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

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smccue2 in Fredericksburg, Virginia

14 months ago

Tranquilkitten in Chaska, Minnesota said: Advice needed! I worked as a Pharm Tech in IL in the 90's when all that was needed was a certificate from the state. Worked at Walgreens for 4 years & was sent to work at their mail order facility in Orlando for a summer because they were short-staffed. I then moved to working at an off-site Long Term Care pharmacy for 6 yrs that supplied over 100 nursing homes. I left pharmacy when I moved to MN 15 yrs ago & am working a Finance job that I detest. My husband & I will be moving to CA this year & I want to go back to pharmacy. My goal is to eventually work in any of the environments I described above (including hospital) EXCEPT retail. I plan on going to an accredited trade school to prepare for the certification exam. Am I right to assume I will have to take the exam twice- here in MN & again in CA? Will I have to do an externship in retail? Will any of my past experience count in my job search? BTW, no hate for the retail folks- it's just not the environment I thrive in. I regret leaving the field so much as it was so interesting to me... Just wanting to get back to what I love doing & trying to find my way.....

If you take the national exam with the ptcb then you will only need to take the exam once. You just have to follow the states specific licensure rules. Usually when u get the national cert u just have to register with the state healthcare professional agency. I'm not sure what Minnesota or California's state reqs are.

As to the externship, most programs will have some retail aspect as well as exposure to hospital or clinical environment But each program varies so it will depend on which program you go with.

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smccue2 in Fredericksburg, Virginia

14 months ago

Tranquilkitten in Chaska, Minnesota said: Advice needed! I worked as a Pharm Tech in IL in the 90's when all that was needed was a certificate from the state. Worked at Walgreens for 4 years & was sent to work at their mail order facility in Orlando for a summer because they were short-staffed. I then moved to working at an off-site Long Term Care pharmacy for 6 yrs that supplied over 100 nursing homes. I left pharmacy when I moved to MN 15 yrs ago & am working a Finance job that I detest. My husband & I will be moving to CA this year & I want to go back to pharmacy. My goal is to eventually work in any of the environments I described above (including hospital) EXCEPT retail. I plan on going to an accredited trade school to prepare for the certification exam. Am I right to assume I will have to take the exam twice- here in MN & again in CA? Will I have to do an externship in retail? Will any of my past experience count in my job search? BTW, no hate for the retail folks- it's just not the environment I thrive in. I regret leaving the field so much as it was so interesting to me... Just wanting to get back to what I love doing & trying to find my way.....

Also your past experience will count. I've known a few people who took a break from pharmacy but were able to come back and find a job. It will just depend on who is hiring.

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tranquilkitten in Chaska, Minnesota

14 months ago

smccue2 in Fredericksburg, Virginia said: Also your past experience will count. I've known a few people who took a break from pharmacy but were able to come back and find a job. It will just depend on who is hiring.

Thanks for the info!! I see that in CA all that is needed for a state license is proof of passing the ptcb & a HS Diploma. I can't find anywhere that it is required to attend an actual school in order to sit for the ptcb & see quite a few online courses that are affordable that can help to prepare me for the exam. Do you have an opinion regarding trade school prep vs. online prep?

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smccue2 in Fredericksburg, Virginia

14 months ago

Tranquilkitten in Chaska, Minnesota said: Thanks for the info!! I see that in CA all that is needed for a state license is proof of passing the ptcb & a HS Diploma. I can't find anywhere that it is required to attend an actual school in order to sit for the ptcb & see quite a few online courses that are affordable that can help to prepare me for the exam. Do you have an opinion regarding trade school prep vs. online prep?

I myself did an online course that prepared me very well for the ptcb. It was sponsored by a pharmacy in a local free clinic. i got experience volunteering there and that was the equivalent to my externship. but since you have already worked in the field you already have a working knowledge of the field. so really an online course would probably work. just make sure its properly accredited and you should be fine.its also a way for you to bypass doing externship in a retail environment. the internet is full of study aides and the ptcb site itself provides practice exams

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RxTechExam in Richmond, Virginia

14 months ago

Check out www.Rxtechexam.com we guarantee you pass the PTCB exam with our completely online course.

