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Being a Pharmacy Technician
Although the pharmacy technician profession has been around for many years, it was not until recently that the role of the pharmacy technician has changed dramatically, from simply helping the admixture orders. pharmacist in the pharmacy setting to actually dispensing functions in the filling of prescription/medication/IV In the past, many pharmacy technicians sibility has increased for pharmacy learned on the job, along with
trained by the pharmacists, but today we are finding that respontechnicians, accountability. With this in mind, the pharmacy technician vocation is facing a change, with national certification becoming the norm in most states, as well as state-based registration and licensing for individual pharmacy technicians.
Opportunities for advancement are many, as the individual pharmacy technician may see employment in not only the retail setting, but the hospital setting as well. Other avenues of specialization for pharmacy technicians include (but are not limited to) mail order, home healthcare, pharmaceutical companies, insurance agencies, educational institutions, compounding pharmacies, intravenous (IV) admixture preparation, and both nuclear and chemotherapeutic pharmacy settings.
eing a pharmacy technician offers an exciting opportunity to help others in the healthcare setting as one
who not only assists the pharmacist, but also plays a vital role in dispensing prescription/medication orders.
This tells the consumer that the pharmacy technician has passed a valid national exam and has displayed competency in his or her duties in the pharmacy.org Only a handful of states mandate receiving a specific state certificate of completion in an accredited pharmacy technician program. and the duties the pharmacist allows them to do. which offers the Exam for the Certification of pharmacy technicians (ExCPT). which the test makers evaluate to see if they should be used in future exams. For specific information on each exam. Most functions involve filling prescriptions (retail setting) or filling medication orders and making IV admixtures (both hospital settings).. the need for national standardization has become a concern to ensure pharmacy technicians have the educational background to perform these functions.nationaltechexam. The hospital setting also offers the pharmacy technician the opportunity to make IV admixtures and chemotherapeutic IV drugs. For specifics of what your state requires. and the Institute for the Certification of pharmacy technicians (lCPT). and fill the prescription order. Although most states do not require formal education. enter information into the computer. This would include taking new prescription orders. filled with individual prepackaged units of medication(s) called unit doses. organizations technicians to be nationally certithere are two regulatory national technician Certification Board that offer national certification. it appears the national exams are the standard as far as accountability for the pharmacy technician. For now. In the retail pharmacy. Any task requiring a judgment or decision is performed by the pharmacist.. the filling of medication orders is done in individual patient units we call a cassette tray. and counseling patients. The time limit is 120 minutes. Again. The PTCB exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and is offered in the computer format to be taken on demand or when scheduled. Both exams have ten experimental questions which do not count against the overall score. all roles requiring a judgmental decision are performed by the pharmacist.org ICPT: www. Currently.. The ExCPT exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. Check the requirements of your state and your employer to determine which regulatory organization you would choose for your national certification. states are beginning to recognize importance of national certification. most states are now requiring their pharmacy fied. 95% of these orders are filled by pharmacy technicians. The time limit is 110 minutes. Passing either national exam does certify the pharmacy technician. the pharmacy technician may receive a written prescription from a patient. A pass/fail notice is given upon completion of each exam. such as the final check of a medication/IV admixture order or clinical discussions with hospital staff. This is done by the pharmacy technician as well. Today.ptcb. including Ohio and Florida. and allows him or her to wear the letters CPhT (Certified pharmacy technician). making a final check of a filled prescription order. All of these disciplines will be discussed in later chapters. .------------ BEING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN The role of the pharmacy technician has changed from working the cash register to actually filling prescriptions and medication orders. they offers the pharmacy technician are the pharmacy (PTCB). Functions of pharmacy technicians vary according to which pharmacy setting they work in. which Certification Exam (PTCE). go to the following links: PTCB: www. With this in mind. although medication to orders are generally entered by the pharmacist ensure accuracy and identify potential problems (such as drug interactions and the like). the Education and Certification As mentioned earlier. In the hospital setting..
net/boards-of-pharmacy Certification requires pharmacy technicians to complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to maintain their national certification. Pharmacy technician wages differ from state to state and employer to employer. it is dependent on supply versus demand and the type of pharmacy where the pharmacy technician works.nabp. The American Association of pharmacy technicians (AAPT) (www.powerpak.pharmacytechnician. journals. which offers affordable pharmacy technician-specific CEo Another company is PowerPak. . and those which offers CE for free. as changes do occur rapidly in this field. Time to Begin The pharmacy technician field is an exciting career avenue for one interested in helping those in need. You have a choice in what serves your better interest. The organization offers CE. and finding job opportunities.r------------- BEING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN you need to check with your state board of pharmacy. the more specialized pharmacy setting the pharmacy technician works in. the pharmacy technician field is growing at a rapid rate. and not just getting required recertification hours.31 per hour (or your own! Be wary. National Association of Boards of pharmacy or NABP: vvww. the higher the wages earned.com) was established in 1979 and is currently the organization of choice for many pharmacy technicians. mean wages range from $9. pharmacy magazines. it is important that you try to join a professional association. whether it's a pharmacists' association that has a specific pharmacy technician unit.36 per hour (or approximately $19. or a national organization that is specifically for and about pharmacy technicians. colleges. Tech Lectures: www. Pharmacy Technician Associations Once you are a pharmacy technician. as well as one yearly national convention and seminars throughout the year in different states. or associations. Continuing education shows that the pharmacy technician is keeping up with what is new in the pharmacy industry. though. Wages may also be higher or lower than the national means.com PowerPak: www. One such organization that has been around for more than 14 years is Tech Lectures. Just realize that CE should be about learning to enhance both personal professional growth. pharmacy employers. In many cases. These associations help in networking with fellow pharmacy technicians. as there are organizations that seem more interested in your membership dues than in really serving your individual needs.com approximately $40. depending on factors like the ones mentioned above. according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics (USBLS).tlectures.480 per year) up to $19. including Internet sites which offer pharmacy technician-specific CE. Generally.160 per year). due to its longevity and how it caters to its membership base. developing friendships with others in your vocation. According to the USBLS May 2009 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. The American Association of Pharmacy Technicians is run by volunteers and has state chapters which you may join-or decide to start Economic Outlook Today. to name some. with a projected growth rate of 25% until the year 20l3-with a 31% increase. when selecting an organization (or several) to belong to.900 pharmacy technicians. CE is offered by a number of sources. as there are many out there who will gladly take your money but offer little. The USBLS estimates that there are currently 331.
You work side by side with fellow technicians and other health professionals to not only enhance the quality oflives of customers/patients you serve. This book will allow you that opportunity. you have decided to pursue becoming a pharmacy technician. hospital. this may be a stepping stone to another health profession. For some. but in some cases. as some continue onward to get their doctor of pharmacy degree and become full pharmacists.. you are given the opportunity to continue to learn as you develop your skills and pursue/advance to other pharmacy settings. and you have most likely purchased this review book to learn as much as you can to help you pass one of the national exams. this is will be your vocation for life-and for others... In this vocation..---------- BEING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN whether it's in a retail. That is your first step on your way to being recognized as a nationally certified pharmacy technician! ~----------------------------------------~ . or specialized setting.. but you must put effort into the learning process. to save lives as well. With this in mind.