"Why becoming a certified pharmacy technician is not worth your time"

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brown_dude34 in Roslindale, Massachusetts

75 months ago

The biggest grip I have with the pharmacy technician field is that its so misleading to people. Most people are sold a bill of goods about this field thinking that once they complete a pharmacy technician training program or course they will have a real rewarding career. However this is not the case. I will tell you why ?

First, let's start off with the definition of a pharmacy technician. I will translate this title so it's easily understood. Pharmacy technician = Pharmacy aide/assistant/slave to the pharmacist on duty, by this I mean you will end up doing the grunt work of a pharmacist.

For example, counting pills, anwsering phones, entering prescription data into the computer, performing drive thru service, stocking the pharmacy with bottles, caps, bags,etc and ringing of the register.

I just outlined the main job duties associated with this field along with standing on your feet for 6 -8 hours a day.

You will deal with sick/angry/rude customers, let me translate another keyword. The word fast-paced environment means high stress, just so you are aware of that catch phrase.

Secondly, lets talk about the salary, thats right the measly salary they want to pay you for all this gruntwork.

Starting salaries:

$9.00 - $10.00 an hour for unexperienced, unlicensed pharmacy technicians

$11.00 - $12.00 an hour for certified/registered pharmacy technicians.

When you really think about it, isn't this what unskilled labor earns and this is without all the paperwork such as sitting for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and registering with the state you want to practice in.

Think about the salary long and hard, it's under $20.00 an hour with no room for advancement. Trust me you can't raise a family off of pharmacy technician wages.

Nevertheless support yourself without working insane hours. In most states you need to earn at least $15.00 an hour to afford health benefits and barely support yourself.

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star415 in San Francisco, California

59 months ago

i would like to share my experience with everyone, if i can remember all the details... i received my license when i was 21 or 22yo i think the year 2004.I graduated at Bryman with a fat loan left to pay for like 12-13 thousand dollars almost. It was very hard for me to find a job who would hire me... So, I would work anywhere to gain and keep up with my work experience in any position or field. Ive learn that anywhere you work, its good to have reference and important... but anyhow, i received 2 phone calls one from safeway, which wanted to hire me, then walgreens called to hire me also... i used my common sense and of course choose Walgreens... they are pharmacy before they are store... other than safeway is a grocery store before they are a pharmacy.. right?
I started off at a very busy Walgreen which was located in a low income residency area... so you can only imagine my life there as a tech and the type of training there was learn as you go... ive work under a lot of stress, but was able to over come it by knowing and exercising my mind... taking the initiative on handling all sort of situation, when it came to insurance billing issue from medical, to medicare, to blue cross to hnet, etc.. the pharmacy world is interesting once you understand how it work. and how you learn how to take control of situation and work flow.. dont turn into a robot, stay in control...
Anyways, i always stayed positive and stayed in control and provided great costumer service that who would have known UCSF hospital ask me to come in for an interview and that they had a perfect position waiting for me... They wanted me due to my knowlegde of medical billing, PAs, TARS, SARs, etc... I handle it all at my store... its important for you young folks out there to start to develope some work ethics... you have to want! dont be lazy and just complain and complain fix it! solve it! shoot your getting paid while working you might as learn all sides to the problem... right?

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ptcb_tutor@yahoo.com in Danville, California

59 months ago

JOEY1296 in Salinas, California said: I HAVE TO DISAGRRE WITH ALOT OF PEOPLE'S NEGATIVITY TOWARDS THE PHARM TECH FIELD, I PERSONALLY WOULDN'T MAKE A CAREER OUT OF IT, BUT FOR A FULL TIME COLLEGE STUDENT WORKING PART TIME, THE MONEY IS BETTER THAN MOST JOBS OFFERED TO COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO NEED FLEXIBLE HOURS. AND AS FOR THE BEST PAYING PHARMACY CHAIN, WALGREENS PAYS THEIR TECHS REALLY WELL, I'M 22, NATIONALLY CERTIFIED, AND I MAKE $18.25 AN HOUR, AND I'VE ONLY BEEN WITH THE COMPANY SINCE '07, WHERE I STARTED OUT AT $11.50, BUT GOT BUMPED UP TO $13.75 ONCE I PASSED MY NATIONAL BOARD TEST. ALSO, THEY PAY FOR YOU TO TAKE THE NATIONAL BOARD TEST, THEY'LL PAY FOR UP TO 3 TRIES, AND THEY PAY FOR YOUR STATE LISCENCE RENEWAL, AND HAVE FREE CE'S (CONTINUING EDUCATION) FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEED THE CREDITS FOR YOUR NATIONAL BOARD RENEWAL. AND AS FAR AS PEOPLE FREAKING OUT ABOUT THE NATIONAL BOARD TEST, THAT TEST IS SO SIMPLE IF YOU'VE TAKEN THE CLASS AND DONE SOME EXTERNSHIP HOURS. ALL YOU NEED IS A 650 AND THE GRADING SCALE IS 300-900, SO IN REALITY, YOU NEED TO GET 350 OUT OF A 600 POINT TEST, THATS 58%, THAT'S LESS THAN A "D" BY REGULAR STANDARDS. SERIOUSLY, ITS NOT A BIG DEAL.

