Pharmacy Technician Schools in Georgia
Georgia has had a pharmaceutical association since 1875; it and its partner organizations have evolved over the years to meet the needs of Georgia’s growing and changing population. The important job of providing Georgia patients with their prescriptions is handled by teams of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
In Georgia, one must be a pharmacist to counsel patients about new prescriptions or handle situations that involve professional judgment. A pharmacy technician, though, can perform a surprising range of duties. She or he can, under supervision, prepare and distribute prescription medications and prepare sterile products. She or he may also manage automatic dispensing machines and provide customer service.
How does one become a pharmacy technician in Georgia? Education or on-the-job training!
Pharmacy Technician Certification in Georgia
Georgia does not mandate certification of pharmacy technicians, but does make a distinction between those who are certified by the national organization, PTCB, and those who are not. According to the George Board of Pharmacy, a pharmacist is allowed to supervise two pharmacy technicians if none are certified, but up to three if one has national certification. This can make pharmacy technician certification an asset. There are many certified pharmacy technicians competing for jobs in Georgia. In 2010, Georgia counted 7,658 PTCB-certified technicians among its population.
National pharmacy technician certification can make a person more competitive, as can education. The designations Pharmacy Tech I or Pharmacy Tech II are sometimes used to denote positions with different levels of responsibility. Atlanta’s Emory Healthcare is among the Georgia employers who recently posted for a Pharmacy Technician II who either had certification or was currently enrolled in an accredited pharmacy technician school.
It is not necessary to enroll in a pharmacy technician training program for an entry level position, though it is highly recommended by industry professionals and often preferred by employers. Some choose to, for various reasons. They may want a short program that helps them pass the certifying exam, or a longer program that offers college credits like an associate's program.
Job Outlook and Salary Data for Pharmacy Technicians in Georgia
According to the Georgia Pharmacy Association, there are 5,300 pharmacy technicians in Georgia. Chances are that number will be growing! America’s population is aging, and doctors are becoming better at managing long term conditions. This translates into more prescriptions, more pharmaceutical aids… and more pharmacy technicians.
Many jobs, though, are competitive. The majority of jobs are in retail, but hospital positions are a goal for many due to the higher salaries and work schedules. It often takes significant experience to work one’s way into a hospital -- but it is possible for someone who is dedicated to the field. Northside Hospital in Canton and St Francis Hospital in Columbia have recently posted positions which give some insight into the process. The position at St Francis does not require previous experience, but does give preferences to applicants who have worked six or more months as a pharmacy technician. Certification is also preferred. Other qualifications cited have more to do with competencies and personal attributes: critical thinking, organizational, and written communication abilities. The two positions at Northside, meanwhile, both seek applicants with a full year experience in a hospital setting.
Students who are considering enrolling in formal pharmacy technician education programs will want to ask what externship opportunities are available. Externships, which are short internships, give students the opportunity to work within the field while completing their program. Employers differ in how they look at externships. Some see them as vital experience, others as too short or insignificant. Sometimes people are hired, though, on the basis of successful externships -- at the very place where they put in their hours. It's important to convey professionalism to everyone there is interaction with.
It's also a good idea to ask potential schools how they assist in placement, both during the program and afterwards. Kaplan University, for instance, reports that they offer job placement services available after program completion. A number of other schools also have career counseling programs in place. Learn more about the schools offering pharmacy technician training in Georgia and request information from the ones that match your preferences.