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RxGirl56

14 months ago

I started out at Target (10.50) in 2003 and loved it but wanted to experience hospital. So after 2 yrs retail, I got hired at the local hospital. (12.00) I hadn't been used to working with a group of women and unfortunately, I let them get the best of me. Of course I have since learned that people that walk around making remarks are the ones with the problems, Not me, but I couldn't understand why pharmacists who saw it let it happen and decided it wasn't a place I wanted to work at and moved on, back to retail. I worked for Safeway,(14, 16.45 when I left( which cut hours so low, I had to move on. I worked for King Soopers (16.45, 17.06 when I left) but again, retail is never full time. Left to assist a loved on with home health care in 2011 and have been trying to get back into hospital, or Costco since. Stuck at a call center for $10 and miserable, I love being a pharm tech and keeping myself certified. I had hopes but the hospital job I applied for gave the full time position to an internal candidate. All I can do is keep being positive and keep applying. I like that it gives me a sense of responsibility and I feel I've made a difference in someone's life and the life of the ones who love them. It makes me feel like I have purpose. It is a professional job and I would love to retire as a hospital pharmacy tech. Yes, you have to want it, you have to like it, you have to find your own purpose in it. It can be stressful, it can be hard, but it can be so very rewarding. I'm out here, hoping to get back in! Keep positive, keep up your certification, keep in touch with your contacts. I come from a production background and that is my plan b, but, my heart is with pharmacy.

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Karen in Bradenton, Florida

14 months ago

Anyone that wants to make more money - Pharmacy Tech, Teacher et. al. GET OUT OF FLORIDA. Salaries in this state are so much lower than others. I thought everyone knew that. It's a tourist/retirement state. There's no future here. Move to an area that will pay you what you are worth. You can't have the lifestyle and the money.

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Anne in Memphis, Tennessee

13 months ago

I worked as a pharmacy technician for 3 years. I spent about 1.5 years working for CV as an undergraduate and I spent about 1.5 years working there after graduating. Despite it being of no cost to me, I never took the certification exam, however, I was hired as a Junior in college. I believe they assumed I could handle the basics. I was interested in pharmacology. From what I've read, I must have lucked out, because my pharmacist was more than happy to answer my questions about drugs I knew nothing about. I took the time to learn the pharmacology and classifications of the "fast movers" and any drug with mechanisms of action that I found confusing. I kept the position because I was applying for graduate school in pharmacology, so the position was help for me. The pay was extremely low, but as college student and while studying for the GRE, it was suitable. I started at $9.50 and ended at $10.00. I was quick, knowledgeable, pretty helpful with customer questions, and held a B.S., however the company never deemed me fit to earn my experience, skill, or degree's-worth.

Overall, cool job. Mostly, if you're interested in the drug not the money!

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Zack in Irving, Texas

13 months ago

I have been a pharmacy tech with Kroger pharmacy for a few years now and make $15 an hour. I only work part-time due to the fact that I am a full time student at UTA working on my bachelors degree in biology. If you want to be a pharmacy tech DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL FOR IT!!!! If you are gonna spend money on any type of education use it for a degree! I just bought some study material off of amazon, locked myself in my room for a month and took the PTCB exam and passed it on my first try. BE SMART!

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PharmSlave in Bellflower, California

13 months ago

South california wage 11.00 starting @ 24 to 32 hours usually rarely get 40 hours. benefits cost 400 monthly with a high deductible . The kids at in and out make more money than us . grumpy customers no breaks constant standing lab coat checks after clocking out . No discount on medication. High stress . pretty much i think security guards with the 4 red dots on the shoulders get paid the same .

So i think it would be a better career choice to be a security guard at least you can sit sometimes..........

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JT in Plymouth, Indiana

12 months ago

cricket said: 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

Wouldn't really be calling the Pharmacist dumb when they went to school for 7-8 years to have the knowledge that they have.

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Hrachelle

12 months ago

Omg folks, if your not happy with your job, go find another one. There are SO MANY other jobs out there that require a pharm tech license. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!!!!

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Sjfierce

11 months ago

Abro22 in Indianapolis, Indiana said: So much negativity on this forum; it's ridiculous. I've been licensed as a technician for a year and work at Wal-Mart pharmacy making $12.55 per hour. You start out making around $9 and then get a hefty raise once you're licensed. For those of you saying take a class to get licensed/certified, please stop recommending that. I've never a) known a tech who took a course who actually knows what they're doing when they're hired or b) a pharmacist who wants to hire a tech who took a course. It's a waste of your time/money, you learn a lot more on the job, AND you learn how the pharmacist you're working for wants you to do things.

To add to that, I just got my certification and am now switching to a hospital tech job. It's a good (though stressful) job that pays well and you can get in at a hospital if you're fairly intelligent and a good worker. If you can't handle using your brain on a daily basis or standing up (God forbid), this is not for you.

Did you learn everything you needed to get certified in a year? I know taking courses nowadays are expensive and I'd rather not take a $1000 class, especially if I don't pass. I'm only 19 and just now getting into the pharmacy world. It's been 5-6 months. How did you pass? Is their anything you would recommend?

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Sjfierce

11 months ago

Zack in Irving, Texas said: I have been a pharmacy tech with Kroger pharmacy for a few years now and make $15 an hour. I only work part-time due to the fact that I am a full time student at UTA working on my bachelors degree in biology . If you want to be a pharmacy tech DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL FOR IT!!!! If you are gonna spend money on any type of education use it for a degree! I just bought some study material off of amazon, locked myself in my room for a month and took the PTCB exam and passed it on my first try. BE SMART!