Thank you!! Well said!
I have been a tech for 24 years. You have to want to be tech. :)

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PharmacyDoc in Nashua, New Hampshire

58 months ago

@kittykat1: I didn't say everyone, but you would be surprised at the number of techs that I (and other RPh's I know) have come across that really do think that because they are good at being a retail tech it means they would be able to hack it as a pharmacists. This is usually a topic of discussion at RPh events and get togethers. In my experience, I have only met one tech who was able to go on to pharmacy school, and the reality of that situation was that she was took a year off after high school to figure out what she wanted to do and was working as a tech but she was also an excellent student in high school and would have gotten in to pharmacy school had she applied to go right out of high school. I just don't want people to have unrealistic expectations that working as a tech is a great stepping stone to becoming a pharmacist because unless you have the academics, PCAT scores, recommendations etc... to back it up your not going to get in. The schools do not consider working as a tech full time and passing a PTCB to be indicative of future success in pharmacy and rightfully so. You obviously realize that pharmacy school is no joke, but really there are many people who do think it is. I had one tech tell me that she learned more than pharmacists do in an 8 week course she took!

Now about being certified, the certification itself is a good thing. I would encourage you maintain your CPhT and anyone else who wanted to become a tech to take the exam. What I was saying is worthless are those schools that are out there that will teach you to become a technician (like the ads on tv: become a pharmacy technician). I will not hire anyone out of those schools. Like I said before I think they make techs dangerous, now this depends on the tech, but you really don't know until you work the person and it is really hard to fire someone so I just stay away. If you did go to one of those schools and your applying to a retail store and haven't had luck yet, maybe

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PharmacyDoc in Nashua, New Hampshire

58 months ago

Sorry I ran out of room
So, maybe try leaving it off once and see what happens. As far as experience, everywhere is different, I preferred to hire without experience because I like things done a certain way and this way I can train them from the beginning and I don't have to constantly hear at XYZ Pharmacy we did it this way. If you do get an interview and you don't have an experience things that a pharmacist wants to hear are fast learner, people person, flexible schedule (but you have to mean it), detail oriented, follow directions well, ability to deal with difficult people or situations, efficient worker. What you basically want to project to them more than anything is that you will be able to catch on quickly and once you know what you are doing you will be quick and efficient, while making minimal errors and still be smiling while the sky is falling during 5pm rush hours. For hospital I'm not sure, I don't have much experience there, even for RPh's it's tough to get into, they want experience as well, so what most RPh's I know do is just wait until there is an opening and the hospital is desperate enough to hire someone without experience. There are other things too if your a CPhT these are insurance companies that hire techs, long-term care facilities, home infusion companies, so you may want to find out what is in your area and send out your resume. Do you have any independent pharmacies left around where you are? If you can go in on a day the owner is there you may be able to talk to him/her for a few minutes (find out what days he's there and when its not too busy)and maybe they will take your resume and keep it on file even if they aren't hiring at that time. I always hear good things about independents, better hours, better management, usually some compounding. Who knows maybe they would even let you work a few hours a week (no pay) just to get some experience?

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star415 in San Francisco, California

58 months ago

I would also like to add on some important points and advice for people that have a negative out-look on pharmacy technician schools. One I do agree that pharmacy tech schools are over price, but you definelty get what you pay for, but there other school that offer the same programs and you pay a lot less so do the research... I think importantly when it time to do your intern or externship that you give a good impression, this is where you gain, on hand real life experiences. Keep in your mind that this is your golden opportunity to shine and to futher your education. Once recognized by management, whether it be your work ethics, flexibility, character, work performance, etc... you might be asked a position at the end of your intern or recommendation somewhere else. Leaving with a good impression and using reference matters a lot. So start with a good attitude and leave with one.

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Blah* in Winston Salem, North Carolina

57 months ago

I just took my certification exam today! Passed, but of course, im not getting a raise or anything. I am still below $8.40 that is supposed to be the lowest amount of pay after working for a year. I have been there for 3 years. The pay is ridiculous. 4 people hired after me are getting 30 cents more than me and I'M CERTIFIED. CVS is bull. Walgreens, (i inquired surrounding stores) are starting off around $13.00 dollars... But they aren't hiring. You do ALL,I mean, ALL of the hard grunt work that the 1st blogger mentioned. This work field is NOT worth it. The only reason i got certified was 1) It is free the first time, and 2) it helps me get into the RN program at school. Decide loooong and haaard about pursuing a career as a pharm tech.

