Pharmacy TechnicianJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist to dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They typically work in retail pharmacies, but some are employed in clinical or hospital pharmacies. They receive prescriptions either electronically or over the counter and are responsible for ensuring the prescriptions are valid. They must have excellent attention to detail to select the correct medicine and fill the order with the correct amount and dosage.
Other typical tasks of a pharmacy technician are providing excellent customer service, making sure the pharmacy runs smoothly and orders are filled in a timely manner, and monitoring inventory. They may also have to contact distributors for back-ordered medicines. A pharmacy technician has a high level of responsibility and must be accurate and reliable. Pharmacy technicians must have a good working knowledge of medication and dosage requirements and must comply with all security measures and quality standards.
Sample job description
Pharmacy technicians needed at [Your Company Name!] A pharmacy technician is the middle between the client and the pharmacists. One task required in this job is filling and delivering the prescriptions to clients. This is why a basic understanding of medicine, proven from possible certification or experience in the field, is required. If you work in a hospital as a pharmacy technician, preparing and distributing medicines and IVs will be inevitable. You will speak with clients directly, collecting and entering data about them. On top of all this, it will be on your shoulders to organize, count, and prepare the inventory. Safe and effective use of medicines will be up to the pharmacy technician, ensuring clients and patients get the most out of their medicines. Depending on your location chosen with this position, your job restrictions may vary due to legal reasons. If it sounds like this is a fitting job for you, and you have confidence in your ability to complete the described tasks, then please apply.
Typical duties and responsibilities
Receive written prescription or refill requests and verify that the information is complete and accurate
Answer telephones, responding to questions or requests
Establish or maintain patient profiles, including lists of medications taken by each patient
Order, label, and count stock of drugs, chemicals, or supplies and enter inventory data into computer
Operate a cash register to accept payment from customers
Mix pharmaceutical preparations, according to written prescriptions
Compute charges for medication or equipment dispensed to hospital patients and enter data into computer
Education and experience
This position requires an associate degree in pharmaceutical technology; a bachelor’s degree is preferred. A valid state certification is also required.
Required skills and qualifications
Knowledge of dosage administration and measurement, chemical compounds, medical brands, etc.
Knowledge of medication names, actions, uses, and doses
Expertise in pharmacy law and medical terminology
Excellent verbal communication and customer-service skills
Experience with an online prescription system is a plus
Up to date certifications proving continued education
2+ years working at a pharmacy or clinic
Knowledge of common prescription drugs and how they are prescribed
Ability to work with a wide variety of prescriptions and medical needs
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a pharmacy technician is $42,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
As a pharmacy technician, you may work in a variety of health-related places. This may be a hospital, a pharmacy, care homes, patient’s homes, or GP practices. You must have communication skills to speak with clients and pharmacists, gathering the knowledge needed to thrive in your field. This includes the ability to handle upset or impatient clients. Because the healthcare field is needed day and night, expect hours to differ from a regular 9 to 5. This may include night shifts, early morning, evening, and more. If you prefer independent working with little to no human interaction, mail-order pharmacies may be a good fit.
Although some pharmacy technicians work 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, many work extended hours due to pharmacies and drug stores being open at nights and on weekends.
Being a pharmacy requires at least a degree, and having a certification for this position can be immensely beneficial due to the technical nature of the job:
PTCB. If you wish to advance your career, this may be one of the best options. It is a widely recognized certification to prove your knowledge in the field. Employers will prefer the completion of this test, and some will require it.
ExCPT. The Exam For Certified Pharmacy Technicians is an exam designed to prove your worth in the field, possibly giving you higher pay. This exam has a higher passing rate than the PTCB and only costs $115.
The career path for this position starts by completing a formal pharmacy technician education program and earning an associate degree, diploma, or certification. Often these programs include an internship with hands-on training. A valid state certification is also required.
This path can often have opportunities for advancement based on experience and performance. Also, with increasing seniority pharmacy technicians often have more control over the hours they work.
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 29-2052
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Americans are taking more medicine than ever before, especially prescription drugs. This upward trend in the consumption of medicine would seem to boost the need for more pharmacy techs. However, more and more consumers are buying their medications online or through mail order, which leads to fewer positions available in retail settings.
Demand for pharmacy techs in health care settings such as hospitals and clinics is likely to increase, as well as in the military, at in-home health care settings, long-term care facilities, managed health care organizations, and in educational programs.
Sample interview questions
Are you comfortable working with sensitive patient information?
How do you keep information confidential?
How much experience do you have filling or delivering prescriptions?
How do you validate a prescription?
If you notice the same patient coming back and demanding more refills than necessary, how do you handle this?
How would you handle a disgruntled customer?
Do you have the ability to communicate with clients and coworkers?
Overall, are you organized?
Are you a perfectionist?
Are you okay with hours outside of a 9-5?
Do you have any experience in the medical field?
How would you respond if a client was unhappy about wait times for their medicine?
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