What did you buy? I want to take my test before the end of this year just don't know what is the most accurate information to study

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mcneillmama in Winston Salem, North Carolina

11 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.

NC is well known for paying dirt cheap wages in every field compared to other states. Not just pharmacy techs, but nurses and teachers too. I don't know how our license plates say "First in Flight". I don't think NC has been first in anything except unemployment and illiteracy.

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Hrachelle in Dallas, Texas

11 months ago

mcneillmama in Winston Salem, North Carolina said: Or if you don't want to do hands on care, get a BS Degree or higher in computer science and get a job in the hospital or pharmacy Information Technology department. Network security (HIPAA and Electronic Health Records is the buzz word now)

How dare you call our success stories BS? Just because you lacked the ambition to make something of yourself in this career doesn't mean you have the right to disrespect the hard work we have put into it. We are at a point in our career where we can teach others and encourage them to put in the effort it takes to get where they want to be in pharmacy. Really you should shut the hell up. We have earned the right to call our stories a success and push others in the same direction. My god, if you hate the damn job, get the hell out. Nobody asked you to stay. Pharmacy techs are dime a dozen?? I wouldn't mind one or two less if they are going to bash our career. GOOD pharmacy techs are few and far between and trust me, we know the difference.

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ericaspar245 in Forest Hills, New York

11 months ago

I agree star415. I think Pharmacy Technician work is great. I am very methodical and like moving my body around. So this is perfect for me. I would hate sitting at a cubicle and selling some kind of telemarketing bs all day. At least this is a real hands on product. You just do the work How simple? Also it is not a dead end for me because I am apply to get my BA then going for PharmD school. What you do with your life is totally up to you. The sooner people realize that the sooner they will understand how life works.

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Someir

10 months ago

This thread is extremely negative sheeshhhh. I am a pharmacy technician. Have been since 2006. Licensed in Florida and certified through PTCB. The one piece of advise that I agree with is DO NOT PAY A SCHOOL. My advise. Learn as much as you can, expand your knowledge but people learn your craft and expand. Stop thinking about pharmacy technician as just the grunts in CVS and Walgreens or Publix and Walmart. I really don't want to offend anyone but these are the shallow minded ones who have never sat down to realize how great the field of pharmacy as a tech can really be. Take it from me because I was once that guy working at CVS saying this wasn't worth me going to school for. That changed once I accepted my investment (school) and decided to own my title. I have held so many positions outside of a retail or hospital is not even funny. If I told you the position I currently hold as a tech you'd think I'm lying and some of the colleagues I deal with on a daily basis are also techs. Some of their titles are the following:
1.Billing representative (she works for a pharmacy that provides services to jails)
2.Customer Support Manager (competitor pharmacy for jails and prisons)
3.Intake manager (Home Infusion Pharmacy)
4.Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator (my old title - Home Infusion pharmacy)
5.Infusion Pharmacy Coordinator (also an old title of mine)
6.Chemotherapy coordinator (Hospital)
7.Clinical Pharmacy Liaison (Home Infusion)

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Someir

10 months ago

Here is another piece of advise. Stop thinking about pharmacy technician as the position you are looking for.......NO NO NO. This is the mistake a lot of us make because we haven't been exposed to anything else. Look for positions that 'require' you to be a certified pharmacy technician because the title may say something else. Do not limit yourself to searching for "PHARMACY TECHNICIAN" jobs.
I've seen title that don't scream PHARMACY TECHNICIAN but indeed required the person to be one. For instance, BILLING COORDINATOR or CLINICAL INTAKE COORDINATOR or PHARMACY LIASON or DISCHARGE PHARMACY COORDINATOR or HOSPITAL TRANSITION COORDINATOR. All these titles I have seen before and the main and sole requirement is that it be filled by a pharm tech. The positions that have these 'off' titles are the most rewarding ones and many of us don't know about them because we search for PHARMACY TECHNICIAN on this website or other career oriented websites. TRUST ME!!!!!

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ericspar245 in Forest Hills, New York

9 months ago

Sorry you are having a hard time. I think it is because you are in North Carolina. Any other states up North like here in New York City of any surrounding areas and you will be making $16.50 an hour fresh hire.

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ericspar245 in Forest Hills, New York

9 months ago

It's hard to get a job in the south from all these comments I'm reading. Have you ever considered moving up North? That is where the good jobs are and the $$

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ann in detroit in Detroit, Michigan

9 months ago

Gail in Wallingford, Connecticut said: My son is a pharm tech for Walgreens. He has an impeccable 5 yr history with them, and he is certified. He makes $14/ hr now which is an insult to any semi skilled person in Connecticut because the cost of living is very high here. Minimum wage in CT should be $20/hr. - you can just about make it on that if you don't have expensive tastes.