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kittykat1 in Connecticut

57 months ago

Blah* in Winston Salem, North Carolina said: I just took my certification exam today! Passed, but of course, im not getting a raise or anything. I am still below $8.40 that is supposed to be the lowest amount of pay after working for a year. I have been there for 3 years. The pay is ridiculous. 4 people hired after me are getting 30 cents more than me and I'M CERTIFIED. CVS is bull. Walgreens, (i inquired surrounding stores) are starting off around $13.00 dollars... But they aren't hiring. You do ALL,I mean, ALL of the hard grunt work that the 1st blogger mentioned. This work field is NOT worth it. The only reason i got certified was 1) It is free the first time, and 2) it helps me get into the RN program at school. Decide loooong and haaard about pursuing a career as a pharm tech.

how did it happen that 4 people who were hired after you are getting paid more than you? are they certified too? do they have more experience? if neither are true then that's a little strange.

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cricket

57 months ago

I WOULD NOT WORK FOR CVS PERIOD. THEY TREAT YOU LIKE CRAP, NO MONEY, NO BREAKS JUST THREATS ALL THE TIME. I WAS JUST FIRED UNJUSTLY AFTER OVER 4 YEARS OF WORKING MY BUTT OFF FOR THEM BUT THEN AGAIN I ALSO HAVE A WORKERS COMPENSATION LAW SUIT GOING WITH THEM. WOW I WONDER WHY I WAS FIRED. I WAS WARNED BY SOMEONE IN MY STORE "YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED IF YOU HAVE A WORKERS COMP CASE GOING AND BOY WAS SHE RIGHT" STAY AWAY STAY FAR AWAY FROM CVS. BY THE WAY AFTER OVER 4 YEARS ONLY MADE $9.65 AN HOUR ISN'T THAT A SHAME FOR BUSTING YOUR AS- 9 HOURS A DAY WHILE THE DUMB AS- PHARMACIST IS MAKING OVER $120,00.00 A YEAR

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bluestangsue66 in Seymour, Tennessee

57 months ago

they may have been hired at a higher rate just to get some warm bodies in, while the dedicated worker is still stuck in the old hiring bracket of pay (like when the minimum wage changes and some people get adjustments and others don't) For the record I looked at working for Walgreens and was told that the starting pay was $8/hr regardless of the fact that I have worked in pharmacy for 10 yrs now and been certified for 9- and a HS grad off the street would be hired at the same rate. This is one of the most underappreciated career fields anywhere- the retail industry at least doesn't really care if we know anything about the meds, we're just counting monkeys- yet the laws are shifting to put more responsibility on techs for errors and less on pharmacists whose job it is to know everything.

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SOON TO BE P1 in Silver Spring, Maryland

56 months ago

I have worked in the industry for 7yrs. I only became certified because the state that I work in has requrired it. This field is great for college students I worked as a tech for nursing school and undergrad pre-pahrmacy. I love pharmacy and will be persuing a Pharm D. soon. Either role can become the slave!!! The techs fill, ring the register, input and answer the phone. But the pharmacist has to count the schedule 2 narcs that we cant fill. Transfer rx's and take phone in Dr. rx's in between patient consults. Not to mention that they have sole responsiblity for any errors that the tech makes! The salary for a pharmacist is well earned. The company that I'm employed by pays well but I didnt walk into this job right away. Everyone has to pay their dues and that good job will come. I have been told by pharmacist that they could not have made it through that day had a good tech not been on their shift. The same is vice versa so. IF YOU THINK NEGATIVE YOU GET NEGATIVE RESULTS!!!! YOU WANT MORE MONEY STOP THINKING OF YOURSELF AS A SLAVE BECAUSE YOUR EARNING YOUR WORTH!!!

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MsToofish in Cleveland, Ohio

55 months ago

Iworked in manufactering for 8yrs and made 12.31hr the company moved to Atlanta and i decided to make a change so i went to school for pharmacy tech recieved a 3.75 and i am certified can't get a decent payrate due to no experience in the field I am currently making 8.25hr i am so depressed and feel no prestigue in this field i can go back to manufactering and start off making 11hr or 13hr due to all the experience i have plus i have the school loan to payback pharmacy technician is not exciting or a challenge it really was a waste of time

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MsToofish in Cleveland, Ohio

55 months ago

worked in manufactering for 8yrs and made 12.31hr the company moved to Atlanta and i decided to make a change so i went to school for pharmacy tech recieved a 3.75 and i am certified can't get a decent payrate due to no experience in the field I am currently making 8.25hr i am so depressed and feel no prestigue in this field i can go back to manufactering and start off making 11hr or 13hr due to all the experience i have plus i have the school loan to payback pharmacy technician is not exciting or a challenge it really was a waste of time

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brown_dude_CPhT in Watertown, Massachusetts

55 months ago

Unfortunately, your story is sad to read but I would recommend that most aspiring pharmacy technicians if they are interested in the medical field look into a biotechnology program, nursing or some other allied health field at a local community college.

Definitely, skip the pharmacy technician career path it is not worth your money, time and the stress of working in that high pressure cooker environment. You will either burnout your mind and body or quit in frustration. Ask yourself, do you really want that?

