pharmacy work experience? / pharmacy technicians?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by mj739, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. mj739

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    hi i'm applying for pharmacy schools this fall.. i changed my major last semester so i still have one more year to complete all the prereq courses (im gonna be a junior this fall).

    i've got two questions:
    1) what exactly is a pharmacy technician? what do you do? and what are the requirements to be hired as a pharm tech?
    2) i haven't done any pharmacy-related job so far. i did work in a pharmacy department at a hostpital a few years ago as a volunteer though.. i sorted out pills i think.... anyways, so how do i get a pharmacy job? do i just walk into a store like cvs or riteaid and ask them if there's any job opening there?

    i said two questions but that def isn't two questions i guess lol i desperately need help.... thanks!
     
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  3. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member

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    First, a little confused by your timeline are you applying for Fall '09 enrollment? If not, you don't have to worry about applying until next summer.

    1. A Pharmacy Technician is basically a vocational profession in the pharmacy that once licensed can do everything that doesn't involve drug expertise (ie. Billing, Filling Prescriptions, Preparing IV's, Manual labor, Customer Service). You need a Board of Pharmacy (in your own state) Pharmacy Technician's license. This is usually done by going through a vocational course. A popular method is to take the PTCB exam which tests on various aspects of pharmacy that requires a bit of studying. The length of study depends on your familiarity with pharmacy, basic math, and pharmacy law. This is a national certification that may qualify you for a Board of Pharmacy license without official schooling/training.

    2. Your volunteer work is basically the limits a non-tech can legally do (depending on your state). GENERALLY, this means you are allowed to put medication into stock but not prepare for patients. Going to a retail pharmacy will get you a cashiering/billing position.
     
  4. mj739

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    thanks for you help :)

    um.. i am applying for fall '09... and also, do you know how to get a job as a pharmacy technician? i live in new york. i go to school in the city but live in long island.. does anyone know how to get a job as a pharm tech around here? im so confused lol
     
  5. fenixtnlfan

    fenixtnlfan P2 Wildcat
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    What people have suggested on here is calling the pharmacies and asking for the pharmacy manager. I just made a list of all nearby pharmacies and started calling.
     
  6. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE!
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    A pharmacy technician can perform all "non-professional" duties in a pharmacy. In retail this is usually called the "count, lick, and stick" jobs. Techs also do data entry. You could probably find a job by calling up local pharmacies, but people have been reporting thats it been difficult to find available jobs.
     
  7. Jaded03

    Jaded03 Junior Member

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    1. I was only confused by your application date because you said you were in your junior year coming Fall '08, which would mean you would be forfeiting your bachelor's degree if you were entering pharmacy school Fall '09. I'm in CA, so none of those options apply.

    2. Pull up a retail pharmacy website and just go nuts on those applications. I applied to ONE pharmacy and didn't think about it. Two weeks later I got a call. You never know. All pharmacies have problems with hiring, but I've come to know that not all staff are stable. People enter and exit all the time. You could get a lucky break. I wouldn't worry about being a technician and just be a good clerk. Retail is your best bet without a license. Hospital pharmacies really need you to have a license for you to be useful.
     
  8. Pharmie218

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    yay my first post! :laugh:

    well, i just wanted to give some advice for those who spent all summer looking for work in a pharmacy (including myself), either as a clerk or technician. i think now is definitely the time that you guys should start calling the pharmacies again. there are positions open now because students are going back to school and flu season is approaching and so pharmacies will need more help processing drugs and such. you can call the pharmacy manager or the store manager. in my case, the store manager was the one that interviewed me, so it might be the same in your case...who knows...

    also, if you're thinking about getting your pharm tech license without any pharm experience, then your chances of landing a tech job are very slim. most pharmacies want pharm techs with experience or went through training and if you have no experience then might as well start off as a pharm clerk and get the experience and then get your pharm tech license afterwards.

    it's my second day working at the pharmacy and im learning so much already. there are a lot of intricacies involved in working at a pharmacy and you wont know until you get the experience. you can read all the books you want and study up on all the meds but it still won't be the same.

    okay i must stop here...i think i wrote too much. hope this helps though!
     
  9. Ross434

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    hospital pharm techs dont necessarily need a license either.. i work at a hospital making IVs and refilling med machines and i dont have one. usually i found it works better to call up places directly as opposed to the online app. That said , i didnt find any trouble getting a pharmacy tech job.
     
  10. drjmariesegars

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    I had a similar question-I have the opportunity to work in retail or a compounding pharmacy. Now my question is which do you think looks better on an application to pharmacy school?
    Or does it not make a difference? :confused:
     
  11. justjack

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    not sure which would be best, retail would probably be more practical. but if either one you choose, can i have the other? haha, j/k.
     
  12. kismet

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    Take the compounding job! You'll have a million opportunities for retail experience either before or during pharmacy school, but those specialty areas are harder to come by and I don't think you get much training on compounding anymore in pharm school. It'll definitely give you something unique to talk about in your interviews.
     
  13. kismet

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    It depends what state you're in. Some states don't require a license, others do, and others require certification on top of that. It's not a difference between hospital and retail, it's a difference between state laws.

