Tony Guerra, PharmD
Tony Guerra, PharmD
Tony Guerra, PharmD, is chair, instructor, and pre-pharmacy advisor at Des Moines Area Community College's Pharmacy Technician program and Pharmacy Podcast Network Co-Host. He's Tony_PharmD on Twitter and TonyPharmD on YouTube providing Top 200 drugs and pronunciation help to over 4,500 followers with over 1 million views. His two audiobooks Memorizing Pharmacology: A Relaxed Approach and How to Pronounce Drug Names: A Visual Approach to Preventing Medication Errors are Amazon bestsellers. He graduated from Iowa State University with a BA in English and the University of Maryland with his PharmD.

Where Do Pharmacy Technician Students Go After Graduation?

JUNE 27, 2016
The places where pharmacy technicians work outside of traditional retail and hospital settings might surprise you.
 
Some individuals mistake for-credit pharmacy technician programs as expensive test-prep courses that take too much time and money. In reality, they resemble undergraduate English programs for students who speak English.
 
Pharmacy technician students want to obtain a year of college credit while doing something that will result in a job. They cite self-sufficiency as one of the most important reasons for choosing a technical program. Often, students don’t want to burden their parents, or they might have little to no financial support from their families.
 
One-quarter of my pharmacy technician students go on to full-time work, half work part-time, and the rest stay in school, moving to another major without ever working in a pharmacy technician position.
 
For the latter group, the experience is extended preparation for future health majors that provides 34 college credits. With tuition costing less than $5000 for an entire year, and jobs that pay 5 to 6 times that, they often have little to no student debt, and they comfortably move between programs.
 
We can classify pharmacy technician job seekers as certified or not certified. Certified technicians have more choices and can typically land a job immediately after the interview. Employers often tell those starting their job search before certification that they can’t hire them until they hold the credential.
 
So, where do pharmacy technician students end up?
 
1. Retail Pharmacy
Technician graduates mostly work in independent or retail pharmacy. With flexible hours, they often work part-time as they continue their education. Most graduates work within 20 miles of our campus.

2. Health-System Pharmacy
A few students move into home infusion, long-term care, and hospital pharmacy. Although they aren’t required to do a retail or alternate experience, most earned these positions after an internship. With varied in-house opportunities, this has been an attractive alternative.

3. Health Profession Programs
Some of our graduates work their way through 1- or 2-year programs in respiratory therapy, radiologic technology, surgical technology, or veterinary technology. Many are first-generation students without footsteps to follow, so they make a move or 2 until they find their niche.

4. 4-Year College
One misconception about pharmacy technician programs is that they’re terminal degree programs. However, our graduates have moved onto bachelor degree programs in business, chemical engineering, education, health professions, kinesiology on the road to physical therapy school, nursing, and psychology.
 
5. Pharmacy School 
Some take a few years and finish their prerequisites quickly, while others take half a decade or more to move from student technician to student pharmacist. Regardless, they hold a common goal to empower themselves and pay as they go.
 
Most of our pharmacy technician students work in pharmacies for some period of time. However, the great majority leave the pharmacy technician ranks eventually. I believe newer opportunities for technicians in medication reconciliation, informatics, and other novel careers may keep them around longer.


SHARE THIS SHARE THIS
1
Pharmacy Times Strategic Alliance
 

Pharmacist Education
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs


Next-Generation Pharmacist® Awards


SIGN UP FOR THE PHARMACY TIMES NEWSLETTER
Personalize the information you receive by selecting targeted content and special offers.