Your career in the medical field means you can usually count on a steady job, thanks to the number of medical jobs available now or becoming available in the near future. It also means that, thanks to advances in technology, you have to be committed to your education if you want to advance your career.
Pharmacy technician tech jobs are expected to grow 20 percent by 2022. This is attributed to the fact that Baby Boomers will need more medication as they age, as well as a prevalence of chronic diseases that require medicine, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports.
This growing occupation needs more than experience to succeed, though. Pharm tech certification is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Michelle Donahue, a 2013 graduate of Rasmussen College Online sees certification—and her degree—as an investment in her future. “Being certified proves you’re knowledgeable and are an asset to any company,” she says.
If you’ve spent many years as a pharmacy technician already and you’re starting to look forward to life after your career, now’s the time to really bear down and make sure you have enough money to retire comfortably. Maybe you’re even wondering if now’s the right time to earn a pharmacy tech certification. It is.
Here are three reasons why.
3 reasons you need a pharmacy technician certification
If you’ve had your pharm tech job for a few years, you may think you know everything you need to do the job successfully. While there’s no doubt about that, you need to look to the future, too, and think about how a promotion can help your retirement plans or what would happen if you suddenly need a new job. A certification can help. Here’s how:
1. Keep up to date with new medical technology and terminology
The medical field is constantly changing, often thanks to technology. If you want to keep up with industry trends you’ll need to stay on the cutting edge of the field. Education can help you do this.
Earning a pharm tech certification involves taking a rigorous exam—so whether you choose to earn your degree or simply take the exam after you’ve gained enough experience, you’re guaranteed to learn new concepts. This means you won’t be left behind and overlooked in favor of a new grad.
2. Land that promotion
Knowing when to ask for a promotion isn’t always easy, but you have a natural starting point with your boss after you gain new skills or credentials.
Let your boss know what you learned by earning your certification and what you’ll be bringing to the organization in terms of new skills. Have you learned new scheduling tricks or patient care ideas? Be sure to talk yourself up.
3. Pharm tech jobs are growing
Perhaps you love your current job and don’t think there’s a chance you’d ever leave it. While that could be the case, circumstances do change. What if your place of employment suddenly has a round of layoffs or you need to move to a place that would make your commute too long?
Pharm tech is a growing occupation. It’s projected that 105,900 more pharm tech jobs will be available in the U.S. by 2022. So if any number of circumstances leads you away from your current job, you can feel confident that the numbers are growing, not stagnant.
It’s important to know that pharm tech jobs are growing and there’s a chance you could snag one easily, but remember that you’ll be competing with many others over only a few slots in your area. An analysis of 39,472 pharm tech job postings* from the last year reveal the top 10 states with the most vacant jobs:
- Texas (3,636 jobs)
- California (3,456 jobs)
- Florida (2,673 jobs)
- Michigan (2,036 jobs)
- Illinois (1,558 jobs)
- Arizona (1,436 jobs)
- Ohio (1,422 jobs)
- Massachusetts (1,389 jobs)
- Pennsylvania (1,368 jobs)
- New York (1,242 jobs)
Coupled with your experience, a pharm tech certification would really make your resume stand out above the others.
How to earn a pharm tech certification
Certification can generally be completed after through on-the-job-training or by earning a degree, according to the BLS.
On-the-job-training means you’ll be earning a living while learning what you need to be a successful pharm tech. It may sound like a dream, but be aware that different organizations have different policies and procedures, so if you want to move to a new job in the future it could be more difficult.
If you choose to earn a degree, your training will prepare you to work in a variety of environments. You can often choose what type of credential you wish to earn, from certificate to diploma to associate degree, depending upon the school you choose.
Each state has its own pharm tech regulations, but two organizations offer certification, says the BLS—the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Each organization has different requirements for becoming certified so make sure you’re familiar with both.
The bottom line
No matter which route you choose, earning your pharm tech certification won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be worth it. It can help you stay up to date on the most cutting-edge trends and technologies in the field. A pharm tech certification is also extremely valuable if you decide to switch jobs or if you simply need a bit more confidence to ask your boss about that big promotion you deserve.
To learn more about your pharm tech degree options, check out Rasmussen College’s School of Health Sciences.
*Source: BurningGlass.com (analysis of pharm tech job openings, Feb. 1, 2013-Feb. 3, 2014)