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Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They work in retail pharmacies and hospitals.Duties
Pharmacy technicians typically do the following:
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must review prescriptions before they are given to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and call physicians for prescription refill authorizations. Technicians also may need to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.
Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals and other medical facilities prepare a greater variety of medications, such as intravenous medications. They may make rounds in the hospital, giving medications to patients.
Becoming a pharmacy technician usually requires earning a high school diploma or the equivalent. Pharmacy technicians typically learn through on-the-job training, or they may complete a postsecondary education program. Most states regulate pharmacy technicians, which is a process that may require passing an exam or completing a formal education or training program.Education and Training
Many pharmacy technicians learn how to perform their duties through on-the-job training. These programs vary in length and subject matter according to the employer’s requirements.
Other pharmacy technicians enter the occupation after completing postsecondary education programs in pharmacy technology. These programs are usually offered by vocational schools or community colleges. Most programs award a certificate after 1 year or less, although some programs last longer and lead to an associate’s degree. They cover a variety of subjects, such as arithmetic used in pharmacies, recordkeeping, ways of dispensing medications, and pharmacy law and ethics. Technicians also learn the names, uses, and doses of medications. Most programs also include clinical experience opportunities, in which students gain hands-on experience in a pharmacy.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) accredits pharmacy technician programs that include at least 600 hours of instruction over a minimum of 15 weeks. In 2015, there were 286 fully accredited programs, including a few in retail drugstore chains.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Most states regulate pharmacy technicians in some way. Consult state Boards of Pharmacy for particular regulations. Requirements for pharmacy technicians in the states that regulate them typically include some or all of the following:
Some states and employers require pharmacy technicians to be certified. Even where it is not required, certification may make it easier to get a job. Many employers will pay for their pharmacy technicians to take the certification exam.
Two organizations offer certification. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification requires a high school diploma and the passing of an exam. Applicants for the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and have completed a training program or have 1 year of work experience. Technicians must recertify every 2 years by completing 20 hours of continuing education courses.Important Qualities
Customer-service skills. Pharmacy technicians spend much of their time interacting with customers, so being helpful and polite is required of pharmacy technicians in a retail setting.
Detail oriented. Serious health problems can result from mistakes in filling prescriptions. Although the pharmacist is responsible for ensuring the safety of all medications dispensed, pharmacy technicians should pay attention to detail so that complications are avoided.
Listening skills. Pharmacy technicians must communicate clearly with pharmacists and doctors when taking prescription orders. When speaking with customers, technicians must listen carefully to understand customers’ needs and determine if they need to speak with a pharmacist.
Math skills. Pharmacy technicians need to have an understanding of the math concepts used in pharmacies when counting pills and compounding medications.
Organizational skills. Working as a pharmacy technician involves balancing a variety of responsibilities. Pharmacy technicians need good organizational skills to complete the work delegated by pharmacists while at the same time providing service to customers or patients.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Pharmacist Technician
Top Careers After Pharmacist Technician
Hispanic or Latino11.7%
Black or African American0.7%
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University of Phoenix19.6%
Ultimate Medical Academy - Clearwater4.7%
University of Illinois at Chicago4.5%
Southern New Hampshire University4.4%
Wayne State University3.9%
Grand Canyon University3.4%
University of South Florida3.3%
University of Houston3.3%
University of Connecticut3.3%
Virginia Commonwealth University3.2%
University of Central Florida3.1%
George Mason University3.1%
Ohio State University3.1%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Pharmacy Technicians||Franrem Pharmaceuticals, LLC||Baltimore, MD||Jun 27, 2014||$46,958 -
|Pharmacy Technician||Chinraj, LLC||Neptune, NJ||Oct 01, 2010||$40,000|
|Pharmacy Technician||Golden Living Inc.||San Diego, CA||Apr 04, 2011||$38,735|
|Pharmacy Technicians||H&J Pharmaceuticals Inc.||New York, NY||Aug 28, 2009||$36,523|
|Pharmacy Technicians||H&J Pharmaceuticals Inc./San Pedro Pharmacy||New York, NY||Aug 28, 2009||$36,523|
|Pharmacy Technicians||San Pedro Pharmacy||New York, NY||Aug 28, 2009||$36,523|
|Pharmacy Coordinator/Technician||Klein Pharmacy, Inc.||Pelham, NY||Mar 18, 2010||$36,168|
|Pharmacy Coordinator/Technician||Klein Pharmacy, Inc.||Pelham, NY||Mar 18, 2013||$36,168|
|Pharmacy Technicians||House of Arnold Inc.||Baltimore, MD||Sep 17, 2014||$35,672|
|Pharmacy Technician||Kanhi Systems LLC||Passaic, NJ||Sep 01, 2014||$35,479 -
|Pharmacy Technicians||Inwood Pharmacy and Surgical Supply Inc.||Inwood, NY||Sep 30, 2008||$35,360|
|Pharmacy Technician||Joseph Reina Pharmacy, Inc.||NY||Mar 17, 2010||$35,082|
|Pharmacy Technician||Mott Haven Pharmacy and Surgical, Inc.||New York, NY||Jun 01, 2011||$33,392|
|Pharmacy Technician||M4G LLC||Scottsdale, AZ||Sep 02, 2014||$32,469|
|Pharmacy Technician||M4G LLC||Scottsdale, AZ||Sep 04, 2014||$32,469|
|Pharmacy Technician||M4G LLC||Scottsdale, AZ||Sep 21, 2013||$32,240|
|Pharmacy Technicians||H&J Pharmaceuticals Inc.||New York, NY||Aug 20, 2009||$31,347|
|Pharmacy Technician||Boca Pharmacy Group||New York, NY||Aug 27, 2008||$31,305|
|Pharmacy Technicians||Goodcare Pharmacy, Inc.||Washington, DC||Jan 22, 2014||$30,576|
|Pharmacy Technician||Vital Health Tech||Clifton, NJ||Dec 17, 2009||$30,303|
|Pharmacy Technician||MGFN, P.C. D/B/A The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy||New London, CT||May 22, 2008||$30,262|
|Pharmacy Technician||New Hollis Inc.||NY||Oct 01, 2011||$30,000|
|Pharmacy Technician||New York College of Health Professions||Syosset, NY||Oct 01, 2009||$30,000|
|Pharmacy Technician||H & J Pharmaceuticals, Inc.||New York, NY||Feb 02, 2012||$30,000|
|Pharmacy Technicians||Phamco Inc. DBA Colonial Drugs and Surgicals||Greenport, NY||May 21, 2010||$29,844|
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