Retail Pharm Tech Jobs?

Leah27

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    Hi, I am just wondering how people who work in retail pharmtech jobs got the positions. On CVS and Ekerd websites for example, they suggest going to individual pharmacies to see if they're hiring.. This seems pretty futile to me, wouldn't they advertise in the paper if they are hiring? Did anyone do that and have it actually work? On moster.com I notice some CVS pharmacies advertise but they are all in far away cities... there is no way I can relocate for a $7-$10 hour job! That would be unreasonable.... any input is appreciated! Oh, and I've already applied to every advertising hospital in my area...no biters so far :(
     

    emogrrrrl

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      when i began looking for a tech position a year ago i started out by going to the surrounding retail stores and asking if they had any openings for a tech or a clerk. it is a long shot, but sometimes it's better for you to talk to the pharmacy manager in person. since i was not certified, the only way i ended up finding a position was through nepotism. if you're in a state that isn't strict about their techs having certification i would recommend you ask if they are hiring. usually the chains do not advertise in the classifieds for a pharm tech position. also hit up the independent pharmacies, they tend to be more lenient when it comes to not having any pharmacy experience.
      best of luck to you...hope this helps out a bit.
       
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      spacecowgirl

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        I "hit the pavement" too and applied at every community pharmacy nearby. Eckerd was the first to hire me, CVS never quite got on the ball until I had already accepted at Eckerd. I worked there 10 months and plan to work there prn this summer as there are about 5-6 stores near my home and I don't want to work full-time at the hospital.

        My current hospital job I found out about only from a friend. It wasn't advertised anywhere.
         

        Superflyjsc

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          WHen i started working for the pharmacy at CVS i had absolutly no experience with pharmacy so they started me out as a "pharmacy service associate" basically the lowest rung on the ladder. But even for that i had to do alot of training and whatnot. But in couple weeks i can do training to become a pharm tech which i am looking forward too.
          I just basically went to every nearby retail pharmacy such as target, cvs, eckards, and riteaid and asked if they were hiring. Luckily CVS hired me on the spot and i went and did my training.
          I love my job actually.
           

          spacecowgirl

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            Leah27 said:
            spacecowgirl, how easy was it to get hired at Ekerds? Where are you from, did you have certification? How long did you have to "hit the pavement" before being hired? This process is making me nervous.....


            It was very easy - I spent about a week looking for jobs (we had just moved from out of state) before I got hired at Eckerds. I am not certified, but am in pharmacy school so I am a registered intern. I also had 6 years experience as a technician.

            Don't worry too much - there are jobs out there as turnover (esp. in chains) is high. Put in your applications wherever you can and I'm sure something will turn up :)
             
            I am working for Walgreen right now. I went to the store and asked the pharmacist if they had any open positions. he asked me to call the district office . I called the district office and told them that i am a pre-pharmacy student and want to gain some experience...etc.
            they called me like 3 months later for an interview. now i am working for walgreen.
            good luck .
             

            jdpharmd?

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            AND then...
              I would just walk in and ask for a job. The worst thing that they can say is "no". I got my first tech job with absolutely no experience. I walked in and mentioned that I was considering pharmacy school and wanted a job. I ended up working there for years, and I was eventually the senior tech. My pharmacists wrote me letters of rec for my application, and the experience was very valuable when it came time to get a new tech/intern job (I moved for pharmacy school). We currently have a few classes that almost REQUIRE prior tech/volunteer experience. I promise you will learn TONS of useful information from working (as long as you have a good preceptor). :thumbup:
               

              hugstugs99

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                Wow! I wish it was that easy for me here in Hawaii to find a tech job or any job in a pharmacy with little to no experience. I have been trying to find a job in a pharmacy to gain experience and see what it's like but I just keep getting NOs for a variety of reasons from truly not having positions available to not hiring pre-pharmacy students. Looks like I'll just have to volunteer at a hospital pharmacy and get a different kind of job to earn money.
                 