Most pharmacy technicians end up working in the crappy retail sector 16 -24hrs at most with no decent healthcare benefits, until 2014 when a U.S national healthcare plan for all Americans becomes active. Another serious set of problems is the working environment, just imagine standing on your feet for most of the shift, difficulty scheduling breaks and lunches (it is hard to get a break or take a decent lunch because of the crazy pace of most retail pharmacies) you will most likely end up working with obnoxious pharmacist’s male and female with a plantation masters mentality.

Guess what? You the lowly pharmacy technician will be fulfilling the role of the tech slave. The low pay just tops the cake on this occupation, trust me horrible working conditions for any human being to have to deal with on a daily basis. The recruiters who recruit aspiring pharmacy technicians never tell you the real story; you get the real story from practicing pharmacy technicians and those who have been burned out working in the environment.

Hospital pharmacy technician positions are tough to obtain you definitely have to know someone or have at least 3 years of experience to break into the hospital environment. So don’t think just because you have PTCB certification and a state license obtaining employment as a pharmacy technician will be so easy, it is not.

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MsToofish in Cleveland, Ohio

55 months ago

Thank You for the comment it is so true i am frustrated and i feel like i was told a lie about this field. I am not learning what i need to know or gaining the experience on the computer i need i feel like they really don't need me and i don't feel important plus this 8.25 is not going to help me pay back my school loan i feel so useless and much a waist of my energy and brain cells. I am trying to get back into a factory this pays much more. Talk to you later brown dude.

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eyeriz in Fallbrook, California

52 months ago

Im licensed in the state of Utah.graduated in 2007 ,I have never found a job!ever!!!they require a lot of experience. I was actually going to move to California,I started applying online for pharmacy jobs,and got hired within 4days!!!!!!but I ended up not moving :( so yeah,it was definitely a waste of money!

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Sal S. in Escondido, California

51 months ago

Hey eyeriz, where did you apply in California? I'm close to Fallbrook

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brian in Houston, Texas

51 months ago

I completely agree with u I have been a licensed pharmacy technician since 04 and have been looked over for every job i apply for. Everyone wants you to have experience but noone is willing to take a chance on you to provide you with the experience you need.I really think this was a waste of time and I was hoping when I did my intern at the hospital i should b makinglike 18 to 20 dollars by now and have 7 yrs experience

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Lisa in Louisville, Kentucky

50 months ago

I would like to comment as a tech who does't work retail. This is not what the hospital technician does. I've been in the field for 12 years and i make around 18 an hour. The work is better, pay is better, and no patient contact in hospitals. I hate that you're painting the entire field based off of what was obviously a bad retail experience.

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E in Norristown, Pennsylvania

49 months ago

hqa035 in San Antonio, Texas said: Hey
I'm a senior in my undergrad in neurobio. and was woundering if anyone would think working as a cert. pharm tech would give me some good experience and help me understand pharmacology, due to the fact that i would like to go to grad school for pharmacology, and other than school lab classes i dont have any experience working in a lab-like enviornment??
thanks for any response

It only helps a little on being familiar with drugs nothing else. And most pharmacists don't have the time to teach techs. And others don't want to teach techs.

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Connie28 in Summerfield, Florida

48 months ago

notalldoomandgloom in Mission Viejo, California said: I think brown_dude34 is painting a worst-case scenario. You have to remember, in some states it's mandatory to become certified in order to go to work, so getting certified is not necessairily a waste of time. Also, not all parts of the country pay the same for the same type of job. Here in California, according to salary.com, most level I pharmacy technicians make a median income of about $33,000.00 a year.

I think it most cases, it is what you make of it. brown_dude34 doesn't sound happy at all, others might be perfectly happy. Possibly a housewife who needs to enter the workforce because it's too hard to live on one income, could find a job as a pharmacy technician part time, afternoons or evenings so that hubby could stay home with the kids, and she can bring in some extra income. BLS indicates the job growth will be strong, you can't say it will be bad in all areas.

I'm sure schooling can be found for less than $3500. I've seen schooling that will prepare you for the PTCE and give you exam prep for less than $900.

You'll get what you look for, guys.

You are right! He does sound unhappy and grumpy!! I am starting school in 1 week and it is only $2900 for everything! That is with going to University of Florida!(Gators) There are 3 opening right now at the hospitals for this position! Hospitals pay more then your retail pharmacies.

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SCHULTZ1 in Fullerton, California

47 months ago

I have been a Pharmacy Tech for 12 years and was laid off a year ago and still am
unable to find job. What I find in my area is there is to many Pharmacy Technician grads and not enough jobs to meet the demand of technicians. If I was anyone considering going to school for this I would probably reconsider at this time.

