Pharmacy Technician: What’s Next?

July 5, 2021 •

As a pharmacy technician, you know you’re an important part of patient care wherever you work. And statistically, most pharm techs work in retail pharmacies and drug stores, which account for 51% of all positions.

What’s the job outlook for pharmacy technicians? The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that pharmacy tech positions will increase by 4% into 2029. This is good news! The job demand will remain steady.

But your skills in patient care and data entry – and your knowledge of prescription drugs – can be useful in a variety of other fields, too.

Have you been playing with the idea of switching up your career without sacrificing your training? Do you love the benefits of being a pharm tech, but want to explore wider opportunities?

One of the following career paths might be perfect for you.

1. Hands-On Patient Care

If you enjoy working with customers and helping people in the retail space, you may want to transition to a more hands-on role, like medical assistant (MA) or emergency medical technician (EMT).

Medical Assistant

Depending on your role and department, a hospital job as an MA may be fulfilling for you. Rasmussen University discusses some of the benefits in an article by Anna Heinrich. Hospital workers, she says, make a visible difference in their patients’ lives, “whether you’re working at the bedside or behind the scenes”. Other benefits include having variety in your day, being part of a team, and interacting with all kinds of interesting people!

If you prefer a structured routine, the MA career may be for you.

What do MAs do? One common role is to “room” patients before their appointment with a primary care professional, take preliminary vitals, and confirm medications. They may also do administrative work and assist primary care professionals with in-office procedures and examinations.

Why might this be a good job for a pharmacy technician?

As a pharmacy tech, you’ve already completed schooling. MAs, however, aren’t usually required to be certified. If you’re looking at this path, you’ll be a step ahead of many applicants – and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations”.

EMT or Paramedic

If you like the heart-pounding unpredictability of providing emergency care, you may want to become an EMT or a paramedic. These professionals provide emergency care to patients in distress and transportation to the hospital. They must assess patients and pass all known information on to the hospital staff – and it must be done quickly and accurately.

Why might this be a good job for a pharmacy technician?

Emergency technician duties and pharmacy technician duties don’t often overlap, so your knowledge of medications may not frequently come in handy. However, certification in any medical field makes you an attractive choice when applying to these jobs.

2. Specialty Pharmacy

Specialty pharmacies provide specialty drugs not available through traditional pharmacies. This could be meds that treat rare illnesses, self-injectors, and expensive or high-risk medications that require monitoring.

In short, specialty pharmacies perform the same service as retail pharmacies, but with a specific class of medication and a specific high-needs group of patients. As a technician in a specialty pharmacy, you would prepare prescriptions, creams, and even IV solutions. You’d order drugs, navigate insurance plans, and often arrange medications to be couriered to the patient’s location.

Why might this be a good job for a pharmacy technician?

You already have experience in a pharmacy setting. You also know how to prepare and fill prescriptions. Your skills open the door to working as a specialty pharmacy technician. As prescription needs increase, more options via mail-order are becoming available for patients in need with limited funds. To maintain a safe environment for patients, experienced pharmacy technicians are needed. Check for licensing requirements in your state.

3. Behind-the-Scenes Positions

Working directly with patients and customers isn’t for everyone. Is a behind-the-scenes career in your future?

Research Technician

As a research technician, you would assist in the investigation and preparation of medications for clinical trials. Since working in drug studies as a research tech requires you to be licensed as a pharm tech, you’ll easily transition into this role. You would be responsible for documenting patient information, conducting inventory, and collecting data.

Why might this be a good job for a pharmacy technician?

Research technicians have some overlapping duties with pharmacy technicians. But since research could potentially impact millions of people, you may feel your work is making a bigger impact as a research technician.

Medical Records and Health Information Specialist

As a pharmacy technician, you’re already familiar with billing systems and insurance. With just a few extra courses, you could be coding or billing for medical practices as a Medical Records and Health Information Specialist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field is set for an 8% increase in positions – higher than the average medical role – into 2029.

Why might this be a good job for a pharmacy technician?

You are skilled with a computer. You understand numbers and billing systems, and you’re detail oriented. Learning medical codes and billing processes might be a natural transition for you, especially if you prefer a behind-the-scenes role.

Get Going

Your pharmacy technician skills can take you many places in the medical realm! Whether you prefer hands-on patient care, specialty practice, or a behind-the-scenes position, you can find a job that suits your personality and interests

All medical professionals should be confident in their liability insurance provider. NOW Insurance covers pharmacy technicians and a variety of other medical professions with professional liability, so you’ll be covered wherever you go. Get an easy instant quote with our online application today.

Welcome to the next stage of your career!