Are you interested in working in the pharmacy industry? If so, there are a few things you should know and a few things you will need to do in order to begin traveling this exciting career path. Of course, before you can be admitted to a traditional college or university, you must first complete your high school requirements and obtain your diploma. Similarly, if you have obtained your GED, you can then begin working towards pursuing your bachelor's degree. While working on your high school course requirements, you will want to successfully complete a significant number of science and math related classes. This will ensure that you are ready to enter college level courses that are needed for this degree program. Since not all colleges and universities offer this degree program, you will want to check with your college choice to see if it is offered and in what capacity.
Your bachelor's degree in pharmacy assisting will train you to correctly deliver medications to patients. This profession will require that you are consistently focused while at work to ensure that the proper medication in the proper amount is accurately doled out. For many individuals, obtaining their pharmacy degree is a stepping stone to them continuing their education to become a pharmacist. It is important to understand that your degree will not result in you being given the title of pharmacist; this will require you to obtain a doctorate degree. As you begin working on your bachelor's degree you will likely be pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Keep in mind, this degree program is not just intended for people who want to become a pharmacist.
It is also a good educational plan for individuals who want to work in pharmaceutical related careers in the healthcare industry or in the drug industries. In your course work you will be completing intensive science courses that are designed to teach you about how to research, test, and manufacture pharmaceuticals. Some of the specific classes that you may be required to complete are: introduction to pharmacology, organic chemistry, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, and microbiology. Depending upon the four year college or university that you decide to attend, you may have the opportunity to complete a practicum or an internship just prior to graduation. This is typically a good experience for students and it allows them the chance to practice what they have been learning in the classroom.
Keep in mind, while completing this internship you will be consistently supervised, which allows you to learn the tools of the trade in a real world setting while not being solely responsible for all of the responsibilities that come with the job. In addition, your successful completion of this practicum or internship semester will look great to potential employers since it will demonstrate your capabilities in a real world job setting.
Once you have completed your degree in pharmacy you will be eligible to seek employment in the areas of drug marketing, pharmaceutical sales, drug product testing, or pharmaceutical research.
As a pharmacy technician you’ll work deal directly with customers and need good people skills. During your Bachelor’s degree you’ll take communication courses as well as other courses to help you handle people. Some additional traits you’ll need include:
Customer Service – When a customer has to fill a prescription or has an issue with an insurance bill you’ll be the first one they talk to. Even if the issue isn’t your fault you need good customer service skills in order to help solve any issues your customers are having.
Communication Skills – A good percentage of the time you’ll be dealing with pharmacists as well as insurance companies. It is important that you have good communication skills including listening skills.
Fast –Pharmacy technicians work in a fast paced industry. Often you are working in drug retail store where customers don’t have a lot of time and are actually shopping for other things. You’ll also need to be able to solve problems quickly that come up. Often insurance companies have issues with payments or sometimes the patient isn’t covered. As a pharmacy technician you can help them find alternative drugs to use with the help of the doctor or pharmacist on-call.
Ethical – Due to health laws it is more important than ever to keep the privacy of the clients you work with private. HIPPA laws are in place to help protect that data but because you have access to it is important that you follow the rules set-up to keep that information safe.
Going to school can be hard, especially those who work full-time. If you are looking for a good school to earn your Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy Assisting then we recommend an online school. Not only can you learn at your own pace but it will allow you the flexibility to continue to hold down a job at the same time. Some of the areas you should also research for any school you are considering include:
Accreditation – Find a school that is either nationally or regionally accredited. The only real difference is if you ever decide to transfer to another college then a regionally accredited school will be easier as not too many schools accept credits from nationally accredited schools.
Self-Paced – As mentioned the advantage of self-paced online is it allows you to work during your training but also you can finish up quicker which is a big advantage.
Jobs in Your Area – Before starting any program do a quick job search to find out what jobs are in your area. One thing you want to avoid is very few opportunities once you graduate.
Career Services –Like with any school they are really only as good as the students they graduate and place in job. They should have a dedicated department to help with your resume writing and even personal appearance, interview questions and of course job leads.
Flexible Schedule – Does the school offer flexible schedules with day, afternoon, evening and even weekend classes? This is important if you are working or have other duties that only allow you to attend a campus during a particular time. If you take an online program that won’t be an issue.
Support – Find out what type of customer/student support the school you would like to attend has for their students. Your instructors should all be highly qualified to teach the program as well has have years of hand-on experience in the field. Also find out if the school offers other student mentors that are available during your program. These student mentors usually act as assistant teachers and themselves are in school usually in a higher degree level than a Bachelor’s degree.
Technology – Does the school provide you with the most updated technology? Are their computer labs equipped with the latest pharmacy assisting software? Are the labs that they teach clean with good equipment? Before enrolling these are things not only you can ask but do yourself a favor and take a campus tour before enrolling to get a better idea if the school would be a good fit.
Pharmacy Assistant Salary
The healthcare industry in the US is massive and employs millions of people. Pharmacy assistants represent over 80,000 jobs this year alone. The median salary is $38,750 and the industry is expected to grow by 9-12%.