8 Benefits of Becoming a Pharmacy Technician or Assistant
Although there are some important differences between pharmacy techs and assistants, these two roles often share a lot of the same benefits. In fact, by completing a pharmacy tech or pharmacy assistant course of study, you'll have the chance to attain a lot more than a satisfying sense of accomplishment. So discover eight of the rewarding advantages that people like you often experience by choosing to pursue these vocations:
1. Short Programs
A pharmacy assistant or technician career may be closer than you think. One of the excellent benefits of this career field is the short training options that can help you gain entry to the workforce quickly. A pharmacy assistant diploma can be earned in as little as 20 weeks. And you could earn a pharmacy technician diploma in only 40 weeks. Many programs also include internships so you are able to attain the hands-on pharmacy skills that appeal to employers before you even graduate.
2. Good Earning Potential
Once you enter the workforce and gain experience, you have the potential to earn a good living. In 2012-2013, a pharmacy technician's salary in Canada ranged from $26,000 to $62,400, or $12.50 to $30.00 per hour. Pharmacy tech wages vary by province, and below you can find the hourly wage range for the provinces in which the information is available:*
- Alberta—$29.80 to $50.69
- British Columbia—$15.38 to $35.37
- Ontario—$12.50 to $35.00
- Quebec—$12.00 to $27.02
- Saskatchewan—$14.00 to $28.20
3. Positive Job Outlook
The demand for prescription drugs is becoming stronger as the population ages and disease rates multiply. And as the demand for prescription services expands, it is expected that more responsibilities will be passed to pharmacy assistants and technicians, thereby increasing the need for their services.
In addition to increased demand, the retirement rates are rising within the pharmacy assistant and technician professions. More positions may become available as a growing number of workers reach retirement age. This can increase access to pharmacy jobs for those new to the field.
In the 2014 to 2016 timeframe, moderate job growth is expected for pharmacy assistants and technicians across Canada. However, British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec are expected to experience a stronger job outlook than the remainder of the Canadian provinces.*
4. Growth Opportunities
Once you have built up your career within a pharmacy, you may have an opportunity to move into a position with more responsibility and increased pay. You could become a specialist in a specific area, such as inventory, or you could achieve a position as a team leader or technician supervisor. Depending on the size and nature of the pharmacy where you work, there can be many exciting possibilities for advancement.
5. Stability Due to a Nearly Recession-Proof Career Field
Many career fields can be affected by the strength of the economy. When times are tough, people tend to cut back. However, prescription medication is largely removed from this factor because people require them regardless of economic conditions. Pharmacy assistant and technician positions tend to hold steady during times of recession because their services remain in demand.
6. Job Satisfaction From Helping Others
Pharmacy technicians and assistants have an added benefit of enjoying the satisfaction that comes from helping others in need. You can contribute to providing people with their medications in a timely manner, ensuring that their prescriptions are filled correctly, properly billing their insurance, explaining their medications, and offering an opportunity to speak with the pharmacist to have their questions answered. Your attention and care can directly impact the safety and well-being of the pharmacy's customers.
7. Flexible Work Schedule
Many retail pharmacies have extended hours, and shifts can begin early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Plus, shifts at hospital pharmacies are often available around the clock. Depending on your workplace, you may be able to have flexibility in your scheduling so that your shifts can work around your other commitments, providing you with a greater work-life balance.
8. Professional Work Environment
Pharmacies are usually pleasant places to work. They operate in a professional and friendly manner to serve customers who may not be feeling at their best. Pharmacies are also kept clean and well organized to ensure that medications are filled efficiently and without contamination. As a pharmacy tech or assistant, you can take pride in contributing to such a positive work environment.
What Is the Difference Between a Pharmacy Assistant and Pharmacy Tech?
Pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians share many of the same job responsibilities. However, due to the complex nature of filling prescriptions, pharmacy technicians may have to meet registration and licensing requirements that are not necessary for pharmacy assistants.
Many provinces are regulating technicians as they take on more responsibilities that used to belong to pharmacists. Due to the additional education, licensing, and workforce liabilities that techs can face, a pharmacy technician salary is usually higher than a pharmacy assistant salary.
However, these additional requirements have created more demand for pharmacy assistants. As technicians take on a greater role, it has increased the need for assistants who offer support with the day-to-day operations of the pharmacy.
It is important to consider the differences between these two positions to confirm that you are choosing a program that supports your career goals. And prior to completing a pharmacy technician course of study, you may want to check on licensing requirements in your province. You can look up the regulatory body for the province in which you'll be working to ensure you can achieve the required standards.
Prepare to Uncover the Possibilities
Ready to take the leap and achieve a successful health career? It is simple to get started today. Explore the schools listed above to find the pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician course of study that can help you reach your goals. Or find the school nearest you by entering your postal code below!
* Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last visited on August 24, 2015.