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Pharmacy tech school is a great path to take to get into the medical field quickly. Some programs take under one year to complete a certification, while others offer a traditional associate’s degree program of about 18-24 months. You can find work in the field with just a certification, however, which is the route most people take to save both time and money.
If you’ve ever wanted to become a pharmacy technician, you’ll probably want to know more about what you’ll learn in pharmacy tech school. It is a good career choice as pharmacy techs make around $35k/year. Pharmacy technician programs are detail-oriented and challenging, and you’ll learn about the human body, the day-to-day responsibilities of a pharmacy tech, and much more.
Let’s take a closer look at three key things you’ll learn in pharmacy tech school. Once you have a better understanding of what your coursework will be, you may feel more inspired to sign up for a program immediately! There are thousands to choose from both on and offline, so you shouldn’t lack options.
1. Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry
To better understand how prescription drugs interact with the body, you’ll likely learn some measure of anatomy, physiology, and chemistry. Anatomy refers to the body’s structures and their composition, and physiology is how they work. Chemistry is simply the study of chemical elements within the body and how they affect the body’s systems.
Most pharmacy tech coursework will require some anatomy and physiology. Since you’re working in the medical field, having a better understanding of how the human body functions are necessary. After all, you wouldn’t want to be handing out medications without knowing what they do or how they affect people, right?
Rudimentary anatomy and physiology are requirements for just about any healthcare position anyway. If you love science and learning about how things work, you’ll love these classes.
2. Day-To-Day Operations
You’ll likely take some courses on healthcare management and administration, as well as learn the day-to-day operations of a pharmacy. Helping to manage a pharmacy isn’t the same as a retail store or restaurant. Certain procedures must be followed, and when it comes to things like controlled substances, failure to follow procedure could lead to a compromised job or even legal ramifications. The DEA provides guidelines on storing and handling controlled substances properly for every pharmacy to follow.
A pharmacy technician will be responsible for many things in the pharmacy, including measuring medications, packaging, filing insurance paperwork, organizing and updating inventory, taking phone calls, following up with patients and insurance companies, and more. You’ll learn how to be efficient and accurate in your work, which is crucial to success as a pharmacy tech.
Healthcare management will also teach you about HIPAA and other compliance issues. Compliance with federal guidelines is a huge part of being a healthcare professional, no matter what setting you end up working in. Physicians, surgeons, pharmacists, and medical administrators alike must follow HIPAA guidelines. Violation of these guidelines can bring about serious ramifications.
3. The Importance Of Organization and Attention To Detail
Being organized and detail-oriented is pretty much a requirement for pharmacy technicians. When you’re dealing with sensitive patient information or life-saving medication, one mistake can be quite costly or even life-threatening. Pharmacy tech school will teach you what things to watch out for, how to double-check your work, and how to better communicate with your team to ensure maximum cohesiveness.
Don’t underestimate the need to be organized. A sloppy work area in a pharmacy can cause confusion among your co-workers, lost documents, and more. Not to mention, a patient won’t exactly feel comfortable getting their important medications from a pharmacy that looks like it’s no taken care of.
You’ll likely be responsible for managing inventory as well. Every medication has an expiration date, so you’ll want to pay attention to this information (usually printed on the bottle/label). Expired medication can be dangerous!
Is Pharmacy Tech School Right For You?
Make no mistake; pharmacy technician training isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain level of compassion and patience to handle medications and patients on a daily basis. While there are plenty of job options available so you don’t have to stay stuck in retail, some people simply aren’t a good fit for the job.
If you’re compassionate, patient, detail-oriented, and organized, pharmacy tech school is a good choice for you. The job market is growing each year, and thousands of jobs are being added. The demand is slowly increasing for well-trained medical professionals, so you’ve chosen a good time to get involved!
Pharmacy tech school also offers an affordable route into the medical field. Whereas many medical degrees cost thousands of dollars and thousands of hours of training, you’ll likely only end up with less than $10,000 in student debt with a pharmacy tech program. This depends on the state you’re in and the school you choose, of course, but overall, pharmacy tech school is more affordable than other healthcare training options.