Would you like to carry a love for animals over into your healthcare career and work in animal pharmacy?
If that sounds like an ideal scenario, did you know graduating a pharmacy tech program could set you up for a career working as pharmacy technician at a veterinary hospital pharmacy?
After all, unfortunately, it’s not just humans who get sick and need medications — animals do too. When that happens, a pharmacy technician plays an important role in caring for our furry and feathered friends. It’s just one of the many extra draws that make a pharmacy technician career an attractive one to pursue.
Working as a Pharmacy Tech at an Animal Hospital
Aside from the patients (they’ll be barking, meowing, squeaking, or squawking…), you’ll find working in an animal hospital is really not much different from working for a pharmacy that dispenses medications to humans. You’ll be using your pharmaceutical knowledge to care for your animal patients. You’ll be developing good professional relationships with the animal patient and their human companions. And you’ll be working to build confidence and trust in the pharmacy.
Just like at a ‘human pharmacy’, an animal hospital’s pharmacy is fast-paced, dispensing medications to both in-patients and out-patients. This means you’ll need to be dynamic in your attitude and behavior, and have the ability to multitask while paying close attention to detail to ensure accuracy and safety in your work. Providing exceptional customer service is also an essential part of the job, just as it would be if you were a pharmacy technician working at a retail pharmacy or hospital.
As for qualifications, you’ll be expected to have the training that comes from graduating a pharmacy tech program. You’ll need a basic knowledge of human brand name and generic drugs. And you’ll need be confident in your math skills for dosage and compounding calculations. Additionally, here in California, you’ll have to be a state licensed pharmacy technician.
Do You Need Previous Animal Pharmacy Experience?
Animal hospitals usually provide training to new pharmacy technicians so they can become familiar with animal-specific medications.
However, for the candidate with no animal pharmacy training, showing a genuine and passionate calling to work in animal healthcare, along with a strong desire to further their animal pharmacy training, is a must. Simply put, you have to love animals and care about their welfare.
Of course, and it’s one part of the job to be aware of, you’ll need to be comfortable in seeing medical procedures performed on animals, as you’ll be expected to occasionally deliver medications to veterinary staff during those procedures.
Making a Difference in an Animal’s Life
If you didn’t know before, you now do: enrolling in a pharmacy tech program is one surprising route into working in the animal healthcare field.
The 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey reported 65% of U.S. households owned a pet; and those owners spent $15.73 billion on vet care.
Clearly, people are demonstrating their desire to enhance and extend their animal companion’s lives. And as a pharmacy technician working at a veterinary hospital pharmacy, you’ll be very much part of the process in making a difference in the life of an animal that’s sick.
BAMA is proud to partner with Walgreens to provide students with a 240-hour, on-the-job
clinical pharmacy technician externship at one of the largest drugstore chains in the US.