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financially frustrated in Deltona, Florida

46 months ago

I have worked for CVS for going on 2 years now after completing the pharmacy technician training program through University of Florida. I am not nationally certified but am barely making 10 an hour. I feel like I was mislead as well. They tell you that pharmacy techs make 30,000-35,000 per year. That is far from the truth. I work as many hours as I possibly can and still barely make it check to check. I am a single mom who was trying to find a career to support my family. Impossible. I am planning on continuing my education to become a pharmacist. It's sad when you have gone to school for a career that leaves you having to collect food stamps just to feed your family. :( If I had known how lousy the pay, I would have chose radiology or respiratory therapist. Good luck and just don't get you hopes too high.

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Iris in Liberal, Kansas

46 months ago

As of now, I'm studying to be a Pharmacy Tech so I can later be a Pharmacist. It's true. This job isn't really for those who are not going into the Pharmacy field but it's very great to have if you plan on pursuing the Pharmacy field.

So IMO, I would recommend studying to be PT if you are thinking of being a Pharmacist later down the line.

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Abby Normal in Jackson, Tennessee

45 months ago

WHALEA in Daytona Beach, Florida said: I am thinking of attempting the pharmacy tech course however my math is poor is there a possibility I could still pass

ANYONE and I repeat ANYONE ....can pass the CPHT board. It is merely a money making operation to collect fees. The state board is extremely difficult, but I don't think I have ever met anyone that actually failed it. I find that strange. For example. We had a girl with no pharmacy experience other than checking in our daily stock order for 3 months and no training, or math skills to take it. She literally guessed every multiple question answer. Another girl that passed, 7 years later, still can not compute that 30 mls equals 1 ounce, 60 mls equals 2 ounces without asking someone or grabbing a calculator. We host students from a local "tech" training school. The director boasts that they have never had a a single student fail the CPHT board. I'm sorry, but in ANY profession or school that is legitimate a certain percentage of people FAIL. The whole CPHT thing is a crock. I'm one, it hasn't gotten me anywhere, I never got any raise or benefits. It's just a stupid regulation to cover a a lazy pharmacists behind in case he gets in trouble for not doing his job.

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grego in Monterey Park, California

45 months ago

I agree and 90% of the questions are irrelevant to your job function.
And for numbers I have had my license since 2000 and cannot find a job because here in Los Angeles they want you to know another language other than english, in other words to me English is the foreign language. Then these employers state they are an EOE employer. Then when I have gone on interviews they ask how comree you are not working currently as a pharm tech? My last job was dispensing for a pharmaceutical company. I tell them there are rarely any opportunities and I have to survive - a job is better than no job. I am still trying and even trying to get a job at a burger chain In N Out where my neighbors daughter makes 32,000 slicing onions. The pharm tech schools have saturated the market and lie about everything and before they really had job placement, now it is called job assistance, which they do nothing for you.

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janna rageworth in Baltimore, Maryland

45 months ago

the heck i started off at walmart certified and state registered at $9.70 but i had no experience...i do more work in 3 hours than my idiot lazy coworkers do in a whole day and they get paid 50% more because they been there longer so they think they can beat the system by slacking off which makes me rage so hard. always gotta make up for their junk

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grego91754@yahoo.com in Monterey Park, California

45 months ago

In california you cannot just apply for a pharmacy tech license, you have to pay for a 6 month course at a vocational school. These schools have flooded the market. To most pharmacies or pharmacists all they care about if you have your state license and if you are expecting to make more money because you are national certified that make take you out of the hiring pool. The pharmacists I have worked for could care less if you are national certified - what matters if you can count pills and know trade & generic drugs. You do not need a pharmacy technician license to work or dispense for a pharmaceutical company. I have worked for a pharmaceutical company and they do not pay or recognize your license. True you never know who is handling the meds - most people just getting in the field do not realize how dangerous these pills can be. Thousands of people die every year because of medication side effects. Sure it's a great feeling knowing you are a link in the chain that may contribute to one's well being, but have you ever got news from someone's daughter who came in and said their mother has died of kidney failure and your pharmacy has been filling her valium prescription for 3 past 3 years? Or Mr Smith has had a stroke and you have been filling his naproxen 500mg BID for the past 5 years? Being a link in someone's death - not fun to hear? Or Mr jones is in rehab for his hydrocodone addiction, or Tina has just committed suicide and has been taking PAXIL for years? I have heard these stories.

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cortny7 in Jacksonville, Illinois

45 months ago

I'm glad to hear that California is one of the state's that requires some type of formal training. In Illinois, all you have to have is a high school diploma and no felonies. You do, however, have to passed the Certification test within 2 years of your license application date. The problem we have seen arise here is that a lot of the tech's that are getting to the end of their 2 years and take test and fail it because they have not been educated. And I agree that these schools have popped up everywhere, the trick is finding a school that has some kind of accreditation standards. The ASHP has a list of schools broken down by state and so the the PTCB, the NPTA, and just about every other professional pharmacy organization. I can assure you that you will not about allowed to step foot into an IV room here without knowledge of pharmacy-specific Calculations and aseptic technique. To be a Pharmaceutical Rep you have to be licensed to even step foot on the pharmacy floor so they'd have to be certified in your state from what you are saying. Over a million people are injured every year due to preventable medication errors by UNTRAINED staff. 10,000 of them die.... Your stories are very sad indeed, and I have heard similar stories as well. Of course it makes you feel bad, but there are a lot of things in this world that make you feel bad and are completely out of your hands. Like I said, I love my job and I've been a tech for 7 years. Seems like all of you that are complaining about being a tech chose the wrong field!

