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Advice on getting a Pharmacy job.

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by CityMermaid, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. CityMermaid

    CityMermaid Junior Member
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    Hello Everyone,

    I'm trying to get a part-time job at a Pharmacy (something like Walgreen would be great); I'm in the Chicago area.

    I was wondering if anyone can give me advice on this.

    I applied to Pharmacy schools for Fall 04, but am still waiting to see if I'm accepted. However, whether I'm accepted or not I want to work at a pharmacy this summer.

    Here are my specific questions:
    --Is there an agency I should contact, or is it best to just walk in and ask them if they are hiring
    --Will my chances of getting a job at a pharmacy be much better if I'm actually accepted somewhere
    --Also, in the past when I was hired by a pharmaceutical company, my start day was delayed by a few weeks b/c they did an extensive background check and drug test, is it same with a pharmacy?

    So MAINLY, I'm wondering if its best for me to wait to find a pharmacy job till I hear from my schools (in case I get in), or should I start looking ASAP to give them enough time to hire me and do all the checking they may do? I would like to start in May.

    THANKS for any feedback!
     
  2. emogrrrrl

    emogrrrrl I like my freedom
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    I'd like to jump in on this thread as well.
    If you aren't certified, but have been accepted to pharmacy school and have pharmacy experience will a chain pharmacy hire you for the summer prior to starting pharmacy school? And will they pay you minimum wage or pay you as much as if you were certified?
    Thanks for anyone's input in advance
     
  3. 28657

    28657 Smile like you mean it
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    Ok, well let me first say that I've never worked in a pharmacy...buuuut I've applied to hundreds! Where I'm from there's a saturation of the market for pharmacy techs, therefore, if you don't know someone at the pharmacy you will not get a job. I was PTCB certified and still no one seemed interested in hiring me. The closest I got to being hired was at a Harmon's grocery store, but the pharmacist told me to come back when I was a student so he could hire me as an intern.
    There isn't an agency that can help you get a job. I think you're best bet would be to talk to any techs you know or just go from pharmacy to pharmacy requesting an application and chatting with the pharmacist. They'll probably give you the district manager's number. I would also think the pharmacy would like the fact that you'll be attending pharm school in the Fall because they can then hire you as an intern. However, if you tell them you're applying to out of state pharmacy schools they might be leary to hire you now.
    If you get hired they'll probably do a drug check, but besides that you should be able to start right away.
    As for pay, if you aren't certified you won't get the certified tech pay rate. You'll get just a normal tech rate which still is much higher than minimum wage.
     
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  4. Shanana

    Shanana Member
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    I would recommend that you select the chain you would like to work for, and then just call around to a few stores and ask the pharmacist if they are hiring. Find out from the pharmacist you talk to who is in charge of making hiring decisions in the pharmacy(ie. head pharmacist or whatever). When you get some leads, find out when the hiring-decision-maker is working and show up in person to talk to them when the store is not likely to be too busy.

    Be careful about indicating that you only want to work for the summer. They might not want to hire someone who would not be there for the long haul. I don't think they care too much if you are accepted to a school but I guess it can't hurt. When I started working for Eckerds (this was a long time ago - in 1998) they did not do a drug test or a very extensive background check but things might have changed since then. I think you should go ahead and start looking about 2-3 weeks before you intend to start working.

    If you are not certified you might have to work as a "tech-in-training" or even just settle for working as a cashier until you are certified. You probably would not get paid much as a non-certified tech - probably about equal to what people in other similar customer service positions in your town are getting paid. I don't know how it is in other states but I know that Texas has rules supposedly in place now that require all techs to be certified, unless they are working in a "tech-in-training" capacity. Check out your state board of pharmacy's web page for more info.

    Shannon
     
  5. emogrrrrl

    emogrrrrl I like my freedom
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    Is it me, or is Texas about the only state that is really strict about their techs being certified? And it's been pretty recent...at least within the past few years where you can't work in the pharmacy as a tech unless you have certification.
     
  6. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    Many states are now requiring tech certification. Some states want tech "licenses" that would allow the state boards to suspend or revoke technicians who are a problem to the profession. I'm pretty sure that Arizona requires certification for all techs. The state board wants to prevent problems arising from drug diverters, and ensure that they can conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. The idea is to prevent techs from taking 100 vicodin from walgreens and then walking over to wal mart for a (tech) job when they get fired. Apparently the large chains are against required certification, most likely because they will have to pay certified techs more.
     
