CPhT- Frustrated and Disappointed!!!

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RichardsAshleyC in Clayton, Michigan

15 months ago

Is it just me or does it seem like a total waste of time and energy to obtain a CPhT? I enrolled in a vocational school in May of 2012, spent seven months there obtaining my PTCB-sponsored CPhT and accompanying First Aid and CPR and HIPAA certificates... A very successful six-week externship at a Cleveland-area Walgreen's... A year after enrolling, six months after externship and graduation... Over a hundred job apps in various fields between two states... Multiple resume and app submissions at hospitals and pharmacies... Multiple pharmacy interviews...
AND NO JOB!!! ANYWHERE!!! AT ALL!!!
I have several years of work experience, some education, a solid and great-looking resume, cover letter, and reference sheet... I know I interview and present myself very well...
I WANT A JOB! PREFERABLY IN THE AREA I WENT TO SCHOOL FOR!
AND TO TOP IT OFF... Upon enrolling in the Pharm Tech program, we had to research up to five different positions as Techs and in up to five different locations... All the research I did at the time indicated that I would have a reasonably easy time finding a Tech job (within perhaps a month or two after graduating), in most any major metropolitan area... And that I'd be entry-level at about $12-$14 per hour!
WRONG!!!
After all has been said and done, I have discovered that whether you are in a major and also very healthcare-focused city like Cleveland, or in a small rural area like Adrian, MI (where I now live), there seem to be next to no Pharm Tech opportunities, ESPECIALLY for entry-level candidates. To top it off, most retail will base at about $8- MAYBE $10 per hour. And just as a final slap in the face, during my externship, I discovered that ANY Joe or Jane off the street can also get a Tech job. Isn't that a little infuriating?
In short, had I known ALL of this before, I'd have absolutely gone into a different program at the vocational school. I'd do anything for a job anywhere right about now...

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KJasko in Phoenix, Arizona

15 months ago

I, too, share your feelings of frustration and disappointment. I enrolled in the local community college in the beginning of 2011. I made great grades, finished my classes in May of 2012 with a GPA of 3.86. In August, I completed an 180 hour externship at an amazing Bashas' United Drug store and really did well. Since then (9 months later), I still can't get a call back. It is very frustrating. I don't have what I would call a "solid" work history though. I will be 26 by the end of this week and I have never held a job longer than 7 or 8 months and it has been at least 4 or 5 years since I have had a job. I really need help learning to explain it. It wasn't until I was almost 22 that I said enough is enough, if I am not working, then I better start going to school to get the skills necessary in order to get a job. Honestly, before that, I wasn't sure where my life was going, but I have changed so much since then. I am enthusiastic about life and making progress and lending myself 100% into all that I strive to achieve. I feel like a strong, motivated young woman who has the skills necessary to get the job done but I don't have the 2 years needed to get in most places. I wish my school could have told me that if I chose to go for tech that I should find a place to start volunteering at at that point so by the time I would have completed my program, I would already be ACTUALLY prepared to enter the workforce. Aahhh!! I only hope that someone else sees this who might be participating in a similar program as me and figures it out before I did. That is all. Sorry for rambling.

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RichardsAshleyC in Clayton, Michigan

15 months ago

Not at all, I appreciate hearing anyone's feedback on the issue... I am sorry that you are having a hard time, perhaps you can formally explain any gaps in employment as "chose to remain at home" (IF you have kids or relatives who needed assistance), "preparing for/pursuing education", something like that. You mentioned volunteering- It just occurred to me- Maybe people like us should just call back all the pharms and hospitals we've applied to and explain that we'd just like to volunteer for experience!? Anyway good luck, I hope someone gives you a break, you sound like you deserve it.

