During recent years many community colleges and universities have begun offering degree programs in pharmacy technician. These include Associates in Science Pharmacy Technician (AS PhT) and Bachelors in Science Pharmacy Technician (BS PhT) degrees. There are also many accredited and unaccredited private schools offering diploma programs in pharmacy technician. However, although these educational programs seem to be popping up in cities all over the United States, there is no mandated educational requirement for becoming a certified pharmacy technician. This may have you asking yourself, “Do I really need to go to school to prepare to take the PTCB exam?”
To answer this, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
· Do I learn well on my own?
· Do I have the motivation to prepare for the exam on my own?
· Do I have the self-assessment skills needed to know when I am ready for the exam?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you may be able to prepare to take the PTCB exam without devoting your time and finances to formal education.
We have a list of the best books to study for the PTCB Exam.
Advantages of Formal Education for the Pharmacy Technician
You may think that it is a good idea to skip school, take the PTCB exam, and go right on to a job as a certified pharmacy technician. This fast-track approach does have a few appealing aspects, but there are a few things to consider before passing up on getting a degree.
First, pharmacy technicians who do earn a diploma, associates, or bachelor degree make more money than technicians with no formal education. Pharmacy technicians with formal education, even if it is only a certificate program are preferred by employers.The starting pay for a pharmacy technician with an educational background can be anywhere from $2 – $6 dollars higher than an untrained technician. So while forgoing formal education may save you money and time now, it can be a costly mistake over the term of a career.
Secondly, there are many medical and pharmaceutical organizations that are pushing for educational requirements in order to become a pharmacy technician. Currently, there are 19 states that require pharmacy technicians to be certified. Over the next 5 years most states are expected to follow suite. This trend will be shortly followed by required education. It might serve you well down the road if you have already earned a degree in pharmacy technician.
Formal education gives you hands-on training:
Attending a formal education program in pharmacy technician also gives you hands-on training. Text books, websites, and practice tests cannot offer the same experience. Training programs expose the student to the equipment and tools that they will use on the job. Many programs also offer an internship portion. This gives the student valuable experience working as a pharmacy technician.
The final reason to seek formal education with a pharmacy technician degree is the possibility of career growth. Those with more education will be promoted before people with no degree. Even if you are the hardest working employee with a perfect record, you leave yourself vulnerable to being looked over for a promotion. It could mean the difference in getting your dream job, or remaining at the bottom of the ladder.
The choice of whether or not to attend school is a personal matter. Each person should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both before making a decision. You should also consider your long-term career goals, future financial expectations, and current situation. You should also look at current and expected trends in the pharmacy industry.