Considering a career as a pharmacy technician? Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work in a pharmacy.
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The Job of a Pharmacy Tech
As a pharmacy tech, you will be responsible for filling prescriptions, answering customer questions, and helping the pharmacist with various tasks. The job can be challenging at times, but it is also rewarding. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of being a pharmacy tech.
Duties of a pharmacy tech
A pharmacy technician is a member of the healthcare team who provides support to pharmacists. They perform tasks that do not require the professional judgment of a licensed pharmacist and do not require a license to practice.
The duties of a pharmacy technician may include, but are not limited to, the following:
-Receiving and verifying prescriptions from patients
-Counting, measuring, and pouring medications prescribed by physicians
-Labeling and packaging medications for dispensing
-Entering patient information into the pharmacy computer system
-Answering the telephone and responding to customer inquiries
-Maintaining inventory levels
The work schedule
The work schedule for a pharmacy tech can be very demanding. They often work long hours, including nights and weekends. They may also have to work on holidays.
The work environment
The work environment for pharmacy technicians can vary depending on the setting. For instance, those who work in hospitals may be on their feet for long periods of time, while those who work in retail pharmacies may have more customer interaction and be required to stand for long periods of time as well.
The Education and Training Required
Before delving too deeply into the field, it’s important to know that a pharmacy technician is a vital part of the healthcare industry. These professionals play an important role in filling and dispensing medications, as well as maintaining inventory. They also provide excellent customer service. Pharmacy technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, and most states regulate pharmacy technicians.
The training process
Although formal education is not required to work as a pharmacy technician, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a pharmacy technician program at a vocational school or community college. These programs typically last one or two years and include both classroom and hands-on training in a pharmacy setting.
During the classroom portion of the program, students learn about important topics such as medical terminology, pharmacology (the study of drugs), and the legal aspects of working in a pharmacy. In the laboratory, students get experience counting pills, measuring medication, and compounding (preparing) prescription medications. They also learn how to use the various types of equipment found in a pharmacy.
Upon completing a pharmacy technician program, graduates must then pass a national certification exam in order to become certified pharmacy technicians. Some states also require certified pharmacy technicians to complete continuing education courses on a regular basis in order to maintain their certification.
The certification process
To become a certified pharmacy technician, you must complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program and pass a national certification exam. Once you have completed these steps, you will be ready to enter the workforce and begin your career in this fast-growing field.
The first step to becoming a certified pharmacy technician is to complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program. These programs are typically offered by community colleges or technical schools and take between six and twelve months to complete. During your training, you will learn about the different roles of a pharmacy technician, as well as the legal and ethical considerations involved in dispensing medications. You will also gain hands-on experience in a variety of pharmacy settings, such as hospitals, retail pharmacies, and long-term care facilities.
Once you have completed an accredited pharmacy technician training program, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam. This exam is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and is used to assess your knowledge of pharmacy practice and principles. To pass the exam, you must correctly answer at least 70% of the multiple-choice questions. Once you have passed the exam, you will be officially certified as a pharmacy technician and can begin working in this exciting field.
The continuing education requirements
To maintain pharmacy technician certification, technicians must complete continuing education (CE) courses. CE courses are offered by many different organizations, including colleges, universities, and pharmacy technicians associations. The type of CE courses that a technician takes will depend on his or her interests and career goals.
The Salary and Job Outlook
Becoming a pharmacy technician can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the medical field. And while the job does have its challenges, it can be a rewarding career. As a pharmacy tech, you can expect to earn a good salary and have a positive job outlook.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $32,000 in 2018. salaries can range from less than $20,610 to more than $47,350. The BLS notes that the highest salaries are found in large retail stores and hospitals.
The job outlook
The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for pharmacy technicians will grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.1
There are several reasons for the growing demand for pharmacy technicians. First, as the population continues to age, there will be an increase in the number of people taking prescription medications. Second, as Advances in medicine and technology lead to new and more complex drugs being developed, pharmacists will need more help dispensing these medications.
Finally, as more and more states adopt laws that allow pharmacists to delegate more tasks to pharmacy technicians, the role of the technician will become increasingly important. For example, some states allow pharmacists to delegate the task of measuring and mixing iv fluids to pharmacy technicians.
If you’re thinking about becoming a pharmacy technician, you can expect to earn a good salary. The median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $33,950 in 2019.2 Pharmacy technicians who worked in hospitals had a median annual salary of $39,810, while those who worked in retail pharmacies had a median annual salary of $32,700.3
The best-paid 10% of pharmacy technicians earned more than $50,430, while the lowest-paid 10% earned less than $23,430.4