The practice of pharmacy grows by leaps and bounds each and everyday.
The education of Student Pharmacists to take on both current & emerging roles in providing pharmaceutical care has occurred and continues to evolve. I have a firm belief that this education will satisfactorily meet and exceed the needs of both current and future patients.
While the Pharmacists education is well defined in that Boards of Pharmacy and National Associations have criteria that you must meet prior to entry into the profession. The Pharmacy Technician’s education is not as well defined. Currently technicians are educated by for-profit institutions, some but not all Community Colleges, and there are some online programs.
How can Pharmacists fully utilize their education and knowledge in both current and emerging markets – if there is not an appropriate and affordable education model to satisfactorily keep pace with pharmacy technician demand in the market?
It’s my opinion that the greatest demand for the Pharmacy Technician will be in the retail sector. There is a high turnover rate in this market and typically this is the space where an organization can take on registered pharmacy technicians that have no pharmacy experience. With an increase in mergers and acquisitions between chain pharmacy, benefit managers, and health insurers – the demand for registered pharmacy technicians will continue to increase.
Current state laws will also need to keep pace with changes in how both Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians are utilized in the Pharmacy.
- Pharmacy Technician verification via Barcode technology (http://www.ajhp.org/content/73/2/69?sso-checked=true)
- Medication therapy management
- Pharmacist Practitioners
- Collaborative practice models
- The increased market-share of “specialty pharmacy”
- Compounding pharmacies regulated by federal guidelines USP 795, 797, and 800
These are all topics to consider when considering the job market and demand for both the practicing Pharmacist and Pharmacy Technician.
What can fill the education gap?
I had never heard of the “Ready to Work” initiatives taking place in Birmingham, AL. But after meeting Ms. Dorothy Henry and leadership at Lawson State Community College — I stumbled upon an institution that is at the forefront of this community based initiative.
Ready to Work programs can offer job seekers foundational knowledge to take on entry level job positions. “Ready to Work” educational healthcare tracks include medical assistant, patient care assistant, and pharmacy technician. These programs help folks learn how to become registered and/or certified to take on entry level positions in the workforce.
Having a job that you care about and enjoy is good for the individual because it increases self-worth. It’s good for the family because it provides a stable source of income. It’s great for both the community and local economy because the money can be recycled into tangible purchases of goods, services, and long term assets.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with folks interested in becoming registered Pharmacy Technicians through this program. And I really believe that this could be an opportunity where more Pharmacists can serve and become involved in helping young people find a career in their local community. Programs like this help to ensure that there are affordable avenues for people to learn and become aware of professions that can be a source for both a rewarding career and steady income. I have posted my lecture materials online at www.samblakemore.com . Feel free to follow along and give back any comments and/or positive feedback.