A Few Tips on How to Start a Career As a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician is a solid career choice. Health-care jobs are predicted to steadily grow over the next decade. In fact, labor and industry forecasters all seem to agree that most health-care job numbers will keep increasing over the next decade. The aging baby-boom population reaching their golden years is a major indicator of health-care’s upcoming growth. And, pharmacy is tied into health-care at nearly every level, which means that being a pharmacy technician should prove the be a stable career path over both the short and long term. This article talks about some tips and ideas about how to become a pharmacy tech. First, lets talk about what pharmacy technicians do day-to-day?

What Do Pharmacy Techs do?

Pharmacy Technicians have a wide range of duties since they work in a variety of venues. The majority of techs work in retail stores. Other environments include Hospitals, Long-Term Care facilities, Mail-Order pharmacies and Military bases. Insurance companies also hire experienced pharmacy techs to audit paperwork and adjust claims. Most pharmacy technicians work directly with customers / patients under the direction of a pharmacist. They may perform many of the same duties as a Pharmacist and must have a good working knowledge of the pharmacy operations. Besides counting out tablets and ringing up orders, pharmacy technicians also decode prescriptions, enter data into computers, create labels, make and receive phone calls, rotate stock as well as countless other duties.

Pharmacy Technicians do much of the work in a pharmacy, but they can’t do everything. They may not answer questions about medications or give any advice whatsoever. They can tell a customer where to find “over-the-counter” products and even read the words from the packaging. However, they can never personally advise anyone to use any type of drug product. Overall, a pharmacy technician’s main goal is to assist the pharmacist in helping patients and customers. They are expected to be attentive and accurate, but also friendly and knowledgeable.

Do I have to get certified to become a pharmacy tech?

Most employers and states require National Certification. Someday, the regulations may be the same everywhere, but for now it’s different in every state. The first step is to find out what is required in your state and/or any prospective employers. At the minimum, Pharmacy Technicians are required to register and keep an updated license with the Board of Pharmacy in their respective state. Most U.S. states require national certification from either the PTCB or ICPT (ExCPT). However, even if the state doesn’t require national certification, most companies who employ pharmacy technicians do. In addition, even if neither the state or your employer require certification, it’s recommended that anyone planning on a career as a pharmacy tech should become nationally certified in order to be more qualified when applying for a tech position or promotion.

What is the pharmacy tech test like?

Taking the PTCB Exam:

Most states recognize the PTCB since it’s been around longer and has a solid reputation. The pharmacy technician test given by the PTCB is a 90 question multiple choice test. There are four answers to choose from, with one being the correct answer. You get 120 minutes to complete the exam. The exam is in random format, which means that the subject matter switches around nearly every question. The exam is constructed as:

66% – Assisting the pharmacist / serving22% – Maintaining Medication and Inventory Control Systems12% – Administration and management of pharmacy business practices

To pass the PTCB Exam:

You’ll need to score at least 650 out of 900. Whatever you do, don’t read online message boards (Yahoo groups, etc.) where people who have passed try to tell you what’s on the exam. There are several test batteries that change frequently. In fact, they’ve currently updated all of the exams in mid 2010. The best way to ensure you pass the PTCB exam is to study until you confidently know all of the subjects on the exam.

What do Pharmacy Technicians earn?

The Salary paid to pharmacy technicians really varies by geographical location. So, in an attempt to collect the best available data, an ongoing wage survey has been running on my website for several months and the results are listed individually by city and state. To see those results, go to the wage survey page.

Pharmacy Tech School vs. Online vs. Self Study

The best route to get trained and certified really depends on each person and their own situation. Each type of program offers different types of structure and flexibility. The biggest factors to consider are job placement assistance, program accreditation and your budget.

Community College – pharmacy technology programs

Many Community Colleges offer a 1-2 year pharmacy technician program designed to prepare students to jump right into a pharmacy technician position. These programs usually qualify for financial aid and other assistance / re-training programs. One of the big questions you’ll want to ask when considering this type of program is about placement assistance after program completion.