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grego91754@yahoo.com in Monterey Park, California

45 months ago

I couldn't agree with you more on training and how some new techs do not realize how serious the meds are, then again when techs are paid like McDonald's wages after going to a school for 6 months - it's an employers market here in Los Angeles. My Neighbors daughter works at an In N Out hamburger chain & makes over 30,000 & works 30-35 hours a week slicing onions(had a 2 week training course.
And yes there are good & bad things in the pharmacy. I won't have anything to do with a prescription if I can't read the writing - what good is writing if you can't read it? I love being a tech - when I can find a place to work. I have had my license for 10 years and seems useless here - some employers might see too many years might equal to too much payroll. There is also a lot of mail order going on which insurance companies are in cahootz with drug companies - Like Unitedhealth has their own called Prescription Solutions. I have also known cancer patients who have switched to marijuana(there goes a lot of other pills) - what a difference with no synthetic chemicals! And they are eating without vomiting! Maybe I should move to Illinois? Would they recognize my CA license through a reciprocity act? It can be tough being caucasian in Los Angeles trying to find a job as a tech.

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mynhii in Oakland, California

45 months ago

Does attending an ASHP-approved program help finding a job?

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grego91754@yahoo.com in Monterey Park, California

45 months ago

Good Luck with anyone helping with jobs. I have paid for a service called "IHIREPHARMACY" their job listings are the same as Indeed or Simplyhired and really have not done much for me other than critique my resume. When I finished my tech program in LA in 2000 they had job placement - now with schools saturating the market it is called "job assistance". I went to American Career College and in my last 2 weeks they had me in an internship 2 miles from home and of course if you're lucky you might get offered a $9/hr job. The saturation in the pharmacy tech world has lowered the pay and you'll be lucky if you can get a job for $10/hr. In California, most training programs train as if you are going to be nationally certified. Some places may not want a nationally certified tech because that might mean more pay and every application that I have filled all they were looking for was a current state license with a clean record. Again, having held my license for 10 years does not mean much in California. There are retirement homes that are hiring "Med Techs" for $10/hr to recount the pills - no license required, because no dispensing - but you're still handling drugs - go figure. I would become nationally certified if it was a 100% guarantee for a foot in the door.

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Gaby in Miami, Florida

44 months ago

I recently graduated from a private school as a Pharmacy Technician.
Im registered, but not yet certified cause I tend to freak out about the test.
Im scared that Ill fail it or something.
I graduated in May 2011, should I still consider taking the exam or just go to another career?
also ... would walgreens aor cvs allow me to be a volunteer and work in the pharmacy as a registered pharmacy tech. until im ready to take the exam?

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grego in Monterey Park, California

44 months ago

I don't know what the laws are in Florida regarding a state license or what is needed to work in a pharmacy - it's up to you, but in California you need a state license issued by the board of pharmacy.
I have almost never see companies looking for a nationally certified tech.
Most retail chain pharmacies do not want volunteers hanging around their pills.

Here is a link with some practice testing>>>
www.pharmacy-tech-study.com/practicetest.html

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DAHUI in Miami, Florida

44 months ago

Do not waste your time and money enroll directly into PHARM D
AN HONEST ADVICE :)

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DAHUI in Miami, Florida

44 months ago

Enroll directly into PHARM D,Honest advice

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Paige in Davis, California

44 months ago

brown_dude35 in Brookline, Massachusetts said: In most cases “no formal education” is required at this time in order to become a pharmacy technician.

Becoming a certified technician fulfills the law that enables you to work in a hospital setting. You can become certified by passing the National Pharmacy Technician Exam at www.ptcb.org . Whatever you choose to do find a way to pass this test, it will open up a lot of other pharmaceutical opportunities and allow you to register with your state board of pharmacy in a fast way.

However, lacking hospital experience is a critical factor in getting hired as a hospital pharmacy technician. Furthermore, the only way you can get this critical hospital experience is to volunteer as a hospital pharmacy technician. Stay away from the retail pharmacy setting as it is injurious to your career as a freshman pharmacy technician.

There is too much gossip, high stress level, and low pay within the retail sector of pharmacy. It’s not worth the experience. Your learning opportunities working in retail pharmacy such as CVS/Pharmacy, Walgreen’s, Targets, etc, will be limited and not a rewarding experience. However, this is the route most freshman pharmacy technicians who are not certified/registered take in order to enter the field.