My son hates his job for a number of reasons that ALL include rude/abusive people who blame him for not illegally refilling their Oxycontin prescriptions. He also is sickened by the number of people who pull up to the drive thru in Hummers and Escalades that present him with a State insurance card that should be for only the indigent of disabled. There is so much fraud out there and the state does nothing about it. They made State insurance 'no asset check' even as we continue to go bankrupt here.

some people that you see in very nice cars have worked for 35 to 40 year,were laid off,unemployment benefits expired before they could find employment,health insurance was cancelled along with job. should these people not have items that took many years of hard work to obtain.many companies are not hiring employees over 60 or people of a certain race(that had jobs that enable them to by the above mention cars)whatif your son was laid off from walgreens ,and could not find a job in 5 to 6 months, became ill,should he sell his car before obtaining health care?? do not be so quick to judge

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nycgirl in Brooklyn, New York

8 months ago

ericspar245 in Forest Hills, New York said: Sorry you are having a hard time. I think it is because you are in North Carolina. Any other states up North like here in New York City of any surrounding areas and you will be making $16.50 an hour fresh hire.

in nyc? where did you get your training?

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pmkumar in Modesto, California

8 months ago

Hi I have been a ptcb certified pharmacy technician and I have been one for 6 years now. I started at Walgreen and have been there ever since. When i first began I started at 14.25 once I became certified with the state I they bumped me up to 19.85 per hour. I live in California close to Sacramento. I loved my job in the beginning, because I made decent money and it was fun. It was a great income while I was still going to college. Over time the job takes a toll, I say keep going and not stick with pharm tech. The new hires I heard are getting 12.00 dallors an hour. Over time as well i built i ended up with carpal tunnel due to the typing and filling prescriptions all day not worth it. Its retail, so my schedule has been part- time to full - time, to barely any hours, weekends, holidays so that kinda suck. Also, I did get hired in the hospital in stockton and they started me off at 25.85 per hour , but i ended up quiting it was to hard for me. I was not familar with ivs and i had trouble understanding it. Let me tell you this though as much experience as I have it is still very hard to get into the hospital. anyways best of luck

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Hrachelle in Arlington, Texas

8 months ago

Sounds like a lot of whining and complaining to me.

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mcneillmama in Winston Salem, North Carolina

8 months ago

I just went on an interview with a brand name multi million@ drug chain. Currently I substitute teach in math, science and health occupations classes in high school and middle school. When the manager told me the starting pay for a CPhT with three years experience was only going to be $7.50 per hour. I told him I made more than that as a substitute teacher. I was making $6.50 per hour 20 years ago working as a cashier at Revco Drugs. I was shocked that the beginning wage has only gone up by 1$ in 20 years. Needless to say, I thanked the manager for his time and I'll just keep my sub job. The benefits of subbing are I get my weekends and holidays off, and I don't have to drive in snow and ice because they call off school. Summers off aren't so bad either.

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Dan in Brockton, Massachusetts

8 months ago

mcneillmama in Winston Salem, North Carolina said: I just went on an interview with a brand name multi million@ drug chain. Currently I substitute teach in math, science and health occupations classes in high school and middle school. When the manager told me the starting pay for a CPhT with three years experience was only going to be $7.50 per hour. I told him I made more than that as a substitute teacher. I was making $6.50 per hour 20 years ago working as a cashier at Revco Drugs. I was shocked that the beginning wage has only gone up by 1$ in 20 years. Needless to say, I thanked the manager for his time and I'll just keep my sub job. The benefits of subbing are I get my weekends and holidays off, and I don't have to drive in snow and ice because they call off school. Summers off aren't so bad either.

You need to try to look at the VA GS-5 Step 1 is at 13.41 that is not taking into account for Locality Pay %. North Carolina puts you at 15.77 an hour you can work yourself up to a GS-7 which takes you to 19.54 and supervisor tech GS-8 21.64

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Toni R. in Lafayette, Louisiana

8 months ago

Can someone please give me an honest opinion!? I am 31 years old and i have a 5yr old daughter. I am a certified dental assistant and just finished school for medical billing and coding. The problem i have in getting a job , is that everyone wants you to have experience. How can i get experience if i can never get my foot in the door? I recently saw that CVS is hiring for a pharmacy tech in training, meaning they will train you to be a tech and then you can take the exam. Would this be a good career choice for someone in my position? Will I be able to support myself and my child on that income?

