Rite Aid Pharmacy Technician-In-Training Program In The Spotlight
While it is not the largest pharmacy chain in the USA - that title is held by CVS - Rite Aid maintains thousands of retail pharmacies across the US.
Founded in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1962 Rite Aid remains one of the biggest players in the US retail pharmacy industry.
Like the other major players, including CVS and Walgreens, Rite Aid employs pharmacy technicians in all of its stores to aid their pharmacists, and they offer free training to qualified candidates that helps prepare them to take their PTCE pharmacy technician certification test. But just what does that entail and who is it available to? That's what we'll be taking a closer look at now.
How Much Does a Pharmacy Tech in Training Make at Rite Aid?
As is the case for all pharmacy tech positions the starting salary for a pharmacy technician in training with Rite Aid varies according to the location a candidate is employed in.
The average starting salary in your area can be found by searching the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website, but it usually well exceeds minimum wage. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to Rite Aid and others offering higher salaries across the board, even to pharmacy technicians in training.
Does Rite Aid Drug Test?
Drug testing is the norm in the pharmacy industry and a must for pharmacy technicians wherever they work and even when in pharmacy technician school. Passing a drug test is also a requirement in order to take either the PTCE or the ExCPT certification exam. So, in line with this, Rite Aid do indeed drug test all candidates for their Rite Aid Pharmacy Technician Training & Certification Program and do so before a candidate is formally admitted into it.
Candidates may be tested several times, sometimes at random, especially just prior to their certification exam, so maintaining a drug free lifestyle is a must for anyone wishing to work as a pharmacy technician in general, not just at Rite Aid. Agreeing to these random drug tests will be a condition of your employment with Rite Aid in general and your participation in their Pharmacy Tech training program specifically.
In addition, it should be noted that in order to become a certified pharmacy technician in any capacity, in any state, you must be able to pass a criminal background check. In some states, candidates with minor misdemeanors on their record may still be accepted, but any felonies of any kind exempt you from working as a certified pharmacy technician anywhere, including Rite Aid.
How Long Does It Take to Get Certified as a Pharmacy Technician?
How long it takes to become certified as a pharmacy technician varies considerably according to path you choose to follow. In the case of the Rite Pharmacy Tech program the timeline is dependent on a trainee's progress to a certain extent but usually takes six to nine months in total.
Excellent candidates making exceptional progress may be able to complete the program sooner, but no one will be sent to take their certification test until they have completed all the basic education needed to pass it.
To become formally certified you must pass the PTCE or the ExCPT regardless of the progress you have made during your Rite Aid Training.
The cost of doing so, usually about $150, is met by Rite Aid.
What’s Involved in the Training with Rite Aid?
Training as a pharmacy technician with Rite Aid differs little from any other pharmacy technology certification program, with the exception that the hands-on experience gained on an almost daily basis will prove invaluable for most people.
In addition to working alongside professionals in a real world setting those in the Rite Aid training program receive additional formal training in the form of live company hosted learning sessions, online video training and Internet based written assignments set by Rite Aid pharmacists.
Before employment and entrance into the pharmacy tech program with Rite Aid, you'll need to prove you have a high school diploma or GED, that you can pass both drug and criminal background checks, that you can comfortably lift more than 50lbs and can pass a basic math and computer skills test. You'll also need to prove that you have the legal right to work in the US as you would with any other employer.
As this is a job opportunity as well as training, there will be an interview process, and, according to the company website, signs of great soft skills like good customer service., the ability to work as a part of a team and attention to fine detail are all very important skills they look for candidates to possess.
The purpose of the in-training program is to prepare candidates to obtain their official pharmacy technician certification, and so everything they initially do is geared towards that goal. Reviews on sites like Glassdoor from past program participants are largely positive, stating that the training offered by Rite Aid is more than adequate to pass the pharmacy technician certification exams.
Can I sit the PTCE or ExCPT?
The answer to this question varies according to your state. Some states do not yet accept the ExCPT as it is the newer, less proven qualification. Rite Aid itself trains the participants in its training program to sit the PTCE as a matter of course. In some states the company will accept a previous ExCPT certification in hiring already certified pharmacy technicians, but it is known that PTCB qualifications are preferred.
Will I Get a Permanent Position Afterwards?
The Rite Aid Pharmacy Technician-in-Training is not a schooling program. If you are accepted into it, it is because you are considered qualified for an open position provided you complete it successfully and then pass your certification exam. If you can meet these requirements then the position you interviewed for, a a very similar one, will become permanent.
Failure to complete the program or to pass the certification test may lead to the withdrawal of the job offer and termination from the program.
Alternative Options To Consider
As the program is only open to a limited number of candidates for whom there is a job opening with the company available you may need to consider alternative paths to employment as a pharmacy technician.
The most obvious is to attend a pharmacy technician school. Lots of different institutions offer pharmacy technician training including private career schools, vocational schools and community colleges.
While these programs are not free many are eligible for financial aid and in some cases local training grants may help you meet the cost of a pharmacy technician program as well.
Other pharmacy chains do offer their own training programs as well, although both CVS and Walgreens partner with pharmacy technician schools to offer externships as well. And while they are not as common as they once, were independent pharmacies may be willing to help the right candidates obtain their pharmacy technician certification while providing hands-on training as well.