Getting into the healthcare industry doesn’t always require a master’s degree and advanced medical training. You don’t have to spend a good portion of your life on a doctorate and learning the advanced processes of white blood cells to benefit from rewards, challenges, and opportunities that the healthcare industry has to offer. There are fast-track programs available that can get you certified and working in just one to two years. You won’t become a microbiologist or surgeon, though.
Pharmacy techs are a necessary component of a healthy, functioning pharmacy. Without them, the pharmacist couldn’t possibly keep up with the demands of a regular pharmacy by himself. You’ll assist the pharmacist with filing and organizing paperwork, printing labels and orders, organizing and labeling/filling medications, and much more.
If this sounds like a good career path for you, read on to learn about fast-track programs and pharmacy technician training.
Many pharmacy technician programs are aimed at getting you into the field as quickly as possible. Some fast-track programs can even get you certified in just ten months, allowing you to take the CPhT exam and start working as a certified pharmacy technician. This certification is just one of two options, however.
In lieu of a certification, you can take one further step, and instead acquire an associate’s degree. Most people opt for the certification for its expediency, but sometimes, a degree is preferred by certain employers. In most cases, though, certification should be enough to land you an entry-level position as a pharmacy technician.
Fast-track learning doesn’t mean the courses skip anything important, or that the quality of the education itself is lacking. It simply means that coursework is specifically formulated to get you through the program quickly, so you can spend less time in class and more time making a living. This is the perfect option for people right out of high school looking to get into the workforce quickly, or people that need a career change that won’t take four or five years to accomplish.
One of the most alluring components of fast-track programs is their affordability. It’s no secret that the cost of post-secondary education and universities has skyrocketed just in the last two decades. In fact, just in the last ten years, the cost has risen almost 25%. It’s nearly impossible for wages to keep up with these increasing costs, which leaves more and more students stuck taking out expensive loans, living with their parents through college, or simply not finishing their degrees at all due to costs.
This unfortunate truth is mitigated by fast-track programs. As you can imagine, a 10-month program is going to be far more affordable than a 2-year or 4-year degree. While it’s true that fast-track programs are usually focused on entry-level positions, think of that as your starting point. You’ll complete a fast-track program, enter the industry, and learn all there is to know about it. From there, you can decide if you want to seek further education. In this case, seeking to become a pharmacist.
Many fast-track programs offer the flexibility to complete the coursework entirely online or through a hybrid model. In the case of online pharmacy technician training, you’ll be required to complete a number of hours of in-person clinical training. Otherwise, your coursework is entirely online! This is great for working parents, introverts, or anyone who doesn’t want to risk COVID-19 transmission.
The more flexible a program is, the more likely you are to complete it. Standard college coursework has a 56% dropout rate. 30% of students drop out after the first year. Those aren’t exactly promising statistics, and while there are many factors that contribute to those numbers, the demanding coursework and strict schedules are partially to blame. Oh, and the enormous cost of education.
Pharmacy technicians are actually in demand at the moment, with the BLS predicting a rise of about 4%, or around 15,000 jobs added within ten years. There are already over 400,000 of these jobs available today. This means that there are more opportunities for recent graduates to actually find the work they’re looking for. It’s difficult enough as it is, and some niches are actually on a decline. Luckily, pharmacy tech isn’t one of those niches.
The wages that pharmacy technicians command depends largely on what area of the country they’re in. For example, a pharmacy tech on the west coast in states like California, Washington, and Oregon, will make more than one in Maine or Ohio. On average, pharmacy techs make anywhere from $13-$16 per hour, which equates to somewhere around $31,000-$34,000 per year.
If you’re looking for a fast-track into healthcare, becoming a pharmacy tech is the way to do it. These training programs are both affordable and quick, with some taking as few as ten months to complete. You’ll get a decent wage fresh out of your training program, and you can decide from there if you want to go on to become a pharmacist or try something else entirely. You never know until you try!