HOW TO BECOME A PHARMACY TECH IN COLORADO
Traditionally, a pharmacist’s primary role involved the preparation and dispensing of the medication. However, the increasing availability of new medication and changes in health care reform affect the role of the modern pharmacist. As they strive to keep up with the effects of new drugs, including OTC drugs and natural products, and new standards of treatment, pharmacists will rely heavily on their pharmacy technicians to take on added responsibility.
Pharmacy technicians in Colorado and other states across the nation are taking on tasks, which were at one time reserved solely for the pharmacist. Trained technicians take prescription orders over the phone, prepare and dispense medication, and focus heavily on reducing errors. Their diligence gives pharmacists more time to keep abreast of new medications and counsel patients. Therefore, pharmacy technicians are more than just basic assistants. They’re critical elements in the effective functioning of community and hospital pharmacies. Proper training and education will prepare pharmacy technicians to shoulder more responsibility. While there’s no push on the part of Colorado’s Board of Pharmacy to register and promote standardization and accreditation of pharmacy technicians, the onus is on pharmacy employers and individuals to uphold nationwide standards. Accredited training programs and national certifying authorities help to increase standards and equip technicians with the skills to prepare and dispense medications with public safety in mind.
Colorado Pharmacy Technician Requirements
The Board of Pharmacy does not register, license or certify pharmacy technicians. Colorado is just one of a few states where there’s no legislation governing the activities of pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy employers bear the burden of substantiating, training and monitoring every pharmacy technician that comes into their employ. Since the pharmacist-in-charge and the Pharmacy as a whole may be held liable for errors or oversights on the part of the technician, it’s critical that they validate and train employees in all the activities they must perform.
A pharmacy technician prepares and dispenses medication and execute other routine tasks under a pharmacist’s supervision. That definition doesn’t change –even in states like Colorado, where there’s no legislation to govern the profession. Pharmacists must still check the technician’s work to ensure public safety.
Each pharmacy employer or chain of pharmacies will set their standards for employing, training and certifying pharmacy technician employees. Most employers require applicants to possess a high school diploma before they commence in-house training. Others are partial to technicians who have completed some form of formal training and national certification as it cuts the hours they’ll have to invest in training new employees. Accredited training and national certification will be beneficial now and in the future when the state makes a move to register certified pharmacy technicians.
Pharmacy technicians must be at least 18 years old to begin working at pharmacies in Colorado.
A high school education with an emphasis on maths, biology and chemistry, will give you a jumpstart on the courses needed to excel as a pharmacy technician. It’s left to the employer to establish the minimum requirements for training pharmacy technicians. However, most employers prefer candidates with a high school diploma or GED equivalent as a prerequisite to on-the-job training. Vocational schools, community colleges, and other traditional academia also require applicants to present their high school transcripts or diploma as a prerequisite to entry into the programs.
It should be every technician’s goal to obtain PTCB or ExCPT certification. Both certifying bodies require applicants to submit their high school diplomas as one of the requirements for certification. For this reason, you should earn your diploma or GED before pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician.
Most employers will initiate a criminal background check, with candidates’ permission, as part of the application process. On the application for employment, the employer will include questions related to your criminal background and will follow with questions during the interview. Laws governing the operation of state pharmacies prohibit the employment of persons with criminal convictions, especially those related to controlled dangerous substances.
It’s natural to be concerned about youthful indiscretions, but they may not necessarily exclude you from becoming a pharmacy technician if you’re honest from the onset. Respond to the questions about previous crime, felony or misdemeanor truthfully and provide a detailed description of the events that lead to the conviction.
The pre-employment/ pre-training criminal background check will authorize the employer to review documents from Colorado and other states.
Pharmacy Technician Jobs in Colorado
Assist pharmacists as required, providing support in areas such as packaging medications and maintaining records. Pharmacy technicians are typically responsible for administrative duties related to drug management. They prepare and label medications, perform routine inspections to ensure that all drugs are being stored properly, monitor/replenish pharmacy equipment/supplies when necessary, and handle client issues regarding insurance companies. Because many of their tasks involve data processing, they are capable with computers and have a working knowledge of general/brand drug names, doses, and classifications.
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, who may request that they complete additional duties. Examples of potential assignments include training other employees and interfacing with suppliers.