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Preference RobinsonCPhT in Memphis, Tennessee

15 months ago

I also attended school to become a CPhT, though my certification has now expired. I went to school in 2008 to 2009, got my certification from PTCB, CPR certification, all the things I was supposed to get! Nothing, no job offers, nothing, my externship went well, I had to work at RiteAid. I had my certification for 2 months, my license from the state of Tennessee for 2 months, and I had 1(one) interview, that's it! I don't understand why they allow the schools to advertise "Pharmacy Technicians are needed, and are in demand!", uh where are they "in demand". Memphis is a HUGE city, and it has all the major drug stores, 10-12 hospitals, and it's a major distribution hub, but there are no CPhT jobs here. Yes, I obtained my certification 4 years ago, and I let it lapse, that's because the only place I could find a job was FedEx. So I figured why pay to be re-certified if I'll never find a job doing what I went to school for? Now, I've lost my job at FedEx, and I was thinking about going back to school for CPhT, but I just can't do it, I'm so afraid, I'll be stuck again paying off Sallie Mae for an education that doesn't work. My class included 9 girls, and 2 guys, we're all friends on Facebook, how many of them have jobs as CPhT's...2, and that's because 1 has a sister that works for Walgreens(I guess it's who you know), and the other 1 moved out of state! I thank you for your post RichardsAshleyC...it just confirmed that I should NOT get re-certified, I should do some major research and then go to school for something that will actually be lucrative. Also, I think that these programs should be outlawed some kind of way, they should be forced to say exactly how many people graduated AND have found jobs! Good luck, and thanks for reading!

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RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan

15 months ago

I'm sorry Robinson... I'm still desperate for work- I've applied to every single business that I can even somewhat qualify for in my city... Every restaurant, hospital, pharmacy, retail store, many offices... NOTHING... The CPhT is a nice backup, and it looks nice on a resume... But yes has proven worthless. Good luck buddy.

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KJasko in Mesa, Arizona

14 months ago

RichardsAshleyC in Clayton, Michigan said: Not at all, I appreciate hearing anyone's feedback on the issue... I am sorry that you are having a hard time, perhaps you can formally explain any gaps in employment as "chose to remain at home" (IF you have kids or relatives who needed assistance), "preparing for/pursuing education ", something like that. You mentioned volunteering- It just occurred to me- Maybe people like us should just call back all the pharms and hospitals we've applied to and explain that we'd just like to volunteer for experience!? Anyway good luck, I hope someone gives you a break, you sound like you deserve it.

Thank you, you too

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Mike in Sun City, California

14 months ago

Gald I found this forum! MY ife experience and educational background is criminal justice/investigations. I am unable to even get an interview. I'm beginning to suspect age discrimination a well since I'm 51.

Saw a community cllege flyer for their pharm tech program. I was thinking of a career change. After reading these informative posts as well as the forum for medical coding, I'm thinking twice about expending the time and monies to proceed into one of these career paths.

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Mike in Sun City, California

14 months ago

Sorry for al the typos. Guessing there's no edit function on this forum!

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ViziViz in Central, New Jersey

13 months ago

Please don't be discouraged!

CVS is hiring and paying well over $12 depending on what state you are applying.

As an employee I will gladly refer you.

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RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan

13 months ago

Thank you! I am in Michigan, however I am expecting to give birth any time now. I look forward to re-applying for jobs in a few months.

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ayemane in Saint Paul, Minnesota

12 months ago

Don't give up guys. I have been a CPhT for about 9 years. I think that it helps to get it in the sense that it shows that you are serious about what you do. I don't really recommend taking any classes for it though. It is much cheaper to buy a few books and study on your own. Also, if you are looking for the higher paying jobs stay away from retail. I went from making $8.50 at Walgreens to making $15 at a local hospital. I am now only casual at the hospital but pay is $20+.

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RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan

12 months ago

Unfortunately, you have to start with at least a year or two in retail for a hospital to even consider you, and retail is hard enough to get into even with my CPhT and 6 week externship... I'd do PT for a long time if I could make as much money as you! Hoping to re-enter the competition a couple months after my baby arrives...

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Jennifer in Owensboro, Kentucky

12 months ago

ayemane in Saint Paul, Minnesota said: Don't give up guys. I have been a CPhT for about 9 years. I think that it helps to get it in the sense that it shows that you are serious about what you do. I don't really recommend taking any classes for it though. It is much cheaper to buy a few books and study on your own. Also, if you are looking for the higher paying jobs stay away from retail. I went from making $8.50 at Walgreens to making $15 at a local hospital. I am now only casual at the hospital but pay is $20+.