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  7. MNnaloxone

    MNnaloxone DY-NO-MITE!
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    ND requires a 2-year degree in Pharmacy Tech. I believe that CPhT is part of the curriculum.

    MN-all you need is a pulse and $20 (and if you can talk the store manager into a payout for the $20...)

    As someone who has worked as a tech, earned CPhT, and is about to graduate with a PharmD, I'm all for certification being required-at the very least, tech-in-training with CPhT mandatory within 6 months. Too many yahoos out there that don't belong mowing lawns, let alone handing medication. Call me a hardliner-I'm already protecting the license I haven't received yet.
     
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  8. sweetcalie08

    sweetcalie08 Senior Member
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    Did you work as a tech prior to applying for pharmacy school? I'm just wonderin' cuz I was thinking I had an advantage by already having tech experience...but if SDSU turned you down with a BS AND tech experience and such...man that sucks! Can you tell I'm just a tad bit worried about getting my letter next week?! Aack!
     
  9. MNnaloxone

    MNnaloxone DY-NO-MITE!
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    I had about 15 months of tech experience and a CPhT by the time I entered pharmacy school. If I remember right, I had the CPhT by the time I had applied...

    Their loss.
     
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  10. doeboy

    doeboy Junior Member

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    Can someone who works at either walgreens or savons chime in on which pharmacy is an overall better place to work at? I've heard walgreen's computer system is the best but aside from that what are the other advantages? How about Rite-Aid?
     
  11. sweetcalie08

    sweetcalie08 Senior Member
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    Greaaaat. :( No kidding - twas their loss!

    I just can't comprehend you getting waitlisted. When I had my interview, they said residency is a deciding factor, but they still want the "best" students for themselves! Huh. Liars. ;)

    BTW just to bug you more :)... what were your stats and such?
     
  12. MNnaloxone

    MNnaloxone DY-NO-MITE!
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    doeboy: Don't want to be a recruiter for WAGS, but their computer system is tops. They've dropped millions into developing and maintaining their own Windows-based programs, which make it incredibly easy to perform every task needed. You could probably teach it to a chimp-it is that nice (I have some idea, I've worked with QS1, PDX, Viking, Scriptpro's, and a few other dark horses). The drawback is that from what I see, WAGS uses that computer system to justify cutting back on technician hours. Yes, you can do more with fewer people with their computer, but that doesn't help much when there's 20 people in line, the phone is ringing off the hook, and theres a half-inch stack of labels to fill. Sometimes you need the warm bodies. I'll end my rant there for the time being. Anyone know what system Rite-Aid or Sav-On uses? (Neither is here in MN). I can't speak much on other advantages, because I can't compare the chains (except Snyders, which you probably dont have where you are. CVS is supposed to be here this year)

    pharmtech: My PCAT was 98th %tile, and if I remember right the pharmacy GPA was in the neighborhood of 3.5. Too long ago to remember. Add a half-dozen offices in a half-dozen extracurriculars including founding a club, along with my tech exp., and you've got me baffled. There isn't a single school out there that is not going to tell you that they are not after the best students. However, with both SD and ND facing a critical shortage of pharmacists for rural (sticks) areas, the COP faces pressure from the Board of Education (the checkbook) to correct the shortage. What that means to you is that the college may be more likely to take a lesser applicant from the sticks, who is more likely to go back to the sticks to practice, than you or I-kids from the big city that are going to go back to Mpls. after they graduate. I know that the current ND application system does not give much preference to either origin of student (you gain your residency points based on time spent at a ND college-so even a Florida resident is on equal footing, as long as they did their pre-pharm in ND), but I would bet that SD probably has some leeway in their app process.

    Sorry to hijack the thread and for the long post.
     
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  13. jdpharmd?

    jdpharmd? Turning lead into gold
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    For the most part, I think Rite Aid is still using "RADS" (Rite Aid Dispensing System). It's a little tough to learn, but once you're quick on it, you're set. It doesn't have NEARLY the amount of tricks that PDX has. When I worked for Rite Aid they were using some sort of text-based, monochrome, unix system, but they were always talking about the "new" system. I don't think anyone has ever seen the new system.
     
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  14. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist
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    Eckerds also uses a Unix system.

    I'm a software developer and also chose to use Unix when I wrote my applications. For multi-user, multi-tasking, there is no better OS. I use Windows on the client side, but on the server side you are much better off using Unix. It is faster and more stable than Windoze.
     
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