Pharmacy vs. Pharmacy Tech?

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by mdg1775, Aug 1, 2002.

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  1. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

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    I have realized that there is a large gap in the difference between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacy Technician. My kid wants to become a Pharmacist and I would like some advice on the most expedient way to get him through school and get him earning money....I know that I cannot finance a Doctor of Pharmacy Science Education for him... and keep feeding him for six more years!! LOL

    Background:

    1. 19 yrs old, has one full year of college with mostly core courses completed (basics: math, biology-1, history, chemistry-1, english comp-1, etc.).
    2. Has not declared a major until this week he decided to be a pharmacist.
    3. Has enrolled in a RA DL school to "double up" on the amount of courses that he can can take at one time.

    I guess my question is...what degree level does he need to be at to practice as a pharmacist (actually get paid to dispense medicines, etc) while he is working on his Pharm D, and It doesn't have to be Regionally approved as long as it meets the Pharmaceutical Education requirements.

    Mike
     
  2. Hille

    Hille Active Member

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    Hello, I have heard that pharmacy tech will be a state mandated license that will be a necessity in this state for pharmacy workers. The wage allegedly is very good. This program seems to have taken off in our local community college. It seems like it would be a good way to foot the education bill. Hille
     
  3. Myoptimism

    Myoptimism New Member

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    Hille,

    According to the BLS website http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos252.htm
    the median wage is about $10. No formal schooling is needed at the present time in most states.

    Tony
     
  4. gildeer7

    gildeer7 New Member

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    I'm a pharmacist, so I can give you some advice in this area. In order to sit for the board exams in all 50 states, you must have completed an ACPE-(American Council on Pharmaceutical Education) accredited program. So, the bottom line is that you have to complete a Pharm.D. program to practice as a pharmacist. Anyone can become a pharmacy technician, and hospitals tend to pay a little more than retail stores. For those who want to choose being a technician for a career, I would advise getting certified but that isn't yet a requirement. There is talk that it may be one day.

    Realistically, your son can work part-time while attending pharmacy school. In fact, you must complete several hours of internship before you sit for the boards (the amount varies by state). Most pharmacy students complete their hours while attending pharmacy school by working full-time during the summers and weekends during the school year. Working more than 20 hours per week during school would be extremely tough. Pharmacy school is very rigorous and requires lots of study time.

    There are several good options for financing a pharmacy education these days due to the huge shortage of pharmacists:

    (1) Many retail pharmacy chains (Eckerd, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger,etc.) will pay all or part of a student's tuition if the student agrees to work part-time for them during pharmacy school, and then work for a period of time as a pharmacist for them after graduation. Have your son go in and start asking pharmacists for the district pharmacy manager's phone number to find more info.

    (2) You may find a hospital or independent drugstore that is also willing to do a similar deal for a long-term commitment.

    (3) The U.S. Air Force is constantly recruiting pharmacists. He could do some time with them now, then they would foot the whole bill. They also recruit new grads from pharmacy school. They may be willing to foot the bill for pharmacy school if he commits to service after pharmacy school, but I am not sure.

    Anyway, it's a great career choice. There are tons of different job opportunities, and job security is terrific!

    Best of Luck!

    Reed Liggin
     
  5. Richard A. Suhar PE CMfgE

    Richard A. Suhar PE CMfgE New Member

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    To reduce the cost/time.... Take all the AP exams you can! Many schools grant credit for making particular cutoff scores. Afterward, enroll in summer school to take the fundamentals that AP did not yield. We had our daughter do this and she was able to knock a full year off the Parmacy program and do it with 1 years less expense for us.

    You should be aware that there are internship requirements that must be met prior to licensure. Many times these end up being unpaid summer positions. You either take the money hit in the summer or put in the time after graduation. My daughter was at the end of the BS program before the mandatory change over to PharmD. Duquesne University PharmD graduates typically start out at $120K per year. Much better pay than a Pharmacy Tech will ever make and well worth the sacrifice in time and expense for the education.