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Hrachelle in Dallas, Texas

8 months ago

The short answer is no. You will not be able to do that. I think if you read through half of the comments in this forum, the takeaway would be this: as with ANY job/career, you start off at an entry level pace. It really irritates me that people set an expectation that they should just be able to walk into any job and poof! They are making it rain. An education does not equal top pay. Do t come into this field looking for a quick buck. Your wasting everyone's time. If you ARE looking for experience and willing to make some sacrifices, then great- work hard, keep your had down and learn everything you can along the way. Put in the effort and it will pay off. It will be the start to a new career. I, myself have followed this advice and as a pharmacy tech, I make over 50,000 a year so I wouldn't be asking you to do something I am not willing to do myself. I worked hard and keeps moving up the latter. Thought outside the box and found work as a technician in other areas outside of retail pharmacy.

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Tom King, RPh of QuickTestPrep.com in Dallas, Texas

7 months ago

The PTCB certification is more well known, but seeing how you can use the Illinois state recognized ExCPT to gain state license status, you can do either one. I guarantee you, nobody is going to not hire someone just because that person got his/her CPhT from the ExCPT instead of the PTCB. What they WILL be looking at is experience. So, do get a volunteer job as a clerk or stocker (not pharmacy technician student as Illinois doesn't allow that without passing either the ExCPT or PTCB exam first) in a non-profit pharmacy and get some experience. Also, you might want to consider working as a paid employee in a department other than pharmacy in a drug store such as Walgreens or CVS. After getting some experience under your belt, ask to transfer to the pharmacy department. Walgreens will even pay for the cost of your exam when you pass it.

Reference, State Board of Pharmacy in Illinois:
www.idfpr.com/Renewals/apply/forms/PH-T.pdf

Elizabeth in Bloomington, Illinois said: I'm curious as to which pharmacies will hire you if you only have a ExCPT over a PTCB. Both give you the same title of C.PhT but I hear the PTCB is highly regarded. I can only take the ExCPT, but if Walgreens, CVS , Kmart or other retailers won't hire because I wouldn't have a PTCB than I don't think I'm going to waste any time on pursuing this field. Does anyone know for sure which pharmacies in IL (seeing as IL does credit ExCPT) will hire someone like me?

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seattle_ice in Lake Stevens, Washington

7 months ago

brown_dude34 in Roslindale, Massachusetts said: 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 ?

Starting salaries:

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

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

In the area where we live, no techs I know of are making that low amount of money. The typical starting wage for ZERO experience is around $11/ hr, going to $14 or so after being certified as a B tech, with a ceiling of around $18-19/hr. for most of the retail type jobs for A techs.

This may not make you rich, but it certainly not a terrible, poverty inducing pay scale, especially when you consider that it takes no schooling to start. The hours are not great, but that is pretty typical for many retail environments.

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Taliyah

7 months ago

Abro22 in Indianapolis, Indiana said: So much negativity on this forum; it's ridiculous. I've been licensed as a technician for a year and work at Wal-Mart pharmacy making $12.55 per hour. You start out making around $9 and then get a hefty raise once you're licensed. For those of you saying take a class to get licensed/certified, please stop recommending that. I've never a) known a tech who took a course who actually knows what they're doing when they're hired or b) a pharmacist who wants to hire a tech who took a course. It's a waste of your time/money, you learn a lot more on the job, AND you learn how the pharmacist you're working for wants you to do things.

To add to that, I just got my certification and am now switching to a hospital tech job. It's a good (though stressful) job that pays well and you can get in at a hospital if you're fairly intelligent and a good worker. If you can't handle using your brain on a daily basis or standing up (God forbid), this is not for you.

I completely agree with you on the not taking the course because I am in the course and don't know what he is talking about. He says once you get in the pharmacy, it will all make sense. Keep your options outside of just retail store pharmacies. Most will hire you in as a trainee, but sometimes the store gets too many trainee and they don't get their certification within a year and loose their job, so when someone else comes in wanting to be a trainee, they'd rather have a certified because that person may be another lose for the company. So take those online practice tests and go take that board girl. That's what I am doing. I finish the class in November. I want to at least take my board by the end of December and have a good job.

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ez44070 in Cleveland, Ohio

6 months ago

This is exactly how it is working as a pharmacy technician. You put it best-very detailed and accurate information! I've been certified since '02. I've had steady employment in retail, mental health, and in medical office settings. I'm grateful that I've had steady employment throughout the years as a tech, but the pay really isn't satisfying. I've reached the point of burn out, and I'm currently looking for other career opportunities. The best part of the day was helping patients feel better, and feeling appreciated. Technicians deserve to be paid well because they keep the pharmacy running like a well oiled machine. Pharmacists have a huge responsibility, but we're all accountable for what happens while performing our jobs. So, If you're one of the fortunate ones that has a pharmacy manager that really knows the meaning of "Team Work" then your job as a technician might not be a bad thing.