Trade School / Pharmacy Tech Colleges

The trade schools are all a little different from each other, so you’ll want to research all of them to find one that’s best for you. If they are accredited, you may also qualify for financial aid grants and loans. If you are serious about attending one of the pharmacy technician schools, make an appointment and take a tour of the school. Ask specific questions about the program and the career placement. When you go for a tour at a pharmacy tech school, be prepared for the big sales pitch and some pressure. Remember, these schools are businesses and the folks who give the tours are salespeople and often work for commissions.

Online pharmacy Technician Programs / Online Colleges

An increasing number of schools are offering online programs which can be completed at home. An online pharmacy technician program can be a great choice for a highly disciplined person. If you’re prone to getting side-tracked by other projects (or TV shows) while you are at home, Online study programs may not work for you. On the other hand, if you can focus and stay on a schedule online programs are flexible enough to work around any schedule. When considering an online pharmacy technician program, shop around and look at the benefits of each. Some of the online programs may have affiliations with community colleges or chain drug stores, which may provide assistance in finding an internship or externship.

Self Study / Pharmacy Tech Review Books

Similar to online programs, self study can be challenging for the focus deficient types. However, one really good strategy for succeeding with a self-study pharmacy tech program is to form a small group and meet on a schedule. Even just having one partner to study with on a consistent basis helps immensely. Self study is also a very good option for experienced technicians who are in need of getting certified because of a new law or employers policy.

What subjects do pharmacy technician students study?

The breakdown of the test doesn’t really give a clear picture of what subjects pharmacy tech students need to study. In pharmacy technician programs, some of the subjects are: Pharmacy Math, The Top 200 Drugs, DEA Controlled Substance Schedules, Pharmacy Laws and ethics, Prescription decoding and abbreviations, parenteral Nutrition, Pharmacology and several more.

Have You Heard About The Green Pharmacy?

If have not heard about The Green Pharmacy then it is time you did. Since the first edition of The Green Pharmacy, readers around the world are thankful for the advice on how to use herbal remedies effectively. You see plant medicine really does work and in our modern world it has help people hundreds of different ways. Of course our ancestors knew that.

The Green Pharmacy has also been translated into many different languages, so no matter what part of the world you live in the Green Pharmacy should be available. Hopefully eventually we will see doctors and pharmacists read the book and perhaps even use the information to help their patients. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful day? One day “green pharmaceuticals” may be part of daily life.

There are several reasons why interest has peaked with herbal medicines. There is more fear of synthetic pharmaceuticals and the unknown factors associated with those drugs. We worry about the dramatic side effects as well. In just ten years, over half the drugs that were approved by the FDA have been recalled because of unanticipated side effects.

There is another reason for the growing interest in green pharmaceuticals. People are beginning to understand that all living herbs contain thousands of chemicals, and when you choose a herbal medicine, you get the benefit of the combination of these natural chemicals. But when you take a single, mono-chemical, synthetic substance, it will likely not have the same effect . Only on the rare occasion can it address minor problems

Plant food and herbal medicine help in ways that provide nutrients that are essential to life itself. Many of us are deficient in a variety of nutrients, which are essential to optimal health, if not required to life itself. Many of these important, natural ingredients are found in herbs, but they are not found in synthetic pharmaceuticals.

When synthetic drugs are made from are plant that worked, the problem is only one of the constituents are actually used rather than the synergy of many to gain the true medicinal potential.

It’s a great idea to take medicine from the green pharmacy as preventative treatments. For example if colon cancer runs in your family you should consider eating celery and garlic every day and taking Echinacea. There are many herbs with a proven track record that can be used both to prevent and to treat a variety of illness and disease.

Take aspirin for example, the wonder drug of the chemical world. But did you know that aspirin is a copy of the all natural willow bark, which has been used for pain by our ancestors ?

If you hadn’t previously heard abut the green pharmacy you have now and you should really invest in the book. It’s packed full of useful information that can keep you healthy and full of life. When you feed your body the right nutrients your chances of staying healthy increase dramatically.

Isn’t it time you invested in The Green Pharmacy ?

Tips to Save Money on Prescription Drugs Effectively

Drugs can be quite expensive now, and not everyone has insurance coverage that covers their prescribed medications or makes the price lower with a co-pay. In other cases, people have to pay full price for their drugs, which can be pretty expensive. This can happen even if they have a medical insurance plan, but it doesn’t cover the specific drug.

