What Can You Do With a Pharmacy Technician Diploma
Okay, so you’ve decided on a career as a pharmacy technician and are wondering what you can do once you receive your diploma or certificate. The good news? There are lots of options. The below points outline a few of these options in detail, and will hopefully provide you with a comprehensive understanding of why a career as a pharmacy technician can lead to many opportunities within the health care sector.
Training required to become a pharmacy technician
First, let’s understand what training is required to become a pharmacy technician…
In Canada, it usually takes between one and two years to become a pharmacy technician, and you must receive training from a program that has received by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Program. Pharmacy technician programs usually consist of the following components:
In-class training –the vast majority of your pharmacy technician diploma program will consist of in-class learning on a range of subject matter including dispensing practices, pharmaceutical software training, physiology, and pathophysiology of the human body.
Practicum or work placement in a pharmacy– the program you attend will most likely include a 4-8 week work placement or practicum. During this time, you will have the opportunity to work within a real pharmacy setting and gain a comprehensive understanding of a prospective work environment.
Successful pass of the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC) Qualifying Examination– passing this exam demonstrates to prospective employers that you have the necessary skills required to perform the duties of a pharmacy technician.
What does a pharmacy technician do? (an overview)
A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who receives extensive training and is overseen by a licensed pharmacists. As the assistant to the pharmacist, the pharmacy technician is responsible for ensuring a pharmacy is running smoothly and that patients are receiving prompt, informative service. In addition to these patient-centred tasks, a pharmacy technician handles a number of administrative duties such as ordering supplies, sterilizing the dispensing area of the pharmacy, and creating labels for medications.
Here are some similar professions…
There are many professions similar to a pharmacy technician. A few examples are as follows:
- Pharmacist – It goes without saying that a career as a pharmacist is relatively similar to that of a pharmacy technician with a few notable difference being the highly complex understanding that pharmacists possess of human anatomy and its relationship to a wide range of drug classifications. Training to become a pharmacist in Canada takes approximately 5 years, while the duration of a pharmacy technician program is only one or two years.
- Pharmacy Assistant – like a pharmacy technician, pharmacy assistants handle many of the administrative tasks required to operate a pharmacy such as preparing, labeling, and packaging prescriptions, maintaining drug storage, and communicating with third-party insurance companies. Pharmacy assistants are overseen by a pharmacy technician or a pharmacist, and usually take on tasks as they are assigned by their supervisor. A pharmacy assistant program is typically about half the length of time as a program for pharmacy technicians.
- Medical Laboratory Assistant – medical laboratory assistants complete a diploma program and work practicum that is approximately the same duration as the program for pharmacy technicians, and conduct tasks within a laboratory environment that support in the collection and analysis of blood, tissue, and other patient samples. Like pharmacy technicians, laboratory assistants must be precise, organized, and well-versed in medical terminology and procedures.
- Medical Office Assistant – similar to a pharmacy technician, medical office assistant work in a patient-centric healthcare environment and are responsible for many of the administrative tasks needed to ensure the smooth operation of their workplace. Medical office assistants typically work in a doctor’s office where they schedule patient appointments, maintain patient files, and communicate with various vendors to ensure the office is equipped with all the necessary supplies.
Career paths and options after completing a pharmacy technician program…
After you complete a pharmacy technician diploma, there are a number of environments you will have the opportunity to work within, including hospitals, personal care homes, box-retail stores, community pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and even prisons.
In addition to the environments you will have the opportunities to work within as a pharmacy technician, there are also a number of career advancement opportunities. A few examples of career paths you may consider pursuing are as follows:
- Pharmacist – while it may seem daunting to return to school after completing your training to become a pharmacy technician, a career as a pharmacist will allow you to fully understand the complex human anatomy and take on more challenging patient interactions. Pharm tech is a great jumping-off point for a career as a pharmacist as it will provide you with the fundamental skills needed to operate a pharmacy and tend to patient questions and concerns.
- Pharmaceutical Representative – unlike the transition from a pharmacy technician to a pharmacist, there is no additional schooling needed for a pharmacy technician to become a pharmaceutical representative. A pharmaceutical representative provides education on behalf of drug manufacturers to health care providers such as physicians and pharmacists. They are usually paid on a commision basis in conjunction with a base salary meaning their earnings can be quite substantial.
- Technology Specialist – many of the electronic databases used within the pharmaceutical sector are complex and require comprehensive training. For this reason, a career as a technology specialist — a professional that supports with the training, updating, and maintenance of this pharmaceutical software — is a natural fit for someone who already has a grasp on the workflow of a pharmacy and its electronic systems. Again, there is no additional schooling required for pharmacy technicians to switch over into the profession of technology specialists
- Management opportunities – as pharmacy technicians gain seniority within their profession, management opportunities will become available. These opportunities come with pay increases as well additional responsibilities such as overseeing the work of other pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants.
As demonstrated above, there are many interesting career opportunities for those who have completed a pharmacy technician program. If you have yet to complete your certification, consider learning with Robertson. Robertson’s Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program provides students with comprehensive, hands-on training through a 40-week program taught by practicing pharmacy technicians. With courses starting up regularly at Robertson’s Calgary and Winnipeg campuses, it’s easy to begin working toward a rewarding career within Canada’s growing healthcare sector. Submit your online application or talk to Robertson advisor today!