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Annie in Portland, Oregon

6 months ago

I went to a 12 week course at a local college 10/2012 (No one told you to listen to the hype schools and pay 20000$ for 9 months training when its not even required). Took the National Test and passed. Became licensed in Oregon 1/2013.
Got my first job as a CPhT working in a long term mail order pharmacy. I didn't make much, $12.50/hr to start. I bubble packed all day, it was actually a fun job. I worked their for 6 months before applying at Legacy Health System. I applied for a position in Medical reconciliation in the internal medicine clinic. I got that job. Started at $17.00/hr. I work on the doctors side, processing all the refill requests, meeting with pts, doing Prior Auth's for insurance, doing med review in Epic, taking patient phone calls, etc. And guess what? I had no extra training, etc. just the 12 week course and 6 mo of experience. I have since gotten several other job offers from different companies to work for them doing similar work.

Life is about personal decisions, please do not slam a whole career because of your bad experience and/or poor choices! :)

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ME in Sumter, South Carolina

5 months ago

I've been in the pharmacy a little over 11 years. Got certified through CVS, while I got my bachelors. I've worked in multiple settings as a technician and while there is some truth to the negative statements I can tell you this: 1)Pharmacy technicians are employed in various settings and depending on that setting you can make decent to good money (for example I have friends that work for insurance companies making 35-40k annually, adjunct instructors for PhT programs that make 26-28 an hour, and some of us even make more than that.); 2) The whole idea of doing grunt work or slave work is a stretch, yes the pharmacist is the boss, however we definitely are just as vital if not more so than the RPh. A pharmacy will sink without good technicians I promise you.

Lastly, You can assume you will get hired, assume you will work for the required amount of time to get into their certification programs but it's not guaranteed. And you can assume you will be adequately trained. The thing about getting certified through a CVS or a Walgreen's is that their training if focused on their company, their computer systems. There is the lack of focus on hospital or LTC side and because of that you may not be adequately prepared for other settings such as hospital.

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littleagape2000 in Cleveland, Ohio

5 months ago

Hello, Everyone!

I'd like to say, from my experience, being a pharmacy technician is worth it only knowing that I make an impact on patient's lives, and I enjoy interacting with patients-many I grew to love, others, Well just not the case! However, Let me just say this, I'm a Certified Pharmacy Technician with PTCB since 2002. I have over 16 years experience in retail, closed door, long-term care and mental health settings. My previous position was a Lead Technician making $15.56 per hour in a mental health facility in Ohio- Stressful to the 10th Power! I was burned out within a years time. I applied for a position for a pharmacy technician position with a well known and big retail pharmacy chain in Cleveland, Ohio. I was excited that I aced the interview and an offer was extended to me for Part-Time at 8.50 per hour and this was December 2015. How insulting is that! The Bureau of Labor and Statistics recorded a median salary in 2012 was $14.10, and to be offered a position with this company at that salary-Insulting! I'm not sure if that is the going rate in Ohio, but if it is, it's ridiculous! I've been told that Hospital Technicians make more, but it's not the easiest thing getting into hospitals. Yet, You have a better chance getting in the hospital by having a College Degree, knowing someone who works in the hospital (who is in good standing help you get a position), having an eye-catching resume, and faith, prayer, and luck!
Truth is, technicians do a majority of the day-to-day tasks such as data entry, cashiering , filling meds, inventory, cleaning, insurance billing, answering phone calls -not requiring the pharmacists attention, dealing with irate patients, medical personnel, and insurance companies, and running back and forth from the pharmacy counters to the Drive Thru Window under tight deadlines. So, if you're up for a challenge and enjoy helping people, it's worth it! If you're looking for a great-pay check-Retail Setting-Not! Good Luck!

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CPhT2001

5 months ago

You can't get your certification and sit back and expect the jobs to come to you. I have been a pharmacy techincian since 1999 and certified since 2001. I have taken every opportunity to learn another avenue of pharmacy (i.e. Long term care, retail, hospital etc.) as they became available. It meant changing jobs but my resume is now full of experience in multiple areas of pharmacy. I am just a few cents shy of 20 dollars and hour with wonderful benefits and plenty of overtime if I want it. It took me several years of applying to my current job to get interviewed and hired but I already have made over 51,000.00 this year. It is all up to you, what you make of your own career.

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littleagape2000 in Cleveland, Ohio

5 months ago

CPhT2001 said: You can't get your certification and sit back and expect the jobs to come to you. I have been a pharmacy techincian since 1999 and certified since 2001. I have taken every opportunity to learn another avenue of pharmacy (i.e. Long term care, retail, hospital etc.) as they became available. It meant changing jobs but my resume is now full of experience in multiple areas of pharmacy. I am just a few cents shy of 20 dollars and hourwith wonderful benefits and plenty of overtime if I want it. It took me several years of applying to my current job to get interviewed and hired but I already have made over 51,000.00 this year. It is all up to you, what you make of your own career.