The state law requirements for pharmacy technicians can vary from state to state so you should read up on your state board of pharmacy laws. According, to what you posted it appears you live in Tennessee so go here for more info health.state.tn.us/boards/Pharmacy/index.shtml

-Good Luck

"No formal education" required BUT they'd rather have the experience. Here in California one year experience is required

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Paige in Davis, California

44 months ago

I kind of wonder if Pharmacy Tech is just like all the other entry level jobs out there in that they'd RATHER you have years' of verifiable work experience than a degree or license in Pharmacy Tech or any of the life sciences that a while ago would lend themselves to a career sorting pills in a pharmacy. People with bachelor's of science's in Biology and other Biological sciences should try applying for entry level pharmacy tech jobs with no experience and see what happens. Until then I remain a substitute teacher in nasty-area districts that "will take anyone with a Bachelor's degree" because they're so remote that they can't be picky about verifiable references and all that BS.

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Mikey Psycho in Santa Monica, California

44 months ago

The job market for pharmacy technician in Los Angeles is ugly. I went to an interview at the UCLA hospital and the lady told me they have over 100 applicants for the job! Every place I go to also tells me they get a lot of calls about open positions. I think it is the trade schools promising rewarding futures and churning out techs when the market is already flooded; they run a lot of day time ads. Retail stores will definitely low ball you, as the first post mentioned, at around 9 to 11 an hour which isn't great pay in a high cost area of living like Los Angeles. Hospitals pay the best 14 and up, but the competition is fierce.

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loria in Dallas, Texas

44 months ago

well their is a pharmacy tech program at my school for free and i am thinking of taking it since it pays more than a CNA or dentist assistant(other programs at school) so we would end up going to pharmacys everyday to get experience. So well i only want to work as a tech to help pay for college. Since i am in highschool so do you think its a good idea?

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jean in Salt Lake City, Utah

44 months ago

I have got this opportunity to share with u more experience ,tell me is it possible to stand the state test without going to a pharm tech shool,tell me more because I did Bpharm degree outside of USA .

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Piper in Davis, California

44 months ago

grego91754@yahoo.com in Monterey Park, California said: I couldn't agree with you more on training and how some new techs do not realize how serious the meds are, then again when techs are paid like McDonald's wages after going to a school for 6 months - it's an employers market here in Los Angeles. My Neighbors daughter works at an In N Out hamburger chain & makes over 30,000 & works 30-35 hours a week slicing onions(had a 2 week training course.
And yes there are good & bad things in the pharmacy. I won't have anything to do with a prescription if I can't read the writing - what good is writing if you can't read it? I love being a tech - when I can find a place to work. I have had my license for 10 years and seems useless here - some employers might see too many years might equal to too much payroll. There is also a lot of mail order going on which insurance companies are in cahootz with drug companies - Like Unitedhealth has their own called Prescription Solutions. I have also known cancer patients who have switched to marijuana(there goes a lot of other pills) - what a difference with no synthetic chemicals! And they are eating without vomiting! Maybe I should move to Illinois? Would they recognize my CA license through a reciprocity act? It can be tough being caucasian in Los Angeles trying to find a job as a tech.

Well then come on up to Northern Central California where being Caucasian seems to be a REQUIREMENT after all the public is going to SEE you and they wouldn't trust anyone non-Caucasian to handle their medications now would they?! I'm Native American with dark skin and I think I'm only HALFWAY being sarcastic.......!

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Piper in Davis, California

44 months ago

jean in Salt Lake City, Utah said: I have got this opportunity to share with u more experience ,tell me is it possible to stand the state test without going to a pharm tech shool,tell me more because I did Bpharm degree outside of USA .

Yes in California it technically IS but then I'd wonder if any place would HIRE you if you did it that way. No verifiable relevant experience and all that BS.

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Piper in Davis, California

44 months ago

loria in Dallas, Texas said: well their is a pharmacy tech program at my school for free and i am thinking of taking it since it pays more than a CNA or dentist assistant(other programs at school) so we would end up going to pharmacys everyday to get experience. So well i only want to work as a tech to help pay for college. Since i am in highschool so do you think its a good idea?

As long as you CAN work in your state certified that way. And if you get an externship through the school do it for TWO WHOLE YEARS. Or three. Period. Even if they're treating you like dirt during it - all that matters these days is having two to three to five whole years' full time paid work experience under your belt even if you're like 16 or something. Stick them out!! Internships or externships of durations with the word "months" in them, will get you nowhere. No employer these days thinks that three months, as in a summer internship, is long enough to teach you anything, apparently.

I'm not saying these things to be mean, this is just what gets handed to ME on a regular basis. Employers these days seem to trust "experience" more than they trust the SCHOOL to teach you anything, or the State board of licensure of [insert field here] to check your background well enough to determine if you COULD do the job or are "safe" to be "allowed" around other people's medication (or children, if you're talking about teaching, or elderly if you're talking about that, and ya da ya da....)

