Pharmacy Technician Career Advancement

Pharmacy technicians have a career working closely with pharmacists to fill prescriptions provided by doctors. After working as a pharmacy technician, some will wish to pursue other careers related closely to administering or regulating medications. Some options are provided below.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians

A position as a pharmacy technician is a great way to be introduced to the medical field. Requiring a high school diploma, pharmacy technicians receive information regarding patients' prescriptions and then fill and label the containers. After spending time in this position, many pharmacy technicians will want to advance their career prospects in the medical field. Some opportunities are presented below.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education, Licensure, Certification
Pharmacist $124,170 6% Doctoral degree, license
Nuclear Medicine Technologist $75,660 10% Associate's degree, license
Medical Laboratory Technician $51,770 (medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians) 13% (medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians) Associate's degree
Regulatory Affairs Specialist $64,492 (2018)** 8% (compliance officers) Bachelor's degree

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale

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Career Information

Pharmacist

One option for pharmacy technicians interested in advancing their career would be to study to become a pharmacist. Pharmacists provide prescriptions to patients under the care of a medical doctor. They check to ensure the medications that a patient is taking are safe, considering other medications and health conditions of the patient. They may work with the patient's insurance company to be sure that their prescription medications are covered under the insurance plan. Pharmacists may work in retail stores, hospitals, or in drug development companies. To become a pharmacist, a candidate must first complete a bachelor's degree. Undergraduate coursework in the sciences is required. They must then complete a Doctor of Pharmacy, or Pharm.D., degree which includes internships. When the course of study is completed, graduates must take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam to qualify for licensure from their state.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Pharmacy technicians have experience preparing and delivering medications to clients. A specialization as a nuclear medicine technologist may enable them to enhance this skill. Nuclear medicine technologists prepare radiopharmaceuticals under specific conditions and administer them to patients. They then operate scanning equipment to provide images of organs and tissue that are then viewed by physicians. It is imperative that appropriate safety standards for administration and disposal are followed to preserve the health of the client and the technician. Nuclear medicine technicians must keep medical records of the procedures in which they are involved. To become a nuclear medicine technologist, the candidate must gradate from an accredited associate's degree program in nuclear medical technology and achieve state licensure. Certification is recommended.

Medical Laboratory Technician

Pharmacy technicians who are interested in work central to diagnosing illness may wish to consider becoming a medical laboratory technician. These professionals use equipment in laboratories to study samples collected from patients, such as blood samples. They enter the results obtained into the patient's medical records. Medical laboratory technicians may consult with physicians regarding the results to ensure proper diagnosis for the patient. To become a medical laboratory technician, one must complete an associate's degree program in clinical laboratory science. Some states may require licensure.

Regulatory Affairs Specialist

Pharmacy technicians may have become familiar with regulations regarding the administration of prescription medications. Those who wish to learn more about these regulations may consider a career as a regulatory affairs specialist. Professionals who specialize in regulatory affairs must be highly familiar with laws concerning government approval for new medications or other medical products. Familiarity with advertising restrictions for medical products is also required. They must then ensure that their company is compliant with federal regulations, and advise others in their company regarding those regulations. Regulatory affairs specialists are responsible for any documentation regarding compliance with these laws. Entry-level regulatory affairs specialists typically hold a bachelor's degree, with undergraduate coursework in the sciences and in business.

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