Explore the Many Faces of Pharmacy Technician Training
Enrolling in pharmacy technician training school may be the most obvious way to get your education, but it's not the only way to gain the skills you'll need. There are a lot of avenues to expand your knowledge—if you know where to look. Here are other means to learn your trade.
How it works: Getting an internship is a great way to round out your training. You'll put all those lessons you learned in school to practical use as you experience how a pharmacy runs on a day-to-day basis. Not only that, but you'll have the opportunity to receive hands-on pharmacy tech training from the experienced professionals working with you. Here's how you can get started:
- Check online with popular national drugstore chains to see if they have internships available
- Call a local pharmacy and ask about opportunities
- If you're currently enrolled in a pharmacy tech training program, go to your school's career center and find out if they can help you set up an internship
On-the-Job Pharmacy Technician Training
How it works: The first few months on the job offer an invaluable learning experience for any new pharmacy tech. Training opportunities abound in the real world that will help you continue to develop your skills and knowledge—even after your schooling is complete.
All this is not to say, however, that you should skip formal pharmacy tech training and go straight to work. While this approach does work for some, many employers don't have the resources to spend on in-depth pharmacy technician training for new employees. Your degree will give you a clear advantage when it comes time to look for a job.
How it works: As a working pharmacy technician, one of the best ways to keep up with new developments in the industry is through membership in a professional organization. Sometimes the best pharmacy technician training might come from your peers. Building your professional network is important for many reasons:
- You'll be sure to hear the about the latest news and technology
- You'll make great connections that may come in handy when you're searching for a job
- You'll gain insight and training just from sharing your experiences and hearing about the experiences of other professionals
Continuing Education Courses
How it works: Professional organizations are often a great source of information about upcoming pharmacy tech training sessions. Not only is this helpful for your career, but if you intend to get your pharmacy technician certification, it's a requirement. In order to maintain your certification status you'll need to complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.
Pharmacy Technician Organizations
As you start your pharmacy tech training, become familiar with professional organizations that offer career and education resources. Here are a few organizations that can help you get started:
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB): The PTCB website features pharmacy technician test questions, certification requirements and information about the industry.
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP): Although the ASHP is a resource for pharmacists, their government advocacy page is interesting reading for the new pharmacy technician. Find out about current laws and ethical issues.
- National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA): NPTA is a national organization dedicated to improving the role of pharmacy technicians. A membership to NPTA gives you access to current pharmacy technician training courses, current news and seminars.
- Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE): Although accreditation is not currently a requirement for pharmacy technician training programs, if you would like to learn more about accrediting standards, visit ACPE’s website for more information.