing becomes a happy and reliable experience. A legal online pharmacy will always ask for a valid prescription as well as ask you to sign a contact form and a medical history form. You can also check The National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) website to verify the site’s provincial license.

It is a proven fact that you can make substantial savings, upto 70% off retail prices if you buy drugs from online Canadian pharmacy. This disparity in prices has led to a rise in the popularity of discounted Canadian drugs. The number of online Canadian pharmacies has increased rapidly due to this. Many online pharmacies include shipping and handling cost in the price of the prescription whereas others offer extra discounts for first time buyers. Overall total savings will vary according to the drug, dosage and quantity ordered.

Another advantage of approaching online Canadian pharmacies is the additional services and information offered by them. Once you place an order, your prescription will be reviewed and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Your prescription will be studied closely and if required, they will give some necessary advice as well. Upon approval, your order will then be shipped directly and it will be delivered at your doorstep within 10-12 days after your order is placed. Canadian government is taking extra measures to make the drugs more affordable to the consumers.

Purchasing prescription drugs from U.S. can be very costly. Pharmaceutical companies have one set of price for the U.S. and cheaper price for other countries. It has given consumers the best alternative to make some savings as against American drugs. In the coming years, online Canada drug pharmacies are going to play a pivotal role in the growth of pharmaceutical business.

What Are Your Options When it Comes to Pharmacy Technician Schools

There is a growing number of individuals who want to enter the pharmacy technician field because of the increasing demand for that job, hence, the increase in number of pharmacy technician schools, as well. Aside from those who are just starting their career, there are also individuals who are already employed but still want to sign up for a training program as part of their continuing education and for those who are not certified yet it is their preparation for the certification exam. Online schools that offers related courses are also getting popular because of the flexible classes they offer. Graduating from an excellent training program will help your career, whether it’s a classroom setup or an online program.

The first thing you should do, obviously, is to find a respectable pharmacy technician school. Be wary of these schools because there are good ones and there are also some that are only after your money. You can evaluate the competency of the school by looking at their training programs. It’s quite normal for people to inquire about these programs. The best training program is the one that covers most of the topics that are related to pharmacy work that will prepare you for your future work at the pharmacy. There are training programs that are geared toward those who may want to be pharmacists, too, so make sure you sign up to those programs, if being a pharmacist is part of your career plans.

You can at least be assured if the school you’re interested in is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or United States Department of Education. It’s also important for the parent institutions of those offering online programs to be accredited, too. Pharmacy technician schools that will prepare you for your certification exam is an important part of your plan to work in any of the States that requires CPhT’s. Certified technicians have an advantage over non-certified technicians in terms of career advancement and salary increase.

If it’s available, try to find out the schools’ history regarding their training program success. If you know how many graduates of their training program found a job as a pharmacy technician, you should be able to evaluate the programs better. If most of their graduates landed on a job related to their field of study, you can be confident that their programs are excellent in preparing the students. Past graduates who have successfully passed the PTCB exam and are now certified is an assurance that the program being offered by the institute is great. For campus-based programs, check out their facilities and classrooms and make sure they are conducive for learning.

All you need to learn to be an effective and successful pharmacy technician should be learned in an accredited school. If you have no experience, you can still apply and learn the basics during the job itself, or better yet, enroll in a pharmacy technician school first. If you want to enroll, inquire at your local community college, vocational college, universities or even hospitals or the military that offers excellent pharmacy technician training programs. On the other hand, if you want to choose your own schedule and pace in your study, you can sign up with an online school via Internet.

Earn the Best Certified Technician Salary Through Education

For those considering a career as a pharmacy technician, understanding the range in salary is important in order for the best decisions to be made regarding training and education.

While it is a position that any interested person can apply for, those receiving on the job training – while they will make a respectable salary – generally will not start as high as Certified Pharmacy Technician Salary.

In order to have the most options in job positions, as well as the chance at the best salary possible, it is recommended that someone interested in becoming a pharmacy tech attend school for this and take the test to get their CPhT certification.

Certified Pharmacy Technician Salary Rates

Pay rates for Certified Pharmacy Technicians varies based on the schooling obtained and the type of position. Jobs in retail pharmacies tend to offer the lowest starting salaries, though they usually start above the minimum hourly wage.

Starting wage seems to come in at between $8 – $10 an hour for CPhTs with no actual employment experience, but go up to a moderate $10 – $15 per hour and more after a year of employment, and increase of responsibility.

Job statistics sites and employees in these positions mention that there is a noticeable salary increase once a CPhT has some experience, and most of the chain retail pharmacies pay fairly well at that point. Highest paying states as of April of 2012 include California, Texas, Arizona and Florida.

Other types of positions that are more specialized tend to pay more from the start, with a higher ceiling in general, than positions in retail. CPhTs working in hospitals stand to earn between $11 an hour, upwards of $20 or more. Employment through a private company such as production or compounding ranges from $9 to $17 per hour.

Non-profit employers are paying between $11 and $22 per hour and government positions – which are frequently the highest paid positions in many places – range from $11 to $22 per hour. Non-certified rates, where they are even available in these settings, are considerably lower.

How to Earn a Certified Pharmacy Technician Salary

As illustrated above, in order to earn the best salaries and to be able to apply to the best jobs, becoming certified is a main factor.

