Pharmacy Technician Schools in South Carolina
Health care is an ever changing industry, and South Carolina’s pharmacy technology profession has risen to meet the challenge. The state’s licensing requirements are among the highest in the nation. South Carolina even has its own continuing education requirements, separate from those required for national certification. This helps ensure safe, competent, and informed practice.
The duties of workers in the pharmacy technician industry are many and varied. 75% of the nation’s pharmacy technicians work in retail establishments like health stores or grocery stores; in these settings, customer service is an important part of the job. Other duties can including managing automated dispensing systems, packaging, labeling, and compounding medicines, and entering information into computerized systems. Pharmacy technicians have a vital role in the health care field, and South Carolina has set the bar high.
Pharmacy Technician Regulation and Certification in South Carolina
Pharmacy technicians in the Palmetto State are regulated by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. Applicants must be high school graduates or possess an equivalency degree. They must also complete a pharmacy technician training program of at least 1,000 hours. The program should be comprehensive, incorporating general studies like keyboarding and communications as well as training specific to the field. Required topics include pharmacology, ethics and law, and pharmaceutical technician job duties.
South Carolina’s pharmacy technicians must also obtain national board certification through an approved certifying agency. A multiple choice exam is among the requirements for initial certification. A pharmacy technician must then obtain twenty units of continuing education during each two year renewal cycle. There are many options for fulfilling the education requirements. At least one unit must be in pharmacy law. Compounding of medications, drug distribution, inventory control, and sterile product preparation are among the other topics that can be pursued. Some of these subjects can be studied as part of an advanced certification program. Some college-level math and science courses are also available for CE credit. One university course is considered the equivalent of fifteen units of continuing education. This can be a good option for those who are using the field as a springboard to some more highly educated profession.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job outlook in South Carolina
Another advantage of formal education is that it can be an opportunity to make connections in the field. When asked if students often find positions at institutions where they have externed, a representative of Midlands Technical College says, “That’s where most of our students are hired.”
Longer programs sometimes give more field experience. At MTC, for instance, the certificate program is “retail only” in regards to work experience opportunities, while the longer diploma program places candidates in more diverse settings.
First impressions can be important in a field where there is high demand but a considerable variance in both job responsibilities and remuneration. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a wide variety of salaries, with workers at the 90th percentile earning more than twice that of those at the 10th percentile. One determinant is geographical location. A South Carolina worker can expect to make a little less than the national average, but still a comfortable living wage. $24,480 was the state average reported in 2007.
Another very important factor is job setting. Retail positions are the most plentiful, but tend to pay slightly below the industry average. General hospitals, meanwhile, pay a few thousand dollars a year more than the average, and oncology and other specialty hospitals offer even better compensation. Job duties in these settings require more training, but ultimately give excellent salary and benefits. Positions with pharmaceutical companies or insurance carriers are also much sought after.
The first step toward this career is to find a pharmacy tech training program.