    Regards,
    Dick

     
  6. gildeer7

    gildeer7 New Member

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    Tony got it right. Pharmacy techs do average about $10 per hour. Pharmacists average about $40 per hour.
     
  7. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

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    My niece is applying for Pharmacy school and there are stipends available 12-15K per year to help with expenses. Also, there are internships offered. Look at everything the school has to offer before becoming discouraged. The schools are not that expense (in state tuition) and pay off is great. The average pay rate seems to be $35-$40 per hour to start.
     
  8. gildeer7

    gildeer7 New Member

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    Just to clarify. My post about Tony getting it right was not intended to suggest that Dick's post was wrong. My post occurred at about the same time as Dick's, so I hadn't seen his post when I did mine. I certainly don't doubt the information about Duqesne PharmD grads that Dick posted.

    Thanks, Reed
     
  9. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

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    Wow!! Thank you All from Mike and Me!!

    This information is really great! I am extremely proud that Mike will go into a field that will be a help to others...and take care of his financial future. I will take all your information and work on researching the best possible route for him.

    As for right now...he will continue with the work towards getting his AA and BA and we will research the ACPE Schools at the same time. A quick search pulls up Nova and they offer DL PharmD Programs that are ACPE Approved.

    Also, he will take the PCDI Certification for Pharmacy Technician so that he can possibly work a part time job in a store pharmacy near home.

    Again,

    Thank yall!!

    Respectfully,

    Mike

    AA BCC
    BA TESC
    MS SMSU
    JD Chapman (In Progress)
     
  10. jackjustice

    jackjustice New Member

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    The DL route will work only for some pharmacists. The DL programs, which are quite rigorous, serve as a means for upgrading those pharmacists who are licensed but hold a bachelor's degree. All schools are mandated to offer only the PharmD now, so those with bachelor- only credentials will fade away over the next generation of practitioners. Also, a part of the formal education for a pharmacist is experiential, up to 1500 hours. The sites are chosen and approved by the individual schools. The externship experience for each school is subject to board approval in the individual states. Even these programs are quite expensive to the student, since pharmacy externs (students) are not paid for this experiential part of their training. Getting a degree is quite expensive but the pharmacy student can make up to $ 20.00 an hour and there is no shortage of jobs. They can certainly earn a tidy sum during the summer months. The starting salary for PharmD students mentioned earlier seems a bit high, but it should be somewhere around 100K. The problem is not paying for the degree it is simply getting accepted into a school. My guess is that currently only about 20% of applicants are accepted. Finally, don't even think of an unaccredited school. And don't try a foreign school without careful research of US licensure possibility.:)
     
  11. mdg1775

    mdg1775 New Member

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    Hey Jack,

    How does one find a Bachelor of Pharmacy Program. I could not find one via searching the major Search Engines...Is this degree-level obsolete?

    Mike
     
  12. jackjustice

    jackjustice New Member

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    The bachelor degree program no longer exists, though there are students still enrolled in such programs due to the phase in of the entry level doctoral programs. There may be a few track-in programs left where the student earning a bachelor degree qualifies to transition into a doctoral program without interuption in studies. I am not quite sure how these programs work, but in such cases the bachelor is awarded.
     
  13. Michael Lloyd

    Michael Lloyd New Member

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    There are only a relatively small number of schools offering a BS in Pharmacy anymore in the USA. I had personal experience with this. I was just completing my pharmacy prereqs in the early 80's when the U of W decided to drop the BSPharm and only offer a PharmD (six year program). To heck with that, says I, and changed my major to chemistry.

    But there are still a few BSPharm programs out there, and a google search using the terms 'bachelor science pharmacy' revealed schools such as Texas Southern University, several schools in Canada, Wayne State University, and several schools in Australia. You will find a number of schools mentioning BSPharm degrees, but many of them have already admitted their last class under that program, and only a PharmD program is offered for new students.