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Alamode in Denver, Colorado

44 months ago

JOEY1296 in Salinas, California said: I HAVE TO DISAGRRE WITH ALOT OF PEOPLE'S NEGATIVITY TOWARDS THE PHARM TECH FIELD, I PERSONALLY WOULDN'T MAKE A CAREER OUT OF IT, BUT FOR A FULL TIME COLLEGE STUDENT WORKING PART TIME, THE MONEY IS BETTER THAN MOST JOBS OFFERED TO COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO NEED FLEXIBLE HOURS. AND AS FOR THE BEST PAYING PHARMACY CHAIN, WALGREENS PAYS THEIR TECHS REALLY WELL, I'M 22, NATIONALLY CERTIFIED, AND I MAKE $18.25 AN HOUR, AND I'VE ONLY BEEN WITH THE COMPANY SINCE '07, WHERE I STARTED OUT AT $11.50, BUT GOT BUMPED UP TO $13.75 ONCE I PASSED MY NATIONAL BOARD TEST. ALSO, THEY PAY FOR YOU TO TAKE THE NATIONAL BOARD TEST, THEY'LL PAY FOR UP TO 3 TRIES, AND THEY PAY FOR YOUR STATE LISCENCE RENEWAL, AND HAVE FREE CE'S (CONTINUING EDUCATION) FOR YOU WHEN YOU NEED THE CREDITS FOR YOUR NATIONAL BOARD RENEWAL. AND AS FAR AS PEOPLE FREAKING OUT ABOUT THE NATIONAL BOARD TEST, THAT TEST IS SO SIMPLE IF YOU'VE TAKEN THE CLASS AND DONE SOME EXTERNSHIP HOURS. ALL YOU NEED IS A 650 AND THE GRADING SCALE IS 300-900, SO IN REALITY, YOU NEED TO GET 350 OUT OF A 600 POINT TEST, THATS 58%, THAT'S LESS THAN A "D" BY REGULAR STANDARDS. SERIOUSLY, ITS NOT A BIG DEAL.

If your bar is already set low its hard to be dissapointed.

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kn in Portland, Maine

44 months ago

Alamode in Denver, Colorado said: If your bar is already set low its hard to be dissapointed.

That's not necessarily true for all companies. CVS, Walmart and such don't pay that much unless you started years ago. Being nationally certified does not automatically bump a raise in alot of companies. Aside from that, you can get free CE's from a lot of legitimate sources. With the saturated pharm tech market, it really isn't that easy to get your foot in the door at the point. I've worked for a few companies and have seen managers throw out numerous applications without even glancing at them because there simply aren't job very many job openings. The situation with the current economy doesn't help. I don't recommend paying that much money to go through a whole program. I know plenty of people who couldn't find jobs afterwards (in California).

And really, the caps are unnecessary and rude. Please be a little more professional.

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Lorelei in Davis, California

44 months ago

brown_dude_CPhT in Watertown, Massachusetts said: Unfortunately, your story is sad to read but I would recommend that most aspiring pharmacy technicians if they are interested in the medical field look into a biotechnology program,

I'm sorry, Biotechnology? You can't get even a laboratory assistant washing petri dishes and cleaning up after and feeding the lab animals job with less than a PhD in the Biotechnology field. I have a Bachelor's in Biology and have been applying like crazy to biotech lab tech positions all over the country, it feels like, and get NOTHING. Ignored. Squat. Crickets. And this is for the "entry level" ones which SAY that all that's required is either an Associates in one of the sciences or a high school diploma with some bio and chem classes.

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Squadfather in Ballwin, Missouri

44 months ago

I have an interview with CVS on Friday. Even if it doesn't pay much, it's a start. I didn't pay for any school, though. It's just that it is tough with my girlfriend bringing in the only income (she sells used cars). Plus, there are so many of us living in the trailer right now.

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ME in Union City, California

43 months ago

Nguyễn Khánh Minh in Oakland, California said: Can you please share with me how you answered questions with your interviewer? I will start my course in the January. Studying is not a problem for me, but I'm not quick when it comes to interviewing. Thank you.

I've applied to CVS several times, I have my AS Degree in Pharmacy Technology,certified and I still have not got a call back. What's really going on? Do you know someone that works at CVS, or do you have previous experience?

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Tim in Tahlequah, Oklahoma

43 months ago

sarah mrxi in Franklin Park, Illinois said: This is a comment for Lakeland in Ohio. I am actually working with Lakeland right now with their pharmacy technician program. They actually might be offering a second class in the future and I am looking to hire an instructor for it. I can hire a pharmacist, a student in their last year of pharmacy school, or a certified pharmacy tech. Let me know if anyone in the Cleveland area is interested in teaching. The pay for a certified tech is $20-28/hour depending on experience. And for a pharmacist $45-47 hour. You can email me your resume at sarah@mrxicorp.com

$20-$28/hour?...Wow!...What a difference location makes...In Texas the pay for CPhTs is $14-$18/hour (even worse in Oklahoma) for hospital techs, and $9-$12 for retail techs...I'd say if you're considering becoming a pharm tech, RECONSIDER...Try Radiologic Technology, or Medical Technology instead.

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