    What Jaded03 was saying was, if you're in a state which requires licensure and you don't have a license, you can still get behind a counter by working as a clerk or cashier.
     
  14. My advice is to apply to ANY pharmacy that you can think of: retail, hospital, small, etc. I applied to several in the past and there were never any openings...last month one of the pharmacies called and interviewed me--I was offered the position.

    I have been looking for a tech position for the last 6 months. I was turned away by many, but kept a positive attitude and maintained my persistence. You may not land a tech job tomorrow (I hope you do though), but you will eventually.

    P.S. Pharmacy tech jobs pay peanuts...don't expect survive (or live) on the wage they pay you. It's only good for the experience and that is worth its weight in gold.
     
    #13 rphfan2009, Jul 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2009
  15. justjack

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    Really? IMHO the average pay rate is quite adequate, well here in SoCal anyways. But realistically, when there's a year waiting list to volunteer just to get into the pharmacy around here, any pay is welcomed.

    Here's to hoping that there's a huge shortage of techs by this summers end.
     
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  17. I've been a tech for about a month and I think that its EXTREMELY OVERATED. Work in a pharmacy for maybe 5-10 hrs a week--spend the rest of the time working at a REAL job--thats my 2 cents though.
     
  18. Passion4Sci

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    I agree.

    I get much more out of my volunteering than working in the retail scene, even though it's a small indy and relatively awesome to work in... it's still retail.
     
  19. I make MINIMUM WAGE :(
     
  20. +1

    Retail sucks! I feel like a clerk at McDonalds.
     
  21. Passion4Sci

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    Yea, me too.

    Even the techs. in the hospital, though, seem like McDonald's employees, too... Sitting at windows getting bitched at by cretins.

    In short, I think no matter where a tech. works, it sucks dick.They are definitely very underpaid.
     
  22. themulya

    themulya more specific than amulya

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    Don't say it till you've tried it. If held at gunpoint and given a choice to either get my ass kicked or go back and work the lunch shift at McDonalds, I would rather be beaten. I will never go back to McDonalds. NEVER!
     
  23. delano2000

    delano2000 D-Mod likes to parTAY
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    Well I'll be damned.
     
  24. justjack

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    to think of it, i retract what i said before. techs are WAYYY underpaid! and retail does royaly suck
     
  25. fusionstyle

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    You guys make it seem depressing to work as a tech. I don't have any tech experience myself, even though I have a license. But, is volunteering more fun than being hired as a tech?
     
  26. Passion4Sci

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    I think volunteering is more fun only because, in my position, I have many opportunities that I simply do not have in my independent pharmacy as a technician. Tag it, bag it, ask for birth date. Tag it, bag it, ask for birth date. Rinse/repeat for 9 hours - Not much fun. On the other hand, working directly w/ pt's on smoking cessation is a very rewarding experience. Working in the pharmacy with the medications and making sure nothing is expired/soon to be expire is cool, because it's like built-in practice. I pick up a bin, look at the trade name if applicable and try to guess the generic, etc. And hell, working clinical interventions is frakkin' awesome as hell. Sure, it's a small job doing data entry on the face of it, but it certainly feels like a more important cog in the wheel than tagging and bagging someone's Ocella.
     
  27. drjmariesegars

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    You didn't need IV certification to get your job in a hospital? I've been wanting to switch over to the hospital setting but I don't have IV certification which apparently is very essential. :mad:
    So did they pay for your class or did you have to pay for it on your own?
     
  28. MiataMike

    MiataMike PharmD

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    Being a tech is no picnic. My Walgreens does anywhere from 400-600 scripts a day and you don't want to be here on Monday. It's a hectic job and you've got to be quick on your feet or you'll quickly find yourself getting buried. On the bright side, the shifts go by much faster than in a store where you sit doing nothing all day.

    My salary's decent, though. Well above minimum wage, anyway.
     
  29. rxlea

    rxlea Almost a unicorn
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    Working in a hospital is lots of fun! Preparing chemotherapeutics and IV drips in addition to compounding is both enjoyable and rewarding. It did not require a certification to get hired. I suppose it depends on your state laws and the company's own guidelines. I had absolutely NO experience in a hospital when I got hired but almost three years later, I feel like a pro! If you have experience in retail and/or mail order or have PTCB certification, you will probably have a better chance.

    In response to "being a tech is no picnic"- agreed. The winter season is the worst in terms of volume. Most of the winter our census is maxed with patients ending up in "holding" areas. However, it does make for an exciting whirlwind of a day...the kind where you look up at the clock for the first time and realize it is already time for lunch. :p
     
  30. TimeIsNow

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    So would you all say that it is worth it for me to go ahead and study for my certification? I got bumped back and am now going into term 3 at my university as a chemistry major, because I first did music and finished a minor in classical piano. Now I have this pharmacy technician book that cost me 60$ ad I'm wondering now if its still worth it.

    Those certification exams do they give them all year round?
     
  31. pharm B

    pharm B Phar Noir
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    I believe you can now schedule the exam "on demand." They used to make you sign up for a window and then pick one date from what was available in that time frame.

    I guess I don't understand your question about it being worth it to to study the book. Can it hurt? If you're pre-pharmacy, it doesn't look bad being certified as a tech.
     

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