People with and without medical insurance could use some of the following methods to mitigate the effect of expensive drugs on their wallet.

There are several tips on how to save money on prescription drugs. Those tips exclude unsafe ways to obtain medications, like buying them on the street or ordering through an unlicensed pharmacy.

Generic drugs instead of brand-name

This tip is the first that comes to mind when it comes to saving on prescribed medications. Indeed, generics in most cases have the same efficacy as their brand-name versions, but patients can obtain them at a significantly lower cost. If a physician said that a patient may replace a brand name drug with its generic substitute, or didn’t prescribe the drug to be “dispensed as written”, purchasing a generic alternative would be a wise decision.

In most cases, pharmacists provide their customers with generics unless they see “DAW” on the prescription.

For example, Prilosec. This brand-name drug used to treat GERD costs about $230 for 30 capsules, and its generic version costs only $13 for the same amount. Prices are valid as of February 2, 2017, for New-York city. All of the estimated prices are taken from Goodrx.com for Walmart pharmacy. Lower prices may be found in other pharmacies or areas.

Using preventive care services

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare), people have access to preventive care services for free, regardless if they have any type of medical coverage or not. This method will not help to save money on current prescriptions, but will decrease the chance of drugs needed in the future.

Using patient assistance programs

If patient can’t afford a specific drug, using patient assistance programs is an option.

Those programs are run by pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer. Also, there are federal and state programs available for patients without medical coverage or those who cannot afford vital drugs.

Rx Outreach and NeedyMeds are only a few of the programs available across the U.S.

90-day supply instead of 30-day supply

A 90-day supply is almost always cheaper than a 30-day supply. In the long-term, this method can save not only money but also time spent to visit a doctor or a pharmacy.

Plus, if a patient has private health insurance, they can get a 90-day supply using a mail-order pharmacy. This will save even more money and it’s more convenient.

Mail-order pharmacies

Patients could save money on their prescriptions by using mail-order pharmacies. This method is more convenient than going to a pharmacy, but patients should be really careful when using online pharmacies.

Some of them could be fake and simply looking to scam customers. However, patients could avoid those issues if they use the BeSafeRx program from the Food and Drug Administration.

Pill splitting

If a physician says it is okay to split the pill, you can, as long as it is not a birth control medication or a long-acting drug. There are also drugs that are not designed to be split or drugs that have a special coating to protect the stomach. It is impossible to split these and use them without any consequences.

In all other cases, it’s a very smart move to make 20 10mg tablets out of 10 20mg tablets. This method uses the same principles as getting a 90-day supply: a twice-higher dosage does not mean a twice-higher cost.

It is very important to ask a physician about pill splitting in every specific case.

Exemption right

It is possible that medical coverage will not cover the drug that is lifesaving or really important for the patient’s health. If the patient’s physician provides the insurer with proof of the importance of the drug for the patient’s life, there is a chance the patient could get a right for exemption. With this right, the health insurer would cover the drug that is not covered otherwise.

Tips to Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

If your aspiration is to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to pass the certification exams for a pharmacy technician. There are two nationally accepted certification exams and they are offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA) and Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

The goal of the examination is to assess your knowledge before you become a pharmacy technician. Once you pass the pharmacy technician exams you earn the Certified Pharmacy Technician or CPhT title.

It is very possible to pass a pharmacy tech certification exam. All that is require of you is to understand what the important points are. To pass the exams you need to understand what the exams consists of and understand how to prepare for the exams. The guidelines below will explain these two points further:

Understanding the Pharmacy Tech Certification Exam

PTCB exam has ninety multiple-choice questions and takes a maximum time limit of two hours to finish. The exam is computer based and therefore provides instant results once you are done. The exam is available all year round and offered every day of the week.

Passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

The test consists of ten pre assessment test questions. These questions do not add towards the final results. The remaining questions test your knowledge of skills in the 10 knowledge domains. These domains are:

Sterile and Non-sterile Compounding
Pharmacology for Technicians
Pharmacy Law and Regulations
Pharmacy Quality Assurance
Medication Safety
Pharmacy Billing and Reimbursement
Medication Order Entry and Fill Process
Pharmacy Information Systems Usage and Application
Pharmacy Inventory Management

The NHA pharmacy tech exam has 110 multiple-choice questions. It is a computer-based exam that takes about 3 hours to finish. When you are done with the exam, you will get the results immediately and know whether you have passed or failed.