                Leah27

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                  Hugs, That is exactly what I had to do last summer and I hated it! I was only able to put in about 5 hours a week at the pharmacy where I volunteered because I was working two other jobs. I felt really badly that I went through the whole training process then could put in so little time. It was however, a valuable experience when I could be there, being as i couldn't find anywhere willing to hire a short-term novice. If you want to volunteer this summer, I suggest you contact, by phone or email, the hospital volunteer head and/or the pharmasist SOON! Often, hospitals require you to go through a training course, and you need to update your TB test... all in all the process takes close to a month or month and a half. I sincerly hppe I'll be able to find a tech job this year if i don't get into UB! I wonder if it will be as hard in NY as HI? Another hint... apply to hospital pharmacies, often they are more willing to train than retailers if you have other skills they want (people skills ect.). Best of luck to you... and me!!!!
                   
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                  loo

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                    Leah...

                    Are you currently living in western NY? If so where? (Feel free to PM me if you prefer) I'm really suprised that you are having difficulty finding tech jobs there. I know for a fact that CVS and the other chains were pretty hard-up for RPh's and techs because the area was seen as too cold and undesirable to live, etc. However, that was in 2002. Have things really changed that much? Or is it a money issue, i.e. they are offering squat?

                    I would ASSUME that with the sale of Eckerds to the Jean Coutou Group (aka Brooks), more jobs will open up.

                    Keep hitting the pavement and make sure you tell them you are applying to/accepted at pharmacy school! Follow up on your applications---don't wait for them to contact you!

                    Good luck,

                    loo :D
                     

                    maggiemoo

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                      Leah, I got my first pharmacy job in an independent pharmacy. It was sooo hard finding a job in a retail pharmacy because I had no experience (even though I was certified). I will try again this summer since I have little experience now. If anyone has any other tips on applying, keep em' coming. But do you guys think it will be impossible to get a pharmacy job (even as just a ringer upper) if I will only be in town for ~3 months?
                       

                      moobymaster

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                        I don't have any pharm experience yet but was going to try to get a position this summer since I don't have anything else to do. I plan on letting them know I am starting pharm school and letting me have a job will be a plus for the company when I graduate.
                         

                        GatorRX

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                          moobymaster said:
                          I don't have any pharm experience yet but was going to try to get a position this summer since I don't have anything else to do. I plan on letting them know I am starting pharm school and letting me have a job will be a plus for the company when I graduate.


                          Have you already been accepted into a pharmacy school? I am looking to apply at the end of this year, but will not have had any experience in the pharmacy field (such as a tech, etc) and I was wondering if that would be a big "MINUS" on my application (to UF). When are you starting pharmacy school?
                           

                          dgroulx

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                            UF sorts you out based on GPA and PCAT first. If you make the cut, they will look at your personal statement and experience. The experience may give you an advantage over someone else with similar stats. About half of my class did not have pharmacy experience, but they had stellar grades and/or a degree. But there were only about 900 applications last year and over 2,000 this year. Next year may be even worse, so anything you can do to strengthen your application will help.
                             

                            GatorRX

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                              dgroulx said:
                              UF sorts you out based on GPA and PCAT first. If you make the cut, they will look at your personal statement and experience. The experience may give you an advantage over someone else with similar stats. About half of my class did not have pharmacy experience, but they had stellar grades and/or a degree. But there were only about 900 applications last year and over 2,000 this year. Next year may be even worse, so anything you can do to strengthen your application will help.


                              What would be good things to do to gain some experience, if I plan on applying by the end of this year? I have about 5 more science classes left, and will be finishing them up between the summer and fall semesters. I have yet to take the PCAT as well. Maybe volunteer at a hospital and work in the pharmacy there? What else could I do to gain some experience between now and then that won't take up too much time (like a job as a pharm tech) ?
                               

