Pharmacy Technician Schools in New York
Who works in New York’s pharmacies? The obvious response is pharmacists, but that tells less than half of the story. In many of the state’s pharmacies, pharmacy technicians outnumber pharmacists by two to one. Pharmacy technicians perform many of the routine duties. These can include reconstituting and compounding medications as well as packaging, stocking, and labeling them. Pharmacy technicians may take written prescriptions and refill orders and enter information in data systems. In a retail setting, customer service is often a big part of the job.
How does one become a pharmacy technician in New York? The process begins with a solid education. In order to do pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacist technicians need math skills at the level of late high school or beginning college. Good English communications skills, both written and oral, are highly valued. It also helps to have the right personality type. Since pharmacy technicians often assist customers, they should be friendly and service oriented. Some pharmacy tasks are repetitive, and so pharmacy technicians should be fond of, and take pride in, mastering routines.
Pharmacy Technician Certification and Regulations in New York
In New York, individual employers determine job requirements and entry level qualifications for pharmacy technicians. The state does not require pharmacy technicians to be registered or licensed, nor does it mandate formal education. Many employers, however, do have such requirements. Moses Division Hospital, for example, seeks candidates with a certificate of completion from a pharmacy technician training program. North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System mandates formal training and gives preference to candidates who have national pharmacy technician certification as well as prior work experience. Some employers give a detailed list of job skills, which can include math and keyboarding competencies, as well as field-specific skills and training. Certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board can help a candidate better compete against the state’s approximately 7,000 PTCB-certified technicians.
Although the state does not mandate high school level education, many employers do. Some set the bar even higher, given preference to candidates with an associate's degree. Fortunately, there are a number of options available for those seeking formal education in New York. Programs vary in length as well as emphasis. Some have, as their main goal, preparation for national board examinations. Others include externships, designed to give real world work experience in hospital and retail settings. Some pharmacy technician programs offered in New York can be completed online, while others require classroom attendance.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job outlook in New York
Pharmacy technician educational programs, in-person and online, sometimes include short internships to help students make the school to work transition. Programs may include one or several rotations of varying lengths. Some require everyone to do both a hospital and retail internship, while others place students into just one, which may be determined by demonstrated skills or other factors. Sanford-Brown Institute in Garden City, which boasts a number of unique settings like infusion and managed care, reports that students typically do just one.
Hard work can translate into economic reward. The average pharmacy technician salary in New York was $28,760 in 2009. This figure is above the national average by approximately $1,000. New York pharmacy technicians should realize, though, that income varies greatly, and is dependent on experience, training, and work setting. Nationwide, certified pharmacy technicians earn more than their non-certified counterparts. Some companies have policies in place to offer greater compensation to certified workers. Certified pharmacy techs are also more likely to have positions of greater responsibility. The majority of pharmacy technicians work in stores, where salaries average in the $25,000 to $29,000 range. The 25% who work in other settings often earn more. The average salary for pharmacy technicians employed at general or surgical hospitals, for instance, is listed at $32,710. This translates to $15.73 an hour. There are opportunities for advancement besides changing job setting. These include working one’s way up to positions denoted “lead pharmacy technician”.
The place to start is with a formal pharmacy tech training to help prepare you for the national certification exams and for the more competitive positions.