Pharmacy Technician Schools in Illinois
Pharmacy Technician Day was celebrated on October 26, 2010. That it has its own day is one more small indication of just how big the pharmacy technology field has grown. The US population is aging, many health fields are growing, and pharmacy technicians are in demand all year long. They work under the supervision of pharmacists to perform a wide variety of duties from filling routine prescriptions to restocking medical supplies to greeting and interacting with patients.
The majority of pharmacy technicians work in retail establishments (drug stores, for example). Other work settings include hospitals and long term care. In some settings, pharmacy technicians interact a good deal with ill patients, and may even administer medications; thus, people skills are a must -- as is responsibility.
How to become a pharmacy technician in Illinois? Illinois set standards high, requiring passing scores on either national certifying exam, the ExCPT or the PTCB. There are many pharmacy technician training programs available, some of which cater to the needs of busy professionals. A person may take classes in the evening -- or even online, in the comfort of their own home.
Pharmacy Technician Certification in Illinois.
The Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists is an organization for pharmacist technicians as well as pharmacists. Illinois does require national pharmacy technician certification. Besides demonstration of knowledge, Illinois’ requirements for pharmacy technicians are fairly basic. Unlike many states, Illinois allows technicians as young as 16 -- provided they have graduated form high school or earned a GED. Pharmacy technicians may not have a drug-related felony on their records, but may petition for individual consideration if they have a felony not involving drugs that is more than seven years in the past.
Illinois does not require national certification upon hiring, but rather within a two year period. This means that if a person can get on with a company, they may learn necessary skills on the job. Having pharmacy technician certification in hand can prove an asset, however. Lutheran General and Walgreen’s are among the employers in Illinois who do list pharmacy technician certification and/or licensure as requirements for employment.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board lists 14 test sites in Illinois, from Chicago to Dixon to Springfield. PTCB certification is national, so a person who gets their certification in Illinois will have a relatively easy time getting certified elsewhere if they relocate.
Pharmacy technician training programs are an excellent way to gain the knowledge needed to pass the national certification exam. Formal training as a pharmacy technician is also viewed highly by employers in Illinois.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job Outlook in Illinois
Nationwide, job prospects for pharmacy technicians are excellent. In 2008, the BLS predicted that the field would grow by over 30% over the next decade. For a job that has a relatively short training period, income tends to be good, though prospective technicians should realize that some entry level positions are per diem, and that many positions require evening, night, or weekend hours. Retail jobs are generally the easiest to get. The national salary average, according to the BLS, varies quite a bit with setting. In retail, grocery stores average $28,610 for grocery stores, but only $25,660 for those listed as general merchandise. General hospitals, meanwhile, are reported at $32,710.
The average pharmacy technician salary for recent postings in Illinois is, according to figures from Indeed.com., $36,000. That is slightly above the national average.
Prospective pharmacy technology students may want to talk to people at the programs they are considering, asking what internships or externships are available and how they match up with future employment opportunities. Even distance learning pharmacy technician schools often offer externships. Blessing Hospital offers a program in pharmacy technology through their nursing school every other year. The hospital program can be wonderful for people who want to spend time in a hospital setting -- and aspire to work there -- but even a very successful internship isn’t a guarantee of employment. A representative states that they try to hire their students, but it depends on what positions are available at the time. Explore the many pharmacy technician programs listed below to learn more about their programs and opportunities for graduates.