Career Development

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

Find out what a pharmacy technician does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy technicians are an important part of the healthcare team. They work directly with pharmacists to ensure that patients receive the medications they need in a timely fashion. Pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for providing customer service and answering questions about prescription drugs or other pharmacy services.

Pharmacy technicians must complete training programs approved by the National Commission on Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (NCCPT). These programs cover topics such as pharmaceutical calculations, drug interactions, medical terminology, pharmacy law, and patient care.

Pharmacy Technician Job Duties

Pharmacy technicians have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Communicating with physicians regarding drug interactions and side effects of medications
  • Maintaining inventory of medications and supplies
  • Providing information about prescription drug side effects and interactions to patients
  • Maintaining records of all prescriptions filled for each patient, including information about what was prescribed, dosage information, and any other pertinent details
  • Keeping accurate records of all inventory in the pharmacy, including incoming medications from suppliers and outgoing medications to patients
  • Performing routine tasks such as counting tablets or preparing materials needed for dispensing medications
  • Working directly with patients to ensure they understand how to take their medications correctly and are taking them as prescribed
  • Explaining insurance coverage and payment options to patients who cannot afford their medications
  • Filling out insurance forms and processing claims for reimbursement of services rendered

Pharmacy Technician Salary & Outlook

Pharmacy technician salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $38,000 ($18.27/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $53,500 ($25.72/hour)

The employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

As the large baby-boom population ages and people live longer, there will be a greater need for pharmacists to help manage the treatment of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, the increased use of electronic medical records (EMR) is expected to increase demand for pharmacy technicians to input information into these systems.

Related: In-Depth Pharmacy Technician Salary Guide

Pharmacy Technician Job Requirements

A pharmacy technician typically needs to have the following:

Education: Pharmacy technicians are typically required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers prefer candidates who have completed a two-year associate degree program in pharmacy technology. These programs are offered at community colleges and technical schools.

Training & Experience: Most pharmacy technician training will take place on the job. Training may last a few weeks to a month and will include shadowing a current pharmacy technician and performing duties under supervision until the trainee is comfortable enough to complete tasks on their own.

Certifications & Licenses: Depending on the duties and responsibilities of the position, employers may prefer or require certification of a pharmacy technician’s knowledge and skills.

Pharmacy Technician Skills

Pharmacy technicians need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Pharmacy technicians communicate with patients, other pharmacy staff and other medical professionals. They use verbal and written communication skills to explain medical conditions, answer patient questions and provide instructions to other pharmacy staff. Pharmacy technicians also use communication skills to relay information about prescriptions and medical conditions to other medical professionals.

Attention to detail: Pharmacy technicians must be able to pay close attention to detail when measuring ingredients, recording information and preparing prescriptions. Attention to detail can help you ensure the accuracy of prescriptions and prevent any potential health risks for patients.

Organization: Pharmacy technicians must be able to organize their work space and the products they handle. This includes keeping track of inventory, maintaining cleanliness and ensuring that all products are in their proper place. Being organized can help technicians complete their work efficiently and prevent any safety risks.

Technological skills: Pharmacy technicians should have basic computer skills and knowledge of common software programs. They should be able to use a cash register and be comfortable with basic math. Technological skills are necessary for pharmacy technicians because they use computers to enter patient information, operate cash registers and track inventory.

Empathy: Pharmacy technicians often work with patients who are experiencing emotional distress. They must be able to listen to patients and offer them advice and comfort. Pharmacy technicians must also be able to read patients’ body language and understand when a patient is in pain or discomfort.

Pharmacy Technician Work Environment

Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and mail-order pharmacies. They typically work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist and may be responsible for a variety of tasks, such as filling prescriptions, preparing and labeling medications, answering customer questions, and maintaining inventory. Most pharmacy technicians work full time, and some may be required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays. The work can be stressful, and pharmacy technicians must be able to handle a fast-paced work environment and deal with customer inquiries in a professional and courteous manner.

Pharmacy Technician Trends

Here are three trends influencing how pharmacy technicians work. Pharmacy technicians will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Pharmacy Technicians Will Need to Be More Customer-Centric

Pharmacy technicians are increasingly being asked to be more customer-centric in their approach. This means that they need to be able to understand the needs of their customers and provide them with the products that they want.

In order to be successful, pharmacy technicians will need to develop strong interpersonal skills and be able to communicate effectively with customers. They will also need to be familiar with the latest trends in health care and be able to recommend products that are both safe and effective.

The Growing Importance of Patient Care

The role of the pharmacy technician is evolving as patient care becomes more important.

As patients become more involved in their own care, they are looking for professionals who can help them manage their medications and treatments. Pharmacy technicians are well-positioned to take advantage of this trend by becoming experts in patient care services. This includes things like helping patients manage their prescriptions, providing education about medications, and assisting with treatment plans.

A Greater Focus on Preventative Medicine

The trend towards preventative medicine is having a major impact on the pharmacy industry. As people become more interested in staying healthy, they are turning to pharmacists for advice on how to stay healthy.

This trend is creating opportunities for pharmacy technicians who are able to provide valuable advice and recommendations to customers. In order to capitalize on this trend, technicians will need to be knowledgeable about the latest products and services that can help customers stay healthy. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with customers in order to build trust and create lasting relationships.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician career can be a great way to start your healthcare career. As a pharmacy technician, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about different medications and their uses, as well as how pharmacies operate. You’ll also get to work with people from all walks of life, which is an important part of any healthcare career.

To become a pharmacy technician, you’ll need to complete some training and certification programs. These programs will teach you about the medications that are dispensed in pharmacies, as well as the procedures used in pharmacies. They’ll also give you the skills you need to work effectively in a team environment.

Related: How to Write a Pharmacy Technician Resume

Advancement Prospects

Pharmacy technicians can advance their careers by taking on more responsibility, becoming certified, and completing additional education. As they gain experience, pharmacy technicians may be promoted to positions with more responsibility, such as lead technician or supervisor. Some pharmacy technicians may become certified pharmacy technicians (CPTs). Certification demonstrates to employers that the technician has the knowledge and skills necessary to perform the job and can be an important step on the way to advancement.

In addition, pharmacy technicians can advance their careers by completing additional education. Some pharmacy technicians may choose to complete a formal education program to become a registered pharmacist. Others may complete a 2-year associate degree program in pharmacy technology.

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