SO GLAD I found this topic! I have been thinking of going into the Pharmacy tech field, but was torn bc I have a family member who..like you ayemane...doesn't believe in taking classes for it. She's been a hospital pharmacy tech for almost 10 yrs and she was hired off the street. She got on the job training and never stepped foot into a classroom. She's never worked retail either. She has a good schedule and is off every other weekend. She absolutely loves it. I told her that i'd love to be able to do that. However, in the area I live in (KY/TN border), I hardly ever see a job listing that states they are willing to do in-house training.

In reference to what an earlier poster(ViziViz)stated, I did however see that CVS is hiring for Pharmacy Techs and are willing to do in-house training. In my area though, the pay will probably be closer to the $8.50-$9.00 range.

For those of you who are working in the field, is it difficult to catch on? I've heard from a few folks that its really heavy in math and if you aren't good at math, its not a field you should consider. Thanks for any help you can give.

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RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan

12 months ago

I went to school for about 6 months (3 actual classroom time, 6 weeks at a Walgreen's externship)... Passed my CPhT, got HIPAA, CPR, and First Aid... Excellent references and resume/cover letter... Loved my externship... Well that was about a year ago, and nothing has turned up even after a few interviews. To be brutally honest it kind of pisses me off that Joe and Jane from the street can get the job while people who actually sacrificed for the certification aren't prioritized. Also, jobs were easy as hell to come by ten years ago as compared to now. It's bad out there.

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Jennifer in Owensboro, Kentucky

12 months ago

RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan said: I went to school for about 6 months (3 actual classroom time, 6 weeks at a Walgreen's externship)... Passed my CPhT, got HIPAA, CPR, and First Aid... Excellent references and resume/cover letter... Loved my externship... Well that was about a year ago, and nothing has turned up even after a few interviews. To be brutally honest it kind of pisses me off that Joe and Jane from the street can get the job while people who actually sacrificed for the certification aren't prioritized. Also, jobs were easy as hell to come by ten years ago as compared to now. It's bad out there.

RichardsAshley - Yes, it is bad out there and I feel your pain on that. Mind you, I haven't gone to school like you for Pharm. Tech, however I have experienced things like that before in jobs I've had. People who have no experience at all get hired in, but then here you sit w/qualifications that wouldn't require much training...if any at all.

A friend of mine went through that very thing a few months ago. She put in for a receptionist job @ a college just to get her foot in the door. She was interviewed, but didn't get it. She found out they hired someone w/absolutely no experience. She had never worked in an office before. The interviewer knew a mutual friend and told her that my friend didn't get the position bc she was way too qualified. He went on to say they were leery bc they figured she would only work there for a little bit, get bored w/the $ and then leave to find something that was more on the level of her education(she has a master's degree). Now isn't that crappy? If she wouldn't have wanted the position, she wouldn't have applied. So yep, it burns you up, but what can you do? Its just downright depressing.

Were your classes heavy in math? As I said in a previous post, I've been told Pharm. Tech is, so if math isn't your thing, you should stay away from that prog.

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RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan

12 months ago

I understand that the CPhT certification (as well as the other ones that I have mentioned) truly require a relatively short amount of studying, learning a few new skills, and memorization. The actual job I worked as a CPhT extern was something I could have done years ago as a high schooler. That being said, I still quit my job, moved, lived on a campus, and devoted six months of my life to this. So, no, my qualifications don't make me a doctor or anything, but they still took a lot of sacrifice to acquire. As a final burn, I found out right at the end of my training that anyone at all can purchase and pass the CPhT without any training at all.

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GabrielG in Chino Hils, California

12 months ago

RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan said: I understand that the CPhT certification (as well as the other ones that I have mentioned) truly require a relatively short amount of studying, learning a few new skills, and memorization. The actual job I worked as a CPhT extern was something I could have done years ago as a high schooler. That being said, I still quit my job, moved, lived on a campus, and devoted six months of my life to this. So, no, my qualifications don't make me a doctor or anything, but they still took a lot of sacrifice to acquire. As a final burn, I found out right at the end of my training that anyone at all can purchase and pass the CPhT without any training at all.