    But please note that these BSPharm programs are definitely an endangered species and note also that many schools offer a BS in Pharmaceutical Sciences, but this does not qualify one as a pharmacist or to sit for the licensing exam.

    Regards,

    Michael Lloyd
    Mill Creek, Washington USA
     
  14. gildeer7

    gildeer7 New Member

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  15. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

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    Occupation:
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    Creighton had set up the program and claimed to be the first internet based program. I was fascinated by it. However before enrolling I would hire anyone that can pass medicinal chemistry through distance learning. I also wonder how they handle the labs. Getting enrolled in a program is one thing, graduating the program would be quite another. Hats off to anyone who could do the entire program (not just a Pharm.D for BS level catch up) by distance.:)
     
  16. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

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    Occupation:
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    By the way to the original poster I would like to make a suggestion. If your son would like to work as a technician I would call the board of pharmacy for your state. Some states require more didactic training than other to be a technician. I used to teach pharmacy technician classes at the local community college, they still use a book I wrote.
    You can get the review course for the National Certification Exam for pharmacy technicians at the websight for the American Society of Health System Pharmacists. Most states have started recognizing this. Pharmacy Technicians are a hot topic amoung states and associations as no-one seems to know how much training to require.
    If he wants to work part-time and go to school, he should have no problem finding a part-time job as a tech.
    Good luck!!!
     
  17. duff

    duff New Member

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    Gildeer 7 and Jack:

    What is the difference between a PharmD. degree and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology. Can granduates of both programs do the same line of work? Also, what do you think about Columbia Southern Universities Certified Pharmacy Tech. program. It is completely DL, but is it legit?

    Duff
     
  18. gildeer7

    gildeer7 New Member

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    A Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree is a professional degree that takes four years to complete. To enter a PharmD program, you must have two years of prerequisite work. So it takes six years total to earn the degree. Those who complete this degree are called Pharmacists.

    A PhD is a graduate degree in one of the disciplines of pharmacy like Pharmacology. You must first complete a Bachelor's degree, and then a Master's degree in order to study for a PhD. So, it takes a little longer to earn a PhD. PhD's tend to work as professors or researchers. A PhD may not necessarily be a pharmacist.

    As for the Columbia Southern pharmacy technician degree, I would not recommend it. The degree will not guarantee you a job, and you can probably get a job as a pharmacy technician without it. Then, you could take the pharmacy technician certification exam while you are getting paid as a technician.

    Best of luck!
     
  19. gildeer7

    gildeer7 New Member

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    An addtional note: Columbia Southern's pharmacy technician program is legit. Is it worth the money? I do not think so at this point in time in most states. Others may disagree, and I would be interested to hear if there are states where earning the pharmacy tech degree would be advantageous. As states move toward mandatory certification of pharmacy technicians, you may need this degree to get hired as a tech, but not yet.
     
  20. timothyrph

    timothyrph New Member

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    Occupation:
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    I would like to second this opinion about pharmacy technician programs. Be extremely careful and talk to pharmacists in your state whether it is necessary. As in a lot of other things, there are good programs and not so wonderfuls.

    Columbia Southern seems to be legit, but in Oklahoma (where we are ranked number one in football) it is totally unnecessary and all training is done on sight. The board of pharmacy cannot certify any didactic program. Which is why I no longer teach.

    If you are willing to work, most of the time you can get a job.

    I would not recommend paying the amount Columbia Southern is asking. I also would not recommend hardly any distance technician program, and few ones at vo-techs. The only exception might be the national certification review book by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (about $100).

    There is a national certification exam recommended by the American Pharmacy Association, and the American Society of Health System Pharmacy. However, I would only do this if
    1) I was working as a technician and my employer offered me a raise.
    2) My employer offered to pay for it.
    Otherwise I fail to see the benefit.
     

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