Pharmacy Technician

Job Description

Do you enjoy the sciences and working with people? If so, a position as a Pharmacy Technician may be right for you.

Working under the direct supervision of a licensed Pharmacist, a Pharmacy Tech performs a wide variety of critical pharmacy-related functions. A Pharmacy Tech refers questions regarding medication information, prescriptions, or health matters directly to the Pharmacist.

Most people in this position work in pharmacies and drugstores, but clinics and hospitals also employ in-house staff to service patients. Pharmacy Technicians can also work in the military, in-home health care settings, long-term care facilities, mail-order pharmacies, managed health care organizations, and educational programs.

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 Background

This position requires an associate degree in pharmaceutical technology; a bachelor’s degree is preferred. A valid state certification is also required.

Skills and Competencies

  • 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

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Pharmacy Technician with

1 year of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $33,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $31,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $33,000
  • Miami, Florida: $31,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $33,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $33,000
  • Houston, Texas: $36,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $35,000
  • New York, New York: $37,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $38,000
  • Overall: $34,000

5 years of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $34,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $35,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $37,000
  • Miami, Florida: $36,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $35,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $40,000
  • Houston, Texas: $49,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $50,000
  • New York, New York: $50,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $40,000
  • Overall: $41,000

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Career Path

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.

Position Trends

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.

Job Outlook

The market for Pharmacy Technicians is anticipated to grow at a considerable rate in the next handful of years. Job growth should be approximately seven percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate is considered faster than average.

Typical Work Hours

Although some Pharmacy Technicians work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, many work extended hours due to pharmacies and drug stores being open at nights and on weekends.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Zip Recruiter
  • Explore Health Careers

Are You Interested in Becoming a Pharmacy Technician?

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