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Pharmacy Technician: Breaking Down 10 Myths



For people looking to embark on a career in the medical field, pharmacy technician work can be a great option. After all, the demand for skilled professionals in this role is consistently on the rise. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technician employment is projected to surge five percent between 2021 and 2031. This is just as same as the average for all occupations. Moreover, many pharmacy techs report higher job satisfaction than other medical careers.

However, there are many misconceptions about the profession that have led people to be misinformed. There is even a fear of taking on the role. These myths have been perpetuated by society, making it difficult for potential job seekers to get accurate information.

That is why it’s important to break down some of the myths that exist about pharmacy technicians and their work. Here are ten of the most pervasive myths about pharmacy technicians and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Pharmacy Technicians Can Be Considered Pharmacists

This is by far the most common myth about pharmacy techs. It is important to note that pharmacy technicians are not pharmacists. They do not have the same qualifications as them. While pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with a variety of tasks, they are not responsible for dispensing medications or providing medical advice to patients.

Thus, students who have completed a pharmacy technician program should not assume that they can call themselves pharmacists. This can cause confusion among patients and even put the technician at legal risk.

If you want to become a pharmacist, you would need to complete an accredited pharmacy program. There are several available programs in the United States, with most taking around four years of study. You can choose to enroll in an online program or an on-campus one, depending on your career goals and lifestyle.

Myth 2: All Pharmacy Technicians Work in Drugstores

While it’s true that many pharmacy technicians work in drugstores, this is not the only place where they can be found. Pharmacy technicians are also employed in hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and even long-term care facilities.

In fact, many pharmacy techs report working in various locations. This can increase job satisfaction and provide more opportunities for growth. Each setting may need different skills and knowledge of the profession. It is recommended that pharmacy technicians stay abreast of the changing regulations and requirements in their field to remain up-to-date.

You can also specialize in a specific field of pharmacy. For example, you can focus on veterinary pharmacy or home health care. By doing so, you can increase your job prospects and gain valuable experience in the field.

Myth 3: The PTCB Exam Is Extremely Difficult

Many pharmacy technicians are intimidated by the thought of taking the PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam. The PTCB exam is the most widely accepted certification exam for pharmacy technicians in the United States. It is a necessary step to becoming nationally certified.

While it can be daunting, passing the PTCB exam is far from impossible. With adequate preparation, reliable resources, and dedication to studying, test takers can easily pass the exam. There are also various online courses and study resources available to help pharmacy technicians prepare for the exam.

Moreover, students can take a free PTCB practice test to familiarize themselves with the structure and content of the exam. The pharmacy technician practice test gives an accurate assessment of the student’s current knowledge. It can also highlight areas for improvement. This can help reduce anxiety and ensure that pharmacy technicians are well-prepared to take the certification exam.

Myth 4: Pharmacy Technicians Don’t Need to Know Medical Terminology

Knowing medical terminology is an essential part of being a pharmacy technician. Medical terms are used on prescriptions, and pharmacy techs must understand them to fill the patients’ prescriptions accurately.

Moreover, medical terminology is used when communicating with other healthcare professionals and patients. Pharmacy techs must understand the terms to answer questions and provide accurate information. Knowing medical terminology is essential for any pharmacy technician. It is usually tackled in pharmacy technician training programs.

For instance, students can learn about medical abbreviations, pharmacology terms, and drug names. This knowledge is critical for pharmacy technicians to understand prescriptions and provide the best care for their patients.

Myth 5: Pharmacy Technicians Are Not Well-Paid

Contrary to popular belief, pharmacy technicians actually make a good salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $36,740 in May 2021. The top ten percent earned more than $47,580, which is a good salary for any profession.

Besides, many pharmacy technicians receive extra benefits, such as health insurance and paid time off. Moreover, pharmacy technicians have the potential to earn more with experience and certifications. They may also qualify for promotions and higher pay grades. But this depends on their employer.

It is recommended that pharmacy technicians stay up-to-date with their field if they want to increase their income. They should also develop new skills to maximize their earning potential.

Myth 6: Pharmacy Technicians Have No Room for Advancement

While it may be true that pharmacy techs must remain in the same role for many years, there are still many opportunities for advancement. Many pharmacy technicians start as entry-level employees and eventually move up to higher positions, such as lead technicians or supervisors.

Additionally, pharmacy technicians can specialize in certain areas or take on managerial roles. Specializing in a certain area may need extra certifications or training, but it can be well worth the effort. Pharmacy technicians who specialize certaine areas may be able to find higher-paying jobs or become more knowledgeable in their field.

Myth 7: A Chemistry Degree Is Needed to Become a Pharmacy Technician

A chemistry degree is not necessary to become a pharmacy technician. But, basic knowledge of chemistry, pharmacology, and biology is required for the profession.

Moreover, pharmacy technicians must understand how drugs interact with each other and the body. This knowledge can be acquired through pharmacy technician training programs or by taking extra classes that focus in these subjects.

Also, pharmacy technicians must have knowledge of medical terminology and be able to work with computers. These skills can easily be learned in a pharmacy technician training program or through self-study.

Myth 8: Pharmacy Technicians Don’t Interact With Patients

Although pharmacy techs may not directly interact with patients, they still play an essential role in the healthcare process. Pharmacy technicians are often responsible for answering questions about prescriptions and providing other information.

Moreover, pharmacy technicians must be able to provide accurate information in a timely manner. This requires good communication skills, which can be gained through pharmacy technician training programs or on-the-job experience.

Also, pharmacy techs can help patients understand how to take their medications correctly and provide advice for any side effects or drug interactions.

Myth 9: Pharmacy Technicians Don’t Have to Worry About Safety

Although pharmacy techs may not be directly responsible for patient safety, they still need to take the necessary precautions. This includes following safety protocols, such as wearing gloves and masks when handling medications. Pharmacy techs should also be aware of any potential hazards or allergies that the patients may have.

Moreover, pharmacy techs should be mindful of the medications they are dispensing and make sure that they provide the correct dosage. They should also always double-check their work to ensure accuracy. They should also be aware of the expiration dates and take necessary precautions when dealing with expired medications.

Myth 10: Pharmacy Technicians Don’t Need Formal Training

Formal training is essential for pharmacy techs. In most states, pharmacy technicians are required to get a certification or complete a formal training program before they can practice in their field.

Moreover, pharmacy technicians need to understand the proper ways to dispense medications. They must be aware of any potential side effects or drug interactions.

Formal education provides the necessary knowledge and skills for pharmacy technicians to be successful in their roles. Formal training also prepares pharmacy technicians for any changes in the industry or new laws and regulations. Pharmacy technicians who take extra courses or certifications will be better prepared for challenges they may face in the workplace.

By taking formal training and continuing to learn new skills, pharmacy technicians can ensure they are up-to-date with industry standards and have the knowledge they need to be successful in their roles.

Wrapping Up

We hope this blog post has helped debunk some of the common myths surrounding pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the healthcare system. They provide accurate and timely information to patients and help them understand how to take their medications correctly.

Hopefully, students looking to become pharmacy technicians can be better informed about the profession and understand what it takes to be successful in this field. Also, by taking a free practice PTCB exam, students can better prepare themselves for the real test.

The path to becoming a pharmacy technician is not an easy one, but with dedication, right training, and formal education, it can be a fulfilling career.

We wish everyone the best of luck on their pharmacy technician journey!

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