Pharmacy Technician Career Video
Pharmacy Technician Career Video Transcript
If you're looking for an allied health career where your attention to detail and ability to multi-task will be appreciated, you might enjoy being a pharmacy technician. A pharmacy technician helps the licensed pharmacist fill prescriptions, label medications, place orders for medicine, conduct pharmaceutical inventories, and stock shelves for over-the-counter drugs, among other duties.
Pharmacy technicians are skilled allied health workers who help pharmacists by doing the routine tasks associated with packaging prescribed medication, providing drugs and health care products to patients and managing the pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians are invaluable to pharmacies because they free the pharmacist from many duties and allow him or her more time to consult with patients. Pharmacy technicians may work in a variety of settings, including retail or chain pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies, hospitals and nursing facilities. Pharmacy technicians are responsible for many tasks having to do with prescriptions, however, pharmacists always double-check all medications before they are given to patients. Many pharmacy technicians receive on-the-job training, perhaps moving up from a job as a pharmacy aide, but many employers favor individuals with an associate degree and certification.
Job Skills and Duties
To succeed as a pharmacy technician you must be organized, alert, observant and precise. This is a job with a lot of responsibility where errors can sometimes be a matter of life or death. In general, technicians receive written prescriptions and process insurance claim information. Then they count, weigh and measure the medication, compound pharmaceutical components, select the proper containers and prepare and apply the labels.
Pharmacy technicians who work in hospitals or long term care facilities are also responsible for reading and documenting the patients' charts and delivering the medications to the nursing station or to the patients themselves. In high-tech facilities, pharmacy technicians may use robotic equipment to assemble doses for each patient and dispense them when needed.
Most pharmacy technicians receive on-the-job training. Associate degree programs for Pharmacy Technicians are available through community colleges, vocational training schools and some hospitals. Pharmacy technicians may also become Certified Pharmacy Technicians by passing a written exam. Some states, such as Virginia, require certification.
Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a great allied health career field. Many employers favor some kind of formal training usually in the form of an associate's degree, but on-the-job training may be an acceptable method of upward mobility. Check with your local community colleges for more information.