                              dgroulx

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                                A good number of students in my class have research experience, rather than working as a pharm tech. UF does a lot of research and even offer spots to pharmacy students for the summer. I didn't apply for any of those, because I don't live in Gainesville. But, it sounded like a real interesting experience.

                                If you're attending an undergrad school with research facilities, try to get a job in the lab. If not, hospital volunteer work would be good. It's hard to find a tech job. I had no luck at all before I started school.
                                 

                                spacecowgirl

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                                  Any activity that shows initiative is always good - seeking out opportunities that your school offers rather than waiting for them to come to you looks great on an application. Get in the lab, be a TA, join research that's already going on, propose an idea for a new project, get to know faculty members - that is how doors will open for you. Grades and scores are important, but so is showing motivation. :luck:
                                   
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                                  GatorRX

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                                    moobymaster said:
                                    Starting UF this fall. At one of the info sessions they kept insisting that they only consider three things...overall GPA, science GPA, and PCAT scores. People kept asking about experience but the answer was always the three mentioned above.


                                    Which information session are you referred to? Was it in Gainesville, for prospective students, or for students already accepted (which really doesn't make any sense). I am asking this because I've tried to find out information if there is such a session, and can't find anything on their website about it.
                                     

                                    spacecowgirl

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                                      Honestly, I think looking at just GPA and PCAT is a damn shame and has little to do with the quality of pharmacist a person can be. It might predict how well you do in your classes, but being a good pharmacist is so much more than making As or making certain percentages on your PCAT. That saddens me as being the most important criteria for any school :( Professionalism, empathy, learning how to communicate with your specific audience (a nurse vs. an elderly patient vs. a mother with a screaming toddler), poise, motivation, willingness to learn....to me those are all equally as important as numbers. Knowledge is only helpful inasmuch as you can apply it in an effective manner. I have worked with pharmacists that run the spectrum and I don't need to tell you who patients liked best.
                                       

                                      moobymaster

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                                        It was at an Orlando session for prospective students. I only found out about it after contacting the school for information.

                                        spacecowgirl said:
                                        Professionalism, empathy, learning how to communicate with your specific audience (a nurse vs. an elderly patient vs. a mother with a screaming toddler), poise, motivation, willingness to learn....to me those are all equally as important as numbers. Knowledge is only helpful inasmuch as you can apply it in an effective manner. I have worked with pharmacists that run the spectrum and I don't need to tell you who patients liked best.

                                        True, but unfortunately these qualities are much more difficult to identify, and just as difficult to identify correctly. A person can easily fake those qualities during the limited amount of time that a school has to evaluate a potential student. Sure some will slip up, but if a person has his/her mind set a little confidence, charm, and information can go a long way in swaying an admissions committee. Unfortunately, the presence (or lack thereof) of qualities that make a good...well...anything, are often obvious only after time, and by then it's sometimes too late.

                                        On the other hand, I know more than a few people who have the qualities you mentioned who are trying to get into pharm school, but I would be terribly frightened to ever drop off a RX to them because of the quality of their classwork.
                                         

                                        spacecowgirl

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                                          Regardless of the criteria used, there are always going to be people in pharmacy school I wouldn't trust as MY pharmacist. But I still maintain that the other qualities I mentioned are equally important and come across not just in an interview but in the letters of recommendation you get, the activities you are involved in (and your further involvement with them), the opportunities you've taken advantage of, etc.