The exam questions on 3 areas: the dispensing process, drugs and products of drugs and regulations of technicians.

Questions for the dispensing process include the following (52% of exam):

Prescription information
Calculations
Preparation and dispensing prescriptions
Sterilization of products, unit dosing and repackaging

Questions for the regulation and duties of technicians include (25% of exam):

Overview of technician duties and general info
Controlled substances
Other regulations and laws

Questions in the area of drugs and products of drugs consists of (23% of exam):

Classification of drugs
Most frequently prescribed medications

How to Prepare for the Pharmacy Technician Exam

Preparing for exams has become simpler this is because there are various available resources and studying guides. The best studying guides have math calculations and evaluation of regulations.

The exam questions are on medications, contra-indication and side effects of medications. You should therefor have a basic comprehension of medication and dosage requirements. PTCB website provides various pharmacy technician study guides that will help you through the exams.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Taking Tips

When doing the exam carefully read through the questions. Get rid of the choices that are clearly incorrect and then pick the best answer from the rest of the choices. The exam takes 2 hours so you have plenty of time to complete. If you not sure of an answer you can always return to do it. Avoid spending a lot time on a single question. With these tips you will most definitely maximize your scores.

Before applying for a particular pharmacy tech exam make sure you meet the necessary qualifications.

Passing certification exams whether by the PTCB or the NHA it’s a major step towards advancing your career. Make sure you prepare yourself before taking the exams for the best performance.

Certified Pharmacy Technician Guide – 3 Useful Tips

One of the professions that one can gather a lucrative income from is being a certified pharmacy technician. One can find a lot of excellent job outlets that the right qualifications can help achieve. If you want to be one of the hopefuls to take part in this type of profession, the following information will get you started on working towards becoming a certified pharmacy technician.

Get Good Training

The first among the certified pharmacy technician guide tips is for you to get a hold of a good school to start your training. You need to select a good school as early as possible in order to make room for more options. You have to make sure that you invest much time and effort in the selection process since education is the main key to success and the right education will help you achieve most in life. Look for quality colleges and universities in your area that offer pharmacy technician programs. This is a good way to begin thinking and planning about your education.

If the means to find schools may be quite inconvenient on your end, you may opt to search online for an available program. There are a number of online schools with varying degrees and pharmacy technician may just be one of them. Make sure that if you decide to invest your time in this type of education, you also should be responsible enough to complete your assignments on time. Time management is the key to achieve this. Make sure that your courses are taken despite your busy home schedule in time for you to have good grades on your assignments and examinations.

Pass The Pharmacy Tech Exam

Speaking of examinations, passing these is the very core of becoming a professional and licensed pharmacy technician. This is the second tip that you should focus on. There is only one tip to passing these, prepare. Like what was mentioned earlier, you should always be very particular with your courses. Take in as much as you can and complete your assignments in order to be well familiar with your learning so that when it is time for your exams, you will pass with flying colors.

Aside from your exams, internship can be your next step to be successful on the road to becoming a pharmacy technician. These internships are offered to those students who have good grades in class, whether or not they are in schools or online education. Once you have gotten the approval with the internship, you are now able to work with a licensed pharmacy technician, which can very well assess your skills. Since this is a hands-on type of practice, you are sure that you can gather much learning than that from your schools.

Find The Right Job

The last tip is of course, getting the best after the exams – how to get a good job. Once you have earned your degree, it’s time to go job hunting. You are very well aware that pharmacy technicians are well in demand, still, the job you should be getting should have the right amount of work and a good pay. Make sure to search in your area for several local jobs that may appeal to new graduates. If you are lucky, your school can help you look for one.

Just make sure that you do all means to get your license. Your license is a good way to secure your dream job with a very lucrative pay to go with it. If you have your eye on the prize, you can start applying and prepare all your qualifications and requirements together.

To sum it all up: find the right school, be responsible and pass with flying colors, have the right ambition and make it happen.