While there currently is no actual requirement that pharmacy technicians be certified, it is those that do have their CPhT who have the best opportunities; this may be changing in the near future as well, as some professional organizations are stating that certification will become mandatory as the industry grows.

This will likely be a benefit to job seekers in that salaries will likely go up as well, but jobs may soon be available only for CPhTs.

By attending college or professional training programs that will prepare a student to take the exam to become certified, any pharmacy tech will have the best options available to them.

Schooling required in order to take the exam is either a specific Pharmacy Technicians diploma course (usually lasting 10 months to a year or more), or by getting their Associates Degree, with pharmacy technician curriculum.

In both these cases be required to complete an externship of a pre-determined number of hours in order to graduate. Once they have, they may take the exam. Upon passing, students are then Certified Pharmacy Technicians.

Whether or not to just try to get the best job possible without a formal education – especially since training is provided and much of the job can be learned on the job – or to invest in the schooling is going to be a personal choice of course.

However, for someone who thinks they would like to make a life career as a pharmacy tech, getting the education will provide many more choices for them in the future.

Perhaps trying the job in a retail setting would be a good introduction, but it is still recommendable to enroll in a specialized program in order to take the fastest path to a more rewarding position and the higher, more desirable certified pharmacy technician salary.

Additionally, by enrolling now, soon-to-be pharmacy techs will be one step ahead of any rule changes regarding certification. Without the proper and approved education and certification, non-certified techs may end up having to enroll in coursework in order to get certified, anyway.

Reasons for Pharmacy Automation

The corner drug store is going through a fight for survival now. Traditionally that drug store was in our neighborhood and gave us first class service and supplies for everything from bandages to ice cream. We knew the druggist personally and he would always ask how we were and how our families were doing. The competition for these well-respected businesses has been growing with the growth of national drug corporations. In truth many of these high service, small businesses have gone out of business or have sold out to the large chain stores. The drug stores of today need to harken back to the characteristics of the corner drug store. The large companies have stores in almost every town and city. There are ways that technology can help the drug stores of today to give the high service of days gone by.

One of the best ways for a pharmacy to gain respect and customer loyalty is to use automation. Pharmacy automation affords a business consistency and patient safety. The first and foremost reason for pharmacy automation is survival, not only survival, but pharmacy growth. Pharmacies get and retain a faithful following of customers by giving excellent personal service to every customer who comes into the business.. There is no amount of money that can buy the goodwill developed over years of service from a very trustworthy business like a respected pharmacy. No doubt as this goodwill blossomed, the faithful customers of a such a store are creating the best form of advertising that a business can get. That advertising is word of mouth. The customers are telling everyone they know about the service that anyone can get at their respected pharmacy. To further develop a high service pattern, a neighborhood pharmacy can pay even closer attention to the needs of its customers. This increase in attention to customers can come from the availability the pharmacist has to deal with the customers one-on-one after being relieved from doing the all the mundane tasks of counting and measuring prescriptions. Pharmacy automation will afford him/her the ability to do this.

Usually a pharmacy will have peak hours early in the day and late in the afternoon or evening. These peaks of demand can cause a back log in the number of prescriptions that need to be filled quickly. Most of the time the customer wants to wait for the prescription, rather than make another trip to pick it up later. If prescriptions are filled manually it could take several minutes for a druggist to locate the drug that is prescribed, count or measure it out, label the bottle properly, and hand it over to a clerk to receive payment from the customer. This type pf scenario creates a pressure for the druggist to work as fast as possible to deliver prescriptions to waiting customers. Eventually the druggist will make a mistake. Studies have proven that people can attain only 85%+ accuracy in doing repetitive tasks. Actually it is very easy to determine if there might be a need for automation in a pharmacy. If during a peak time during the day the staff is unable to handle the load in a reasonable time, it is time to review the possibility of adding automation to the workforce. Definitely if the management is to the point of considering the employment of an additional pharmacist, then automation should be seriously considered. Patient safety is a second reason for pharmacy automation. There is no reason for a pharmacist to spend all of his/her work time counting and measuring, if there is an affordable solution that will take away these tasks. It is far more important for them to be available to answer questions and advise customers about drug interactions. Pharmacy automation can free them to do this.

Pharmacies have historically received 10 to 15 percent in demand for prescriptions filled annually. As time goes by, this trend is not expected to change. In fact it is very likely that the demand for prescriptions filled will increase by as much as 30 percent due to the government and insurance programs that are in place. With the allowance of the 90 day prescription coverage, the pressure for pharmacists to count and measure is increasing rapidly. Pharmacy automation can take the strain off the staff to perform these repetitions.

It is very likely that most pharmacists would rather work in an environment that would allow them to utilize the skills and knowledge that they have developed by taking rigorous training. Pharmacy automation affords the pharmacist the opportunity to depend on the efficiency of the machines to do the numbing, repetitive tasks while performing more technical tasks. If there is a need to add a pharmacist to the staff at some time in the future, it would be easy to get the best and the brightest if the pharmacy relieved them from repetitive tasks by having automation. Far more likely, there will be no need to add another pharmacist to the staff, because pharmacy automation has reduced the work load while achieving a great deal of accuracy.