Many teenagers are interested in gaining experience in the healthcare field to explore potential careers or simply to earn some money. One common question that arises is whether a teenager can work in a pharmacy. In this article, we will discuss the possibilities, requirements, and potential responsibilities for a teen working in a pharmacy setting.
Pharmacy jobs typically have a minimum age requirement of 18 years old, primarily because of the legal and safety concerns surrounding the handling of medications. However, some pharmacy chains may hire teens as young as 16 for certain positions that do not involve direct contact with prescription medications.
Available Positions for Teens in a Pharmacy
1. Cashier or Sales Associate
Teens can often find positions as cashiers or sales associates in the front end of a pharmacy. In this role, they would be responsible for operating the cash register, assisting customers with purchases, and maintaining the cleanliness and organization of the store. Although these positions do not involve handling prescription medications, they can still provide valuable customer service experience and exposure to a healthcare environment.
2. Pharmacy Technician Trainee
Some pharmacies may offer pharmacy technician trainee positions for individuals who are at least 18 years old and meet the necessary requirements. These positions are designed to provide on-the-job training for aspiring pharmacy technicians, who are responsible for assisting pharmacists with filling prescriptions and other tasks. Trainees must typically complete a certain number of supervised hours before they can become a certified pharmacy technician.
Education and Certification Requirements
High School Diploma or GED
While a high school diploma or GED may not be required for some entry-level positions, such as cashier or sales associate, it is often a prerequisite for pharmacy technician trainee positions. It is essential for teenagers to maintain good grades and complete high school if they are interested in pursuing a pharmacy career.
Pharmacy Technician Certification
Pharmacy technician trainees must generally complete a formal training program and obtain certification to become a pharmacy technician. This can involve attending classes, completing an online course, or participating in a vocational training program. Certification exams, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the ExCPT exam, must be passed to become a certified pharmacy technician.
Benefits of Working in a Pharmacy as a Teen
1. Gaining Experience in the Healthcare Field
Working in a pharmacy setting can provide valuable experience and exposure to the healthcare field for teenagers who are considering a career in medicine, nursing, or pharmacy.
2. Developing Customer Service Skills
Pharmacy jobs often involve interacting with customers and patients, which can help teens develop important customer service and communication skills.
3. Networking Opportunities
Working in a pharmacy can provide opportunities to network with healthcare professionals, such as pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and other medical staff. Building relationships with these individuals can be beneficial for future career prospects and opportunities.
4. Potential for Advancement
Teens who begin their careers in a pharmacy setting may have the chance to advance within the company or use their experience as a stepping stone to pursue other healthcare professions, such as becoming a pharmacist, nurse, or physician.
Tips for Teens Interested in Pharmacy Jobs
1. Research Local Pharmacies and Requirements
Start by researching local pharmacies, such as chain pharmacies, independent pharmacies, and hospital pharmacies, to learn about their hiring policies and requirements for teenage employees.
2. Gain Relevant Experience
Teens can gain relevant experience by volunteering at hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities. This can help demonstrate their interest in the healthcare field and provide valuable skills that can be beneficial when applying for pharmacy jobs.
3. Develop Strong Communication Skills
Working in a pharmacy setting often requires interacting with customers and patients, so it is essential for teenagers to develop strong communication and customer service skills. This can be achieved through part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work.
4. Pursue Pharmacy Technician Certification
For teens interested in becoming pharmacy technicians, it is essential to pursue the necessary education and certification requirements. Research local training programs and certification exams to better understand the steps needed to achieve this goal.
While working directly with medications in a pharmacy may not be possible for most teens, there are still opportunities to gain valuable experience in a pharmacy setting through positions like cashier or sales associate. For those who meet the age and educational requirements, pursuing a pharmacy technician trainee position can be an excellent way to start a career in the healthcare field. By gaining relevant experience, developing strong communication skills, and pursuing necessary certifications, teenagers can set themselves up for success in the pharmacy industry.
For more information and resources on working in a pharmacy as a teen, check out the following links:
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) – A resource for pharmacy technician certification, exam preparation, and recertification.
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA) – Offers pharmacy technician certification and a variety of resources for aspiring pharmacy professionals.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pharmacy Technicians – Provides information on the job outlook, educational requirements, and median pay for pharmacy technicians.
- American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) – Offers resources, continuing education opportunities, and networking for those interested in the pharmacy profession.
- Pharmacy Times – A comprehensive resource for pharmacy news, clinical information, and continuing education.
These resources can help teens learn more about the pharmacy profession, requirements for different roles, and opportunities for growth and development within the industry.
Table of Contents