As we continue to look at fast-growing careers in the healthcare industry, Pharmacy Technicians stands out as yet another in-demand profession. Expected to grow by 9% in the U.S. over the next decade, adding over 34,000 new jobs1, Pharmacy Technicians play a critical role in pharmacy operations. Much like Home Health Aide, the demand for Pharmacy Technicians is largely driven by an aging population, which in turn leads to an increase in demand for prescription medications.
While perhaps less well known than other professions in the healthcare industry, Pharmacy Technicians are often who you interact with when at a Pharmacy. Their responsibilities may include collecting information needed to fill a prescription & entering it in the system, measuring out prescriptions, labeling and packaging prescriptions, tracking inventory, and interacting with customers2. While specific rules depend on the state, in most states technicians are also allowed to compound and mix medications, under the supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacy Technicians can work in local pharmacies or drug stores, but also at hospitals or other medical facilities that prepare a range of medications2.
Skills needed Pharmacy Technicians can include attention to detail, communication & interpersonal skills, a strong worth ethic, the ability to work independently, organizational skills, accurate data entry, and the ability to collaborate with other healthcare professionals3. All Pharmacy Technicians are required to have a high school diploma and many also receive either on-the-job-training or complete a postsecondary education program prior to employment4. While requirements vary by state, it is highly recommended that Pharmacy Technicians one of the two industry certifications: The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification or the National Healthcare Association (NHA) certification.
For organizations looking to place graduates as Pharmacy Technicians, such as career colleges or youth organizations, providing your students with a Pharmacy Technician postsecondary credential aligned with one of these certifications can be a great way to give them a leg up when applying for jobs. Not only will they a completed postsecondary credential, but they will also be able to take the certification exam and become a certified Pharmacy Technician - making it easier when applying for jobs. While there are a number of providers out there, Penn Foster's online, self-paced Pharmacy Tech Career Diploma is not only aligned with the PTCB's certification exam, but has test prep integrated into the curriculum, and offers vouchers for students to take the certification exam free of charge.
As the U.S. population continued to age, you can expect the Pharmacy Technicians to remain a fast-growing occupation, and a great career choice to place your graduates.
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Forward Thinking Careers offers a closer look at some of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. For other profiles of in-demand careers, click here.
Resources: Photo Credit. (1) BLS: Pharmacy Technician Occupational Outlook (2) BLS: What Pharmacy Technicians Do (3) Pharmacy Tech Pros (4) BLS: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician