Nevada Needs a Healthy Dose of Pharmacy Technicians
According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, Nevada is the fastest growing state in the nation. By 2010, Nevada employment should increase by 35%, with 385,000 more jobs than it had in 2000. Healthcare will see greater growth than any other professional sector.
Pharmacy technician jobs are among the 15 fastest growing in the state. In fact, the need for pharmacy technicians is currently outpacing Nevada's growth. It's safe to say that certified pharmacy technicians should find plentiful job opportunities available in Nevada.
The Pharmacy Technician Shortage
So why is there such an acute need for pharmacy technicians? Of course, the fact that Baby Boomers, the largest segment of the American population, are approaching retirement has a lot to do with it. Older Americans, in general, rely the most heavily on prescription medications. Everyday, medical science uncovers newer, more sophisticated treatment options for a wide array of ailments. This means that more drugs are available, and people are living longer, extending their reliance on medicine.
In 2003, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported that by 2010 the pharmacist workload will increase to 20 prescriptions per hour -- or one every three minutes. If you think that sounds like a lot, just consider this: if prescription growth averages about 6% over the next four years (a reasonable assumption), this means that pharmacists will be filling roughly 37 prescriptions an hour, or one every 95 seconds.
Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists by providing medication and other health care products to patients; helping to prepare medications by counting tablets or labeling bottles; receiving prescriptions and prescription requests from doctors and patients; maintaining accurate and current patient files; working with doctors to verify prescription information; and in health care settings, even reading patients' charts and delivering medications to patients. Because prescriptions may mean the difference between life and death, pharmacy technicians must have formal training in various medications -- their names, uses, and possible side effects -- as well as certain medical terminology.
While there should be a plentiful supply of pharmacy technician jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that employers prefer to hire those with formal training and certification. This is because pharmacists in both retail locations and hospitals are often simply too busy to provide on-the-job training. Pharmacy technician training can often be completed in under a year. A typical pharmacy technician education program will consist of classroom and laboratory work in areas such as pharmaceutical techniques, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy recordkeeping, and pharmacy law and ethics. Training programs will often include internships in actual pharmacies. Depending on the particular program, students will receive a diploma, certificate, or an associate's degree. Pharmacy technicians must be recertified every two years.
Salary for a pharmacy technician in Nevada typically starts at about $26,700 and grows to around $32,000 after a few years of experience. Because of the great demand for these professionals, hours are often very flexible and accommodating, for both full- and part-time workers. So get started today, and look into pharmacy technician programs in the Silver State!
Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Pharmacy Technicians"
Reno Gazette-Journal - "Nevada faces statewide shortage of pharmacists"
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Workforce Brief - Nevada