That is certainly not correct. I just took the PTCE exam a few days ago and it was difficult even though I had graduated from a 2 year pharmacy tech course from a good school and had worked in a 240 hour externship in both hospital and retail and passed with perfect grades in almost everything. There is no way that someone without any training can pass the PTCE unless they themselves do an extensive study using books on how to be a pharmacy tech. Even then you won't get all the info you need to answer what's on the test because there is stuff on it which only classroom instructors will likely tell you about. I can't elaborate on that because questions on the PTCE are not allowed to be discussed.

Anyway, I just felt the need to set things straight, and yes it took me a long time to find a tech job but I recently landed my first after a very long search. The reason I retook the PTCE was because my certification and grace period for recertifying had expired during my job search.

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Michael in Corona, California

11 months ago

I took the PTCE and passed after only studying for a week, from a free study guide book at my library. I thought the test was somewhat easy. But I'm an undergrad trying to get a biology degree. It's definitely a test that a smart high school student can pass, specially If you graduated top 10% in your class. You would just need to know the top 100 prescribed medications, there basic MOA, and drug class. Math is simple conversions and basic algebra. In terms of finding a pharmacy tech job, it's difficult, even in California where you need to be certified and licensed. There's not many job openings where I'm located in Southern California. I'm sorry that you or others went to vocational and feel it was a waste of money. I think many vocational schools are just following a business model and don't have your best interest in mind. Hopefully things work out well for you. Best of luck with everything.

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Jeffrey in Overland Park, Kansas

11 months ago

So I found this topic, and thought I would add my own story and knowledge to it.
In my experience, retail pharmacy is NOT where the money is. As a CPhT at a local pharmacy you will make around $10, but if you work for a mail order pharmacy you make a minimum of $14.
I was hired into a mail order pharmacy as a RPhT (which is kind of a joke, you just have to complete a background check-no exam) and I was making a base pay of $13.25 at the mail order pharmacy. After getting a CPhT and with my experience as a RPhT, I got a pay increase up to $15 plus quarterly bonuses. And I know if you work in a hospital the pay is even greater.

I feel like the CPhT is a good thing to have, you just have to know where to go with it or know of companies in your area that are in need of a CPhT and how much they pay. The exam is kind of a joke, but you should have basic knowledge how being in a pharmacy works. I would like to say you can take the exam without any classes, but I have known people that under estimated how much they knew about pharmacies and failed the exam.

If you are looking for a school to get a CPhT from, look online. I hate to put a number on things, but if the whole program is more than $1100 DONT DO IT, more than likely they will be wasting your time. I used a reputable company that I signed up for online, cost me a little over $1000 and they had a guarantee that if you didn't pass the exam the first time that they would refund the exam fee so you could practice more and take it again. And the program only took me 2 months to completed, and I spent 2 hours a day studying.

Hope this helps some people.

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jess in Homewood, Illinois

9 months ago

Going to school for pharmacy tech is ABSOLUTELY a waste of time and money. Getting your certification is only really necessary if your state requires it. Illinois requires you to get your certification 2 years after you get your license. And all you need to do for your license is apply....that is ALL! Indiana does not require certification. So unless they are going to pay you more at your current job (do not get certified without a job) then do not bother. 1) its not necessary to have it to get an entry level job 2)your company will most certainly pay for it 3) you are paid the lowest amount (slightly above minimum wage) when you start...even if you are certified. So there goes any potential raise for getting certified later.

Pharmacy technician could be so much better if they would raise the standards. As it stands now, yes, any random person off the street can be a tech. That's how I started. I barely knew what tylenol was. But in the end, working as a tech is a million times more important than going to school (again, the biggest waste of time and money I have ever seen).

So for new people considering this field....DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL IT IS WORTHLESS! Go to your typical walmart, cvs, walgreens etc. Make sure your availability is wide open and you are almost guarenteed a job there. You will start out usually slightly above minimum wage. Spend the next 2 years learning at work, taking their tiny little raises. Then try to move on to a hospital. But also understand that without some serious luck, you will never make more than $15/hr in this job....and even that is with a little luck.

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jess in Homewood, Illinois

9 months ago

ALSO, if anyone is in the south chicagoland area, the place I work is so understaffed its unbearable. So if you are still looking, send me a message. The pay probably would not be more than $9 to start though.

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Seriousaboutthis in Chicago, Illinois

9 months ago

jess in Homewood, Illinois said: ALSO, if anyone is in the south chicagoland area, the place I work is so understaffed its unbearable. So if you are still looking, send me a message. The pay probably would not be more than $9 to start though.

