A one word answer would be: licensing. Being a pharmacy technician, at this point, is considered a basic, entry level position. Unfortunately, most people (including those in the medical industry) don't understand that in order to move up, you must become a pharmacist. Big difference between a vocational certificate and a Pharm D. There is no in-between. While we may be the right (and left) hand of the pharmacist, we still operate under a pharmacist's license. The pharmacist takes all the liability. When we become licensed ourselves, our pay will go up and our opportunities will become varied. I applaud PTCB in their new requirements for eligibility to take the test. When a base line education (or work history) is required for a professional designation the designation is that much more important, sought after and recognized legitimately. :-)
Why are Certified Pharmacy Technicians not having the privilege they deserve to earn a higher and unified hourly rate for a start at work? Why do we still have to struggle between finding jobs and a better pay rate? These make me feel that we are underappreciated for the hard and important work we do and for our roles in the Pharmacy.
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The issue of under-payment, I believe, is linked to the regulations and educational requirements of entering into our profession, which to be honest and in comparison to other professions such as nursing or radiologists, is not very much. If additional or higher pay is to be expected, the profession's value has to have some valid merit behind it. Certification and additional certificates are great, but having the basic educational entry requirements into licensure being increased would be a big step in remedying this issue. The PTCB changing their exam requirements for an applicant to require educational instruction was an excellent step in the right direction, but there should be more additional educational requirements for licensure to boost the value of our profession.
The gap between technicians and pharmacists is as it is for a few reasons;
Pharmacists are required to have an extensive education and it is absolutely a costly one. It is true that us technicians do the bulk (if not all) of the labor, but it is the pharmacist that carries the responsibility of liability. In most states, the requirements for entry into becoming an pharmacy technician are few.