This is a collaborative post information about a pharmacy technician career.
There are a variety of work environments that pharmacy technicians can work in, from hospitals to supermarkets. Pharmacy technicians work under the direction of the pharmacist and perform tasks that don’t need the pharmacist’s expertise, such as receiving and verifying prescriptions, counting or preparing medications, and even working the cash register in retail settings. Training and certification for a pharmacy technician are different from state to state.
Duties and Responsibility of a Pharmacy Technician
A pharmacy technician’s duties and responsibilities can change from state to state and are reliant on the working environment. A pharmacy technician, the main task is assisting the on-duty pharmacist with organizing and preparing prescription medication for customers.
Typically pharmacy technicians will complete the following duties and functions:
- Fill medication bottles with prescribed medicines from doctors. Type and apply a label with directions on taking medication, and pre-pack any requests for bulk drug.
- Resolve issues, concerns or complaints made by customers
- Call doctors for authorization to refill patients prescriptions
- Type up prescription labels with details for packages and medication bottles
- Keep detailed records of medication that are on hand in the pharmacy and the requirements for inventory
- Resolve any issues with patients health coverage
Education Required to Become a Pharmacy Technician
There are a few ways to earn a pharmacy technician certification, and depending on your state, you can determine what is required to be a pharmacy technician, but typically you need a certificate program or an associate degree.
- Certificate Programs – Certificate programs will vary in length depending on the school, but usually, they are up to a year to complete. Through a certificate program, participants will gain hands-on job training in a pharmacy. A certificate program is the right choice if you are considering making a career change.
- Associate Degree Program – Through an associate degree program, participants have a transcript of accredited courses that they can apply towards a four-year degree at a later date if they want to continue learning. An associate degree program is typically two years, and at the end of the program, participants receive distinguished credentials.
- On-Job Training – In states that don’t require a certificate, participants can become a pharmacy technician through on-the-job training. To receive on the job training, candidates should have the needed math, computer, and interpersonal skills required to perform the duties and responsibilities under supervision. On-the-job training is completed when the technician has wholly learned the profession well enough to complete the state’s licensing exam.
How Long Does a Certificate of Diploma Program Take to Complete?
Certificate or diploma programs are available through vocational schools, community colleges, or online. The programs are typically one year and consist of either three quarters or two semesters. College might take longer than online learning that could make a few months.
Associate’s degrees will take longer and give a candidate comprehensive pharmacy technician training. These programs will include pharmacy tech classes and additional degree requirements, so they typically take two years to complete.
Classroom and Hands-on Training
Specific classes someone takes on pharmacy technician depends on the school or college a candidate attends. Typical courses can include an introduction to pharmacy, pharmacy law, pharmacy calculations, pharmacy compounding, and interpersonal communications. In addition to taking classes, pharmacy technicians are required to do hands-on work experience.
Pharmacy technician courses for an associate’s degree program will include anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, dispensing, and work experience.
State Requirements and Certification
Training for pharmacy technicians is geared to prepare students to meet the standards in their state for the job. Requirements change from state to state, but most states require approved training, a criminal background check, registration, and an exam.
Receiving a certificate is essential because some employers require certification of their pharmacy technicians by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Many states and pharmacies require pharmacy technicians to register with their states Board of Pharmacy.
Salary and Outlook
The salary for pharmacy technicians can range depending on the state, years of experience, and education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average wage for pharmacy technicians was $30, 020.
The highest-earning salary was $35, 420 per year. The Bureau predicts that the employment for pharmacy technicians will grow by 32 percent, and is growing faster than other occupations.
Work Environment and Schedule
A large number of pharmacy technician jobs are located in pharmacies and drug stores. Still, there are a few jobs for pharmacy technicians that are found in hospitals or general merchandise stores.
Schedules for pharmacy technicians can vary. Most positions are full-time since pharmacies are located in stores. A pharmacy technician’s program can also include working evenings and weekends.
Pharmacy Technician Skills
If considering becoming a pharmacy technician, along with training and hands-on experience, a candidate should also have the following skills:
- Communication – a pharmacy technician needs to be able to communicate information effectively to patients, doctors, and the pharmacist
- Active Listening – a pharmacy technician needs to actively listen and understand the requests, instructions, and inquiries of doctors, customers, and pharmacists
- Attention to Detail – a pharmacy technician needs to have excellent care to detail when filling prescriptions and preparing labels for customers medication and prescriptions
- Organization – a pharmacy technician needs to be extremely organized in managing tasks assigned and problems that may come up throughout their workday.
Depending on the state you live in, your requirements for a career as a pharmacy technician can be different. Generally, programs depending on if you go for a certificate or associate degree can take months to two years to complete.