Pharmacy Technician Schools in Oklahoma
The nation’s health care industry depends on high quality pharmacies and high quality pharmaceutical workers. Pharmacy technicians actually do much of the work in both retail and hospital settings. Duties depend on the needs of the pharmacist, but can include compounding and packaging medications, preparing sterile products, entering information in computerized record systems, and handling routine and non-routine customer service issues.
The Labor Bureau projected that the field would see 31% growth nationally in the decade between 2008 and 2018. Pharmacy technician is a rapidly expanding field. It’s not enough, though, just to place workers in vacancies. Oklahoma recognizes that job success depends not only on personal attributes but on proper training. In addition to achieving twelfth grade math proficiency and having good keyboarding and communication skills, there is a body of field-specific knowledge that pharmacy technicians must master.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements in Oklahoma
Oklahoma sets standards high for the training of pharmacy technicians. The state mandates a two part training period. This includes Phase I, which must be completed prior to employment and Phase II, which must be completed within 90 days afterward.
Phase I training must include orientation, job descriptions, telephone protocol, safety and security issues, and pharmacy-related rules and regulations. The section on rules needs to cover the following: laws of the Drug Enforcement Administration, regulations of the National Food and Drug Administration, and permitted and prohibited duties. Phase I must also include training on maintaining working relationships with other health workers. Phase II training helps trainees mastery a number of job duties, some of which require math and science proficiency. Included in the programs are pharmacy terminology and drug classification.
Although Oklahoma does not mandate national board certification, voluntary pharmacy technician certification can be an asset. In 2009, Oklahoma boasted fully 2,156 pharmacy technicians certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Requirements include an initial examination and background check. Twenty units of continuing education are required every two years to maintain pharmacy technician certification. There are many options, both online and traditional, for continuing education. Some students pursue their units in conjunction with specialty certifications like compounding. Others take life science courses at a community college or university; a single college course can be worth fifteen continuing education units toward continuing education. Pharmacy law is also an ongoing requirement.
There are also a number of educational programs, distance and traditional, that can help students pass board examinations for certification. While Oklahoma does not require formal education, many pharmacy technicians find it useful.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job outlook in Oklahoma
The pharmacy technician field can be a bright spot in troubling economic times. Oklahoma’s pharmacy technicians averaged $23,970 in 2007. Actual earnings depend on a number of factors, notably job setting. Nationwide, jobs in hospitals average more than $2 more per hour than those in drug stores and other retail settings. Positions with specialty hospitals, insurance carriers, or pharmaceutical companies are more scarce, but are especially lucrative.
Certified pharmacy technicians generally make more than non-certified ones. This reflects company policies on two different levels. Many companies do pay certified pharmacy technicians more. Others view pharmacy technician certification as a prerequisite for hiring. Hospitals generally require that a person have achieved status as a CPhT.
What other skills do the state’s most desirable employers seek? Jackson County Memorial Hospital asks for a score of 80% or better on an employer-administered math exam as well as the ability to type at least 25 words per minute. Saffa Infusion, in Tulsa, asks for at least a year’s experience in a home care setting as well as IV certification. Some schools only enroll pharmacy technicians for IV training at an employer’s request, while others enroll pharmacist technicians who are hoping to move up from retail. A representative of the National Pharmacist Technician Association notes that some students take advanced certification courses to make themselves marketable to future employers.
Take the first step toward a career as a pharmacy technician by finding a training program below.