                                          There are people that can con you in an interview and people that can con you by doing nothing but hitting the books and making the numbers - it goes both ways. :)
                                           

                                          moobymaster

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                                            True, unfortunately it's much easier to quantify knowledge based on grades then it is to determine the personal makeup. Especially with the explosion in applications...you've got to believe that many qualified applicants are left on the sidelines simply because there's no way to consider everything that should be considered
                                             

                                            dgroulx

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                                              UF does look at your personal statement and letters of recommendation. They called me in for an interview after reading my submission. When I asked them during the interview why they chose to interview me when they don't require interviews, I was told that my writing sounded arrogant and they wanted to meet me in person. My math/science GPA was 3.9 and my PCAT was 98%. If it was purely numbers, I would have been accepted without an interview.
                                               

                                              GatorRX

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                                                dgroulx said:
                                                UF does look at your personal statement and letters of recommendation. They called me in for an interview after reading my submission. When I asked them during the interview why they chose to interview me when they don't require interviews, I was told that my writing sounded arrogant and they wanted to meet me in person. My math/science GPA was 3.9 and my PCAT was 98%. If it was purely numbers, I would have been accepted without an interview.


                                                That sure is odd. If I may ask, what was contained in your personal statement that they had to call 'arrogant'? Geez! What did they ask you about in the interview? Do you know any of your other fellow students in your classes right now that had to go through an interview? That GPA and PCAT was exceptional -- and to call you in just because of your essay IMO is ridiculous.
                                                 

                                                moobymaster

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                                                  dgroulx said:
                                                  UF does look at your personal statement and letters of recommendation.

                                                  At the info session they did say that they don't place a lot of emphasis on the letters because they don't get bad letters. I can see the logic behind this because you would really have to be dense to have someone who thinks you can't cut it write one for you so I imagine that bad letters would be a rare thing. They also said that they schedule interviews for people to clarify a personal statement if needed to make sure that they are on the right career track. It sounds like the personal statement isn't considered unless it raises questions.
                                                   

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                                                    spacecowgirl said:
                                                    Honestly, I think looking at just GPA and PCAT is a damn shame and has little to do with the quality of pharmacist a person can be. It might predict how well you do in your classes, but being a good pharmacist is so much more than making As or making certain percentages on your PCAT. That saddens me as being the most important criteria for any school :( Professionalism, empathy, learning how to communicate with your specific audience (a nurse vs. an elderly patient vs. a mother with a screaming toddler), poise, motivation, willingness to learn....to me those are all equally as important as numbers. Knowledge is only helpful inasmuch as you can apply it in an effective manner. I have worked with pharmacists that run the spectrum and I don't need to tell you who patients liked best.

                                                    I completely agree with you. I'm facing that very predicament with the schools to which I applied this past year. Four rejections so far, and it's all for the same reason - GPA. So I made a mistake my first go 'round 6 years ago. I've shown a 180 turnaround since, with my GPA and maturity. I have 6 years experience as a tech, certified and chemo-trained no less, in three major fields of pharmacy. I work full-time, go to school full-time, and yet I've still had time to squeeze in some volunteer work and join a few organizations.

                                                    It appears, from at least two of the schools I have talked to since being rejected, that they set a minimum GPA/PCAT level, and then the list is chopped into two there. Those below are not considered for interviews, regardless of whatever else is on their applications or essays.

                                                    I'm going to keep trying, regardless of how many rejections I receive, because I want to be a pharmacist that damned much. :D I only wish sometimes that it weren't so difficult.
                                                     

                                                    dgroulx

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                                                      moobymaster said:
                                                      They also said that they schedule interviews for people to clarify a personal statement if needed to make sure that they are on the right career track. It sounds like the personal statement isn't considered unless it raises questions.

                                                      Yeah, I had to tell them why I wanted pharmacy and not medical school. I'm very analytical in my writing. My freshman English teacher told me that all my papers sounded like technical manuals. She gave me a C.

                                                      A girl in my class had a pharmacist write her essay. She has very poor writing and communication skills. She was accepted without question.

                                                      A school really needs to conduct interviews to get a better feel for the students. I'm really good at pharmacotherapy in the mock counseling sessions and some other students totally freeze when they are called on. They just recite facts, instead of asking questions of the "patient". Many students in my class are just pure memorizers. That will get you good grades in your prerequisites, but it won't get you through pharmacy school. By only looking at grades and PCAT you won't necessarily get the best student.
                                                       
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