I am interested. What is your contact information and is it full time.

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Alex Sum in Mill Creek, Washington

8 months ago

I understand and feel your pain. Looking for work can be very frustrating and hard. Unfortunately, there is no guarantees even with an education. I do a lot of job search coaching with friends and I would highly encourage you to NETWORK effectively since it's so important these days. More than anything, fight to stay POSITIVE and not give into discouragement or despair to the degree you can't be functioning at a high level in your job search. 'Please feel free to check out my job search resource here: alex-sum.com/resources/job-search

Also, I recently saw an opening at Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy preferring a CPhT in their Ontario, CA location.

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haksmit in Dayton, Ohio

7 months ago

Hello Ashley!
I started working in pharmacy as a technician 15 years ago making only $5.25 an hour. I make more money now than I ever imagined. Most of my training at the time was hands on. Technicians were not required to be certified when I first started. I eventually obtained my certification while working at Walgreen's. I worked several retail pharmacies until I was completely burned out from retail. I pursued other opportunities and landed a job at an Health Management Organization (HMO).

While working for the HMO, I was able to learn the back end of pharmacy working directly with national Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBM). After several years of managing other technicians. I was promoted to Pharmacy Team Lead for Medicare Part D.

Although, I no longer work in Pharmacy, it has lead the way for other great opportunities! There is a future in this field, I am a living testimony. Expand your search with looking for a job with State and Federal agencies, HMOs, Mail-order pharmacies, Specialty pharmacies, Pharmacy Benefits Manager or Wholesalers. Healthcare is on the move and employers need experienced technicians like yourself! Good luck with your search!

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Seriousaboutthis in Markham, Illinois

7 months ago

jess in Homewood, Illinois said: Going to school for pharmacy tech is ABSOLUTELY a waste of time and money. Getting your certification is only really necessary if your state requires it. Illinois requires you to get your certification 2 years after you get your license. And all you need to do for your license is apply....that is ALL! Indiana does not require certification. So unless they are going to pay you more at your current job (do not get certified without a job) then do not bother. 1) its not necessary to have it to get an entry level job 2)your company will most certainly pay for it 3) you are paid the lowest amount (slightly above minimum wage) when you start...even if you are certified. So there goes any potential raise for getting certified later.

Pharmacy technician could be so much better if they would raise the standards. As it stands now, yes, any random person off the street can be a tech. That's how I started. I barely knew what tylenol was. But in the end, working as a tech is a million times more important than going to school (again, the biggest waste of time and money I have ever seen).

So for new people considering this field....DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL IT IS WORTHLESS! Go to your typical walmart, cvs , walgreens etc. Make sure your availability is wide open and you are almost guarenteed a job there. You will start out usually slightly above minimum wage. Spend the next 2 years learning at work, taking their tiny little raises. Then try to move on to a hospital . But also understand that without some serious luck, you will never make more than $15/ hr in this job....and even that is with a little luck.

This is going to change according to the PTCB, if I am not mistaken. By 2015, it looks like you need to be enrolled/graduated from a (certified?) PT program in order to take the exam (PTCE).

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KeltikSkye in Farmington, Michigan

6 months ago

RichardsAshleyC in Tecumseh, Michigan said: Unfortunately, you have to start with at least a year or two in retail for a hospital to even consider you, and retail is hard enough to get into even with my CPhT and 6 week externship... I'd do PT for a long time if I could make as much money as you! Hoping to re-enter the competition a couple months after my baby arrives...

I am one of those people that had no PhT training but got a job as a PharmTech. However, I have a Bachelor's Degree in Health Admin Mgmt, and a minor in Medical Laboratory Science.
You don't need ANY retail experience to work in a hospital, UNLESS it is the hospital's policy. I started at a rural mid-Michigan hospital. Sadly, they only pay $12.00/hour to start WITHOUT Certification, and then you only get a quarter raise. I am looking out of state so that I might be able to actually use my degree(s) as well, or get paid more working in a PROFESSIONAL field.

Michigan sucks for jobs, and if you are lucky and manage to find one, the pay is awful, the benefits worse, and hours are hard to come by.

Good Luck.

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