Pharmacy Technician Externship
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Pharmacy Technician CTE Externship Orlantha F. Nin, M.Ed. Saddleback College Note: Photographs were not taken inside the Kaiser facility, photos inserted from Google Images.
Externship Location, Mission Viejo Kaiser Pharmacy
Clare Adams Doctor of Pharmacy
Source Occupational Outlook Handbook 2009 “Job opportunities are expected to be good, especially for those with certification or previous work experience.” Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics, OOH (2008)
Where are the jobs? 326,300 pharmacy technicians jobs in 2008 A majority of the positions were in a retail setting (75%), and about 16 % of positions were in hospitals. Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 31 percent from 20082018. Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics, OOH (2008)
Training Employers prefer pharmacy technicians with National or State Certifications
Locations: community colleges, vocational schools, hospitals, and the military. Depending upon the program, students may receive a diploma, certificate, or an associate’s degree. Time: From 6 months to 2 years and include classroom and laboratory work. Internships: Many training programs with internships. Subject Areas: medical & pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy recordkeeping, pharmaceutical techniques, & pharmacy law / ethics. Additionally: Technicians are required to learn the “names, actions, uses, and doses of the medications they work with”. Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics, OOH (2008)
National Certification The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT) administer national certification examinations. Continuing education required to keep certification. State certification varies state to state. Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics, OOH (2008)
Personal Qualities After observing three pharmacy techs at Kaiser, I found that those considering this profession should be:
Self-Directed Direct and clear communicators Patient Team Players Able to multi-task Flexible Precise and detail oriented
Technical Skills Needed They should also possess or be able to learn the following: Math & measurement skills Computer proficiency Type approximately 45-60 wpm Accuracy with numbers and letters Reading & spelling
Work Environment The staff of this pharmacy included pharmacy assistants, pharmacy technicians (referred to as “techs”) and pharmacists. The staff worked closely in a team environment in constant communication with one another. The staff were on their feet and were busy for their entire shifts with very little downtime. The environment was fairly fastpaced with patients in line, telephone calls and pages between the pharmacy and the physicians.
Schedules In this facility, the pharmacy is open from 9 AM to 9 PM. Pharmacy techs may leave much later than the closing time if they have customers/patients waiting. Pharmacy Techs were scheduled in varied shifts and may include weekend and evening hours. Other facilities may offer more of a daytime schedule or operate in a 24 hour capacity.
Hourly Compensation 2008 Median hourly wage-- $13.32 2008 Middle 50 percent ---Between $10.95 and $15.88. 2008 Lowest 10 percent less than $9.27 2008 Highest 10 percent more than $18.98. Some Pharmacy Technicians belong to unions. Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics, OOH
California among the Top 3 in Salary for Pharmacy Techs
Mean Hourly Wage
Source: Bureau of Labor & Statistics, OES (2008)
Career Paths Many of the pharmacy technicians at this facility started their careers in a retail pharmacy (such as CVS or Rite Aid) as a pharmacy assistant. Some were sent to training to become a pharmacy technician. The training was provided by their employer. Others sought training on their own prior to seeking employment.
Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
Typical Duties Communicating over the phone with patients, doctors, insurance & pharmaceutical companies. Reading codes and entering information onto the computer Filling prescriptions Mixing or “compounding” medications and creams. Quality control and inventory activities Note: Prescriptions cannot be given to a patient or customer without a Pharmacists final review and approval.
Tools & Equipment Pharmacy Technicians use the following tools & equipment:
Computer Phone Calculator Scales Compounding Equipment Some pharmacies are more automated than others