Ok, Congrats to you, That's nice to know! I've learned about other areas of pharmacy as well. I'm a very motivated individual, and I've never been the type of person to just sit back and let jobs come to me, which is why I have applied and worked various jobs throughout my career. I have and continuously apply for positions in other areas of pharmacy. However, There are a number of determining factors involved with the hiring process that I'm sure you're aware of such as experience, credit history, and education- just to name a few, that can cause individuals to lose out on job opportunities. So, since you've made over $51,000 this year, I'd like to know which area of pharmacy, and state are you working in?

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Ginger in Beckley, West Virginia

5 months ago

several people have said don't take a class, and that experience will get you farther. But, there is a course at the local vocation school, 20 sessions for $700 plus you get 100 internship hours. I think the 100 hour internship could be worth taking the course.
I would love to hear anyone's opinion. is it worth taking for the internship? thanks

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littleagape2000 in Cleveland, Ohio

5 months ago

Toni R. in Lafayette, Louisiana said: Can someone please give me an honest opinion!? I am 31 years old and i have a 5yr old daughter. I am a certified dental assistant and just finished school for medical billing and coding. The problem i have in getting a job , is that everyone wants you to have experience. How can i get experience if i can never get my foot in the door? I recently saw that CVS is hiring for a pharmacy tech in training, meaning they will train you to be a tech and then you can take the exam. Would this be a good career choice for someone in my position? Will I be able to support myself and my child on that income?

Hi, Toni!

I was a dental assistant years ago in private practice but I didn't get my certification, a big regret! I asked my dentist if he'd allow me to work for him, and he accepted so I worked several years full time and I worked as a Pharmacy Tech part-time which helped me get that job. I eventually became a full time tech for Walgreens (Ohio) and after 7 years with them as Sr. Tech, I left making 10.85 per hour back in 2005 mind you, they started me at 8.35 per hour. This is my experience, let me say this, because you have people on this forum that really need to keep their comments to themselves. Anyway, retail pharmacies don't pay well. Hospital Techs make more, some so much as $20+ per hour. I've never worked in hospital settings, but I continue to apply and with over 15 years experience as a tech it's hard getting in. There are other areas that you can go into as a tech such as working as an RX Coordinator in medical offices, mail order and working for insurance companies. If your finances and flexibility allow, see about volunteering. Making a living as a retail tech with a child is tough. I have a 7 year old so I definitely understand your concerns. In retail, you usually work swing shifts, and it's stressful! By the way, CVS offered me 8.50 an hour Dec. 2015, so research and keep applying. Know your worth!

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Tony in Albany, California

5 months ago

Grain of salt of course this is from CA with a high cost of living in almost every major city.

I'm a hospital tech at two large healthcare systems. Both non-profit HMO's.

At one hospital I work in the Oncology pharmacy. It pays $30.33 an hour and its straight IV prep of chemo's in a Safety Cabinet. They use Phaseal.

At another hospital I'm with inpatient. Mostly PYXIS stuff, a little bit of IV and chemo (Equashield). It pays 30.88 an hour plus excellent shift differentials. Nights is 33.56, weekends 36.06, graveyard is another 5% on top of that.

I got hired right out of tech school. Keep searching peoples.

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rxtech04

4 months ago

Honestly you either like the field or not. I've been in retail pharmacy for 11 years & I love it. I make $19/hr with OT every week. I have tried hospital & haTed it, if your a people person stick with retail. . Yes it is a stressful field, but at the end of the day if you appreciate your job, it's so worth it!! We are helping people even if it's just that small extra step.. I will soon be pursuing my PharmD and will be sticking with retail and yes the insane amount of school loans will be worth it... it's an under appreciated field but you will have the Few that appreciate you at the end of the day, and isn't there satisfaction anymore in knowing of a job well done...

Everyone complains about the pharmacy technician job, if you don't like what you do change it or look at it through a new light and change your view. What gives pharmacy technicans such a bad name is these whiny techs that paint it bad... it's a stressful field, but what job isn't on some days? Think about when you go to the pharmacy, are you happy, feeling well, do you want to be there? Of coarse not!! Treat your customers like you would your family.. they dont feel good 9/10 they are sick & just want to feel better..

Also you work hard for/with your RPH and they will work with you as a team!!

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sgarret3 in Detroit, Michigan

4 months ago

I'm a Pharmacy Tech in Michigan and I make $15 plus weekdays and weekends I make $16 plus. I love it. I started off at Rite Aid making $7.50. I worked temp and part time and now I'm full time at a location major hospital. Benefits, 401ks, and CTO. If you like pharmacy, do it because you like it. Not for just the money. Because honestly, there is no money in retail, only in hospital. And you can't come to hospital unless you are skilled in retail with a few year experience to back it up. I been a tech since 2008. I'm trying to move to Georgia with my experience. Good luck and dont let our opinions, good or bad, influence what you want to do.

