7 Benefits of Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
When it comes to making a career change, you’ll always want to weigh the potential benefits against the risks. You want to be sure that if you’re going to make sacrifices, you’re working toward something worthwhile.
If you’re looking for career benefits, you’ve picked a great field to explore! Whether you’ve been interested in becoming a pharmacy technician for some time or you’re just starting to look into the position, you’ll soon discover there are a handful of benefits that begin even before you launch your career.
Keep reading to learn about some of the exciting advantages of becoming a pharmacy tech.
First, what does a pharmacy technician do?
To understand the benefits of becoming a pharmacy technician, you might need a quick overview of what pharm techs do.
Pharmacy technicians collect information from customers or health professionals to fill prescriptions, measure medications, package and label prescriptions, and organize inventory, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 Administrative and customer service tasks are often part of the job description as well, though these duties can definitely vary depending on where pharm techs work.
Since these professionals deal with prescription medicine, their professionalism, integrity and attention to detail are extremely important. For a bit more on the pharmacy technician job description, read our article here.
7 Reasons becoming a pharmacy technician is worth it
Careers in healthcare are notorious for having a lot of upside, and becoming a pharm tech is no different. We identified seven of the main benefits so you can be confident this is the career for you!
1. Healthcare is adding pharm tech jobs
Most careers in healthcare are expanding in opportunity. The BLS reports that the aging baby-boomer population combined with advancements in pharmaceutical research will bring more patients—and more potential treatments and cures to the industry.1
Knowing this, it’s not surprising that pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow by 12 percent through 2026, according to the BLS—a faster rate than the average occupation.1
2. You can become certified in less than a year2
You read that right! Unlike many other healthcare careers, you won’t need to spend several years in school to pursue this profession.
“Many students choose this program because the pharmacy technician profession is a growing field that allows students to graduate and get certified in less than a year, says Dr. Jeremy Barthels, department chair of Health Sciences at Rasmussen College.
Many pharmacy technician certificate programs can be completed in as little as nine months, preparing you to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).2 This training is typically jam-packed with all of the practical knowledge and hands-on experience you’ll need to feel confident in your first pharmacy job.
3. Your work helps people
So many jobs can feel meaningless—you work, you go home, you come back the next day. But a career as a pharmacy technician comes with the fulfillment of assisting others.
“Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in maintaining patient safety,” Barthels says. “With a strong knowledge of pharmacology, it’s a very stimulating, challenging and rewarding profession.”
Whether you’re measuring medications, manning the cash register or just engaging in a friendly conversation with a customer, your job revolves around helping people. So if you’re looking for a fulfilling career you can be proud of, look no further!
4. You have lots of options in your work environment
“When they hear ‘pharmacy technician,’ many people only picture professionals working in a retail pharmacy,” says Amanda Vickery, professor in the Rasmussen College Pharmacy Technician program.
“You may be surprised to know that pharmacy technicians also work in many other types of settings,” Vickery says. Hospitals, hospice care facilities, nuclear pharmacies, nursing homes, mail-order pharmacies, compounding pharmacies and even corrections facilities are all possible places of employment for a pharmacy technician. This means you have options for choosing an environment that best suits your interests.
5. You get to work with your hands
If you are the kind of person who feels restless at the thought of a traditional office job, you’ll be glad to know pharmacy technicians have tactile responsibilities beyond typing data into a computer.
Though pharm techs work under the supervision of pharmacists, they help with filling medications, organizing stock, measuring prescriptions and more.
6. You’ll have a variety of roles
With the various workplaces out there for pharm techs, you can count on a slightly different job description if you change settings.
“Pharmacy technicians who enjoy providing customer service may want to work in a retail or community pharmacy,” Vickery says. “Those who don’t prefer working with the public might choose to work in a hospital or mail-order setting.”
Additionally, the BLS predicts that pharm techs will begin filling a larger role in pharmacy operations as pharmacists take on more patient care responsibilities.1 This shift is likely to lead to more job duties for pharm techs as the healthcare industry progresses.
7. You’ll have advancement opportunities
You’ll be happy to hear that becoming a pharm tech doesn’t have to be the final stop on your career path. There’s no doubt the current demand and manageable training period make it a great professional option at the moment. But as your family grows and you gain experience, you may find yourself looking to advance in the future.
The good news is you can always use your experience to build into a different role or healthcare career when the time is right.
Fulfill more than just prescriptions
You’re now well-aware that becoming a pharmacy technician will allow you to fulfill your desire to help others while also providing the stability of a great career.
And one of the best things about this career is that you don’t have to invest four years of time and money into the requisite education. If you’d like to get more details on what a pharmacy technician program is like, or if you have questions about the cost, timing or coursework, check out the Rasmussen College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed April 22, 2019] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
2Time to complete is dependent on accepted transfer credits and courses completed each quarter.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2019.