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What Is the Job Description for Pharmacy Technician?

Posted by on June 29, 2020 in Careers with 0 Comments

Pharmacy technicians are a vital part of a functioning pharmacy, whether it be a retail operation, in-house pharmacy at a nursing home, or even at a hospital. But what does a technician actually do? What tasks are they responsible for? If you’ve ever wanted to become a pharmacy tech, these questions have probably crossed your mind more than once.

Pharmacy technicians are part of a growing field of medicine that’s expected to remain at about 7% growth for the next decade. In fact, most of the healthcare field is predicted to grow over the next decade, so there will be jobs available to new graduates, depending on the demand in specific states/areas.

Are you caring, compassionate, and dependable? Do you like helping others and assisting in a greater good? Becoming a pharmacy tech might just be the best option for you, but let’s take a closer look at what a technician actually does on a daily basis.

Rough Definition

Before we get into the specifics of different pharmacy environments, let’s look at a rough pharmacy technician job description:

A pharmacy technician works under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist to dispense medications, be it prescription or over the counter medications, to customers or health professionals. Technicians will also assist in any duties required by the pharmacist, including handling certain paperwork and other pharmacy-related tasks.

Essentially, you’re something of an assistant to the pharmacist. Working with other technicians, you’ll help keep the pharmacy running smoothly and ensure that prescriptions are delivered with professionalism and punctuality to customers and other health professionals.

Your duties can change depending on the environment you work in. Here are some examples to look at.

Retail Pharmacy

The classic CVS, Walgreens, or Rite-Aid pharmacy allows you to work with customers on a daily basis. Not only will you be providing customers with medications and information on their medications, but you’ll also be operating the register alongside any other duties required by your employer and the pharmacist.

Certain retail pharmacies actually have their own pharmacy training programs, but usually, they’re only open to current employees. This is a great way to go from a simple store associate to a pharmacy technician position and maybe even beyond that to a pharmacist position later on in your career!

Retail pharmacy pretty much covers any retail store that also contains a pharmacy, even if it’s not centered around the pharmacy itself (like Wal-Mart). If you enjoy customer service and working in a retail environment, this is the best choice for you.

Nursing Homes

Some long-term care facilities also employ pharmacy technicians to assist with filling prescriptions, delivering medications, and other duties assigned by the pharmacist/nursing staff.

Hospitals

Another option is working in a hospital. Since a hospital is operational 24/7, 365 days per year, it needs to have a constantly rotating staff of certified professionals to keep things operating properly. This includes an on-site pharmacist and pharmacy technicians to help fill prescriptions and deliver them. You’ll likely get a better salary if you start out working in a hospital, but you can probably expect much longer shifts than in a retail environment or even a nursing home.

Mail-Order Pharmacy

Like everything else in our modern world, even pharmacies have taken to the internet to provide mail-order products. A mail-order pharmacy often has fewer overhead costs than a retail operation and processes thousands of medications on a daily basis. As a pharmacy technician, you’ll be responsible for helping this process by operating medication dispensers and performing any other duties required.

Independent Pharmacies

Yes, there are still smaller pharmacies left and you may be able to find employment in one. These small pharmacies are under constant threat from larger retail operations, and usually have a loyal customer base that you’ll grow to appreciate.

How Do I Start?

If any of this sounds appealing to you, you can get started right away earning a pharmacy technician certification. You’ll need to have a high school diploma or GED to enroll, as well as any other program-specific requirements. Some programs take as little as 10-12 months to complete, so you could be on your way to an exciting new career in a fraction of the time that other programs take.

A pharmacy technician program will also offer you the chance to work under a pharmacist for hands-on experience. Most state medical boards actually require that technicians have a certain number of hands-on hours in order to get certified. Be sure to check with your program and your state’s specific requirements.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You’re well on your way to becoming a certified pharmacy technician and helping people on a daily basis get their life-saving medications. You’ll find the career both rewarding and challenging, and there’s plenty of room to advance if you choose to pursue a pharmacist’s license. Remember that a pharmacy technician is a crucial component of a successful pharmacy, so you’ll be filling a much-needed role. Enjoy your new career as a pharmacy technician!

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