Pharmacy Technician Job Description: Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to patients. Technicians usually perform routine tasks to help prepare prescribed medication for patients, such as counting tablets and labeling bottles. Technicians refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians who work in retail or mail-order pharmacies have varying responsibilities, depending on State rules and regulations. Technicians receive written prescriptions or requests for prescription refills from patients. They also may receive prescriptions sent electronically from the doctor’s office. They must verify that the information on the prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription, technicians must retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix the medication.
Then, they prepare the prescription labels, select the type of
prescription container, and affix the prescription and auxiliary labels to the
container. Once the prescription is filled, technicians price and file the
prescription, which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to the
patient. Technicians may establish and maintain patient profiles, prepare
insurance claim forms, and stock and take inventory of prescription and
In hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted-living facilities, technicians have added responsibilities, including reading patients’ charts and preparing and delivering the medicine to patients. Still, the pharmacist must check the order before it is delivered to the patient. The technician then copies the information about the prescribed medication onto the patient’s profile.
Technicians also may assemble a 24-hour supply of medicine for every patient. They package and label each dose separately. The packages are then placed in the medicine cabinets of patients until the supervising pharmacist checks them for accuracy. The packages are then given to the patients.
Pharmacy technicians work in clean, organized, well-lighted, and well-ventilated areas. Most of their workday is spent on their feet. They may be required to lift heavy boxes or to use stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves.
Technicians work the same hours that pharmacists work. These may include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays, particularly in facilities, such as hospitals and retail pharmacies, that are open 24 hours a day. As their seniority increases, technicians often acquire increased control over the hours they work. There are many opportunities for part-time work in both retail and hospital settings.
Training and Qualifications - what you have to do to be an Pharmacist Technician
Although most pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training, employers favor those who have completed formal training and certification. However, there are currently few State and no Federal requirements for formal training or certification of pharmacy technicians. Employers who have insufficient resources to give on-the-job training often seek formally educated pharmacy technicians. Formal education programs and certification emphasize the technician’s interest in and dedication to the work. In addition to the military, some hospitals, proprietary schools, vocational or technical colleges, and community colleges offer formal education programs.
Certification is achieved by passing a national exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Successful pharmacy technicians are alert, observant,
organized, dedicated, and responsible. They should be willing and able to take
directions. They must be precise; details are sometimes a matter of life and
death. Although a pharmacist must check and approve all their work, they should
be able to work independently without constant instruction from the pharmacist.
Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy technicians cannot have prior records
of drug or substance abuse.
Strong interpersonal and communication skills are needed because pharmacy technicians interact daily with patients, coworkers, and health care professionals. Teamwork is very important because technicians often are required to work with pharmacists, aides, and other technicians.
Licensing and Credentialing
Some states may regulate or license these allied healthcare professionals. Check with the state board of healthcare licensure in your state to be sure about licensure for pharmacy technicians.
Significant Points for Pharmacist Technician Job Description
Job opportunities are expected to be good
for full-time and part-time work, especially for those with certification or
previous work experience.
Many technicians work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
About 7 out of 10 of jobs are in retail pharmacies, grocery stores, department stores, or mass retailers.
Advancement - chances for promotion
Job opportunities will be better than average. Increased reliance on pharmacy technicians for routine pharmacy tasks and an ability to adapt to new technology will fuel demand for these allied healthcare workers. Many pharmacy tech go on to become fully qualified pharmacists.