What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

A pharmacy technician is a professional who helps licensed pharmacists dispense medications and other healthcare products to patients.

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Job Description

A pharmacy technician is a health care professional who works in a pharmacy. They perform various tasks such as handling customer inquiries, stocking shelves, and preparing medications. A typical day in the life of a pharmacy technician may include answering phone calls, responding to customer inquiries, stocking shelves, and preparing medications.

Duties of a pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the daily operations of a pharmacy. They are responsible for receiving and processing prescriptions, maintaining inventory, and providing customer service. In some states, they may also be responsible for measuring and preparing medications.

Pharmacy technicians typically have an associate’s degree or certificate from a pharmacy technician program. Some states require pharmacy technicians to be registered or certified. The National Healthcare Association offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

The duties of a pharmacy technician vary depending on the state they practice in, but generally include:
-Receiving and processing prescription orders from patients and healthcare providers
-Entering patient information into the pharmacy system
-Maintaining inventory levels
-Preparing medications for dispensing
-Providing customer service
-Ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations

Education and Training

Anyone considering a career as a pharmacy technician will need to complete a formal education and training program. Most programs take about one year to complete, although some pharmacy technician programs may take up to two years to complete.

Pharmacy technician programs

There are many different pharmacy technician programs available, both online and in-person. Most programs will take between six and twelve months to complete, and will cover topics like medical ethics, pharmacology, and customer service. Some programs may also require externship hours in a real pharmacy setting. Once you have completed a pharmacy technician program, you will need to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam to become certified.

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Certification

Certification is not required in all states, but most employers prefer to hire certified pharmacy technicians. Certification shows that an individual has the knowledge and skills needed to perform the tasks of a pharmacy technician. There are two Options for certification. The first is to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). The second option is to take the ExCPT exam administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA).

Work Environment

Most pharmacy technicians work in clean, well-lit, and well-ventilated areas in drugstores, hospitals, and grocery stores. Some technicians may work in patients’ homes. They may work full time or part time.

Hospitals

Hospital pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to dispense medications to patients. They may also be responsible for stocking shelves and preparing medications for pharmacists to dispense. Some hospital pharmacy technicians may also take on additional responsibilities such as ordering medications and preparing intravenous solutions.

In most cases, hospital pharmacy technicians work full time, though some may work part time or on an as-needed basis. Hours may be irregular, and some positions may require night, weekend, or holiday shifts.

Retail pharmacies

Retail pharmacies are the most common type of pharmacy. They are found in drugstores, supermarkets, and mass merchandisers with pharmacy departments. Many also have clinic services for vaccinations, blood pressure checks, and other health screenings. Some retail pharmacies are open 24 hours a day.

Community pharmacies usually have a pharmacist and one or two pharmacy technicians on staff. The pharmacist is responsible for ensuring that prescriptions are filled correctly and that patients receive the correct medication and dose. The pharmacy technician performs many of the same tasks as the pharmacist, such as measuring medications, preparing prescription labels, and answering customer questions. But technicians also do tasks that do not require a pharmacist’s supervision, such as taking inventory and stocking shelves.

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Hospital pharmacies are found in medical centers, clinics, and hospitals. They dispense medications to patients who are staying in the hospital or who come to the hospital for outpatient procedures. Hospital pharmacists also prepare IV solutions and other medications that must be given through special drip lines or pumps. They also perform clinical duties such as drug therapy reviews and patient counseling.

Mail-order pharmacies

Mail-order pharmacies are becoming an increasingly popular option for health care consumers who wish to save money and have more convenience in managing their medications. These pharmacies provide a wide range of services, including prescription drug and over-the-counter product ordering, home delivery, refill reminders, and online account management.

While mail-order pharmacies have many advantages, there are also some potential disadvantages to using this type of service. For example, mail-order pharmacies may not be able to provide the same level of personal service as a local pharmacy. In addition, there may be delays in receiving your medications if the mail system is having difficulty delivering your package.

If you are considering using a mail-order pharmacy, be sure to investigate the options available to you and compare the costs and services offered by each provider.

Salary and Job Outlook

Pharmacy technicians play an important role in the healthcare industry. They are responsible for preparing and dispensing medications under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $32,700 in 2018. The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

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Salary

As of May 2019, the median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $33,950, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,920, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,770.

Pay for pharmacy technicians may vary by employer and location. For example, those employed in hospitals generally earn more than those who work in retail pharmacies. And technicians working in metropolitan areas usually earn more than those employed in rural areas.

Job outlook

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is positive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of pharmacy technicians will grow 9 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and a growing use of prescription medications will lead to an increasing demand for pharmacy technicians in hospitals, clinics, retail pharmacies, and other healthcare settings.

As of May 2019, the median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $32,700.

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