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Barb24 in Wheaton, Illinois

4 months ago

If you have no medical/pharmacy background I'd recommend Career Step because in addition to being fully prepared to pass the PTCB exam, they have externship partnerships with Walgreens and CVS, so by the time you pass the exam, you can already have your foot in the door. It takes about 3 months to complete the course:

referral.careerstep.com/ref36530

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nubianviolet in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

4 months ago

Abby Normal in Jackson, Tennessee said: 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.

Had a co-worker who failed the national 3 times... still don't understand how.

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nubianviolet in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

4 months ago

That is practically the same thing I did. i had worked in a pharmacy for a year while I was in under grad studying sports medicine minor in bio and chem. I locked myself in a library for a month on one of my breaks took the exam and passed on the first try. I wasn't trying to go to school for that was already paying for school.I will tell everybody who is thinking of going to school it is not worth it. Just go get the book and study it for it and take the exam. You will thank me for this advice and the money you will save. Then if you get in the field and don't like what you are doing, you can switch and try a different field or go to schooling for something worth going to school for.

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Sandracna in Miami, Florida

4 months ago

nubianviolet in West Roxbury, Massachusetts said: That is practically the same thing I did. i had worked in a pharmacy for a year while I was in under grad studying sports medicine minor in bio and chem. I locked myself in a library for a month on one of my breaks took the exam and passed on the first try. I wasn't trying to go to school for that was already paying for school.I will tell everybody who is thinking of going to school it is not worth it. Just go get the book and study it for it and take the exam. You will thank me for this advice and the money you will save. Then if you get in the field and don't like what you are doing, you can switch and try a different field or go to schooling for something worth going to school for.

Thank-you so much for your advise! As I am interested in becoming a pharmacy tech, can you please tell me which book you used to study ? Although I'm not sure if it varies by state. Thanks!

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Pharmguy_83 in Richardson, Texas

4 months ago

First of all I will start off by saying to all the negative comments about being a Pharmacy Technician......... Please find other employment. I have been a CphT for about six years now and I love what I do. I am currently an IV specialist and part time Pharmacy Tech instructor at a local community college and have been for the past 3 years. I enjoy helping others along the way in the career path as a Pharmacy Technician. I strongly do encourage going to school to be a Pharmacy Technician, can you do it without going to school? Yes, but take it from me I have worked with Technicians on both ends of that spectrum and it is much easier with the technician that went through a program. My only advice when going to school is do your research and don't spend more money than necessary. I do what I do because I have genuine care for others in my field and our patients. I have held many titles in the medical field and if your doing for the money, then your wrong because my entire family is medical from nursing, pharmacy, phleb, lab supervisors, Radiology Program Directors, Doctors etc and you will always feel over worked and under paid. Lastly, always do what is best for you and your family with the mindset of improving life for all. God bless you all.

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person in Ridgewood, New Jersey

3 months ago

I began my pharmacy tech "career" at a brand new Walgreens in early November. I worked there for about 2 weeks and it was dead slow because they were brand new so they transferred me to another location nearby to learn things quicker. I was only supposed to be there for a little while but ended up just staying there. I had anywhere from 20-25 hours a week and then suddenly my hours were cut down to about 12 a week. I asked my pharmacy manager why and she said the pharmacy got cut 20 hours.... There are 3 other techs there, and more than half of the cut hours got taken from just me alone.
I then went into my original store for something and saw a sign on their door saying "hiring full and part time pharmacy techs". I asked about the FT position, the store manager talked with my pharmacy manager at the store I'm currently at, and from the way they were wording things I could tell they were trying to offer me hours for both locations to equal FT hours, but not FT status. Meaning no benefits or anything. Which annoyed the hell out of me, why advertise a FT position if you're gonna try to weasel out of it when someone shows interest?
I was willing to accept the extra hours at the original location, when I called their pharmacy manager today to talk about it and he told me they already hired another person. I am livid.
They hired me, played hot potato and passed me to another location, and then when they needed help didn't even bother to contact me. And when I was interested in coming back they "hired someone else".

I just took my PTCB exam last week and passed it. I want so badly to get out of Walgreens because OBVIOUSLY they don't give a flying sh*t about their employees. I'll have to call other locations to hunt for hours every damn week, which is BS, until I can find a better company to work for. If anyone has suggestions of good companies to work for, please help!

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JoJo H in Houston, Texas

3 months ago

Let this long, whining, poor me thread be a lesson to you kids out there... go to college.

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