In today’s growing world of healthcare, pharmacies play a critical role in ensuring the safe delivery of medications to patients.
When you walk into a pharmacy, you see a team of dedicated professionals who ensure the smooth operation of the pharmacy and play a vital role in your healthcare journey. These professionals are known as Pharmacy Technicians.
This article will brief you on the role of pharmacy technicians, their responsibilities, and the crucial contributions they make to the healthcare system.
How would you define a ‘Pharmacy Technician?’
A pharmacy technician is a skilled healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. These individuals are trained to provide technical support and assistance in various pharmacy settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.
They play a significant role in ensuring the accurate preparation, distribution, and management of medications.
Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician
- Medication Dispensing: Did you know that Pharmacy Technicians work with Pharmacists to ensure medications are handled properly, and patients receive the correct treatment? This is an essential aspect of the pharmaceutical industry.Pharmacy Technicians work closely with Pharmacists and help them interpret prescriptions, measure, and package medications, and ensure appropriate labeling.
- Inventory Management: Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive uninterrupted care and that there are no shortages of medications. They do this by responsibly managing the inventory of medications and supplies, keeping everything organized and readily available.This efficient stock management contributes to the smooth functioning of the pharmacy and ultimately benefits the patients.
- Prescription Processing: Pharmacy technicians have the important task of gathering and entering patient information, insurance details, and medication orders into the pharmacy’s computer system.They take care of all the necessary paperwork and ensure that everything is accurately recorded to ensure that the entire process runs smoothly, creating a hassle-free experience for the patients.
- Patient Assistance and Consultation: Pharmacy technicians often interact directly with patients to address their queries related to medication usage, its side effects, and general health information.
What does it require to become a Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians generally link patients and pharmacists. If you are someone who despises clinical work but loves to help patients, starting your career as a Pharmacy Tech can be a great option.
To become a Pharmacy Technician, you can follow these general steps:
Step 1 – Obtain Your High School Diploma
Most pharmacy technician programs & national pharmacies require a high school diploma. So, it usually becomes necessary to hold a high school diploma.
Step 2 – Complete your Pharmacy technician training
Pharmacy technician training programs can be classified into different categories based on various factors.
Here are some common classifications:
- Full-Time Programs: You can get your training from certification or diploma programs at a college or a University. These programs can take 1-2 years to complete
- Online Programs: If you want to learn from the comfort of your home, you can choose an online program. They are convenient and self-paced. Ensure you enroll in an accredited training program. However, we recommend online programs due to the many advantages they offer, such as affordable tuition fees, the ability to learn at your own pace and time schedule, and externship opportunities once you finish the course.
Step 3 – Obtain your Certification
Want to stand apart from other pharmacy techs? Get certified!
Certification exams are conducted by institutions like the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). When you clear these examinations, you’re a Certified Pharmacy Technician. It is recommended to enroll in a program that prepares you to get certified.
Step 4- Gain Practical Knowledge
Having some experience working in a pharmacy can be important. Any hands-on experience, especially working in a pharmacy, can come in handy while looking for entry-level positions. After completing your education, you can go for externships or internships to gain practical experience.
Step 5- Apply for Your License
Next, you need to apply for a pharmacy tech license. This process can vary depending on where you live, but generally, it involves submitting an application, passing a background check, and paying the necessary fee.
Step 6- Update your resume and start job hunting.
Search for job opportunities in pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings. You can also upload your resume on Job Board sites like Indeed.
Here’s our detailed guide about this career: How To Become a Pharmacy Technician & How Long Does it Take to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Job Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031. Over the next decade, around 43,500 job openings for pharmacy technicians are projected each year.
Pharmacy Technician Salary
The Pharmacy Technician’s Salary can vary depending on several factors, including the state in which they work, their level of experience, and the type of employer.
According to BLS, The national average salary for pharmacy technicians in the United States is around $36,740 annually.
However, it’s important to note that these figures can change over time due to inflation, market demand, and changes in healthcare policies.
Where can Pharmacy Technicians Work?
Pharmacy technicians are hired by a variety of healthcare-related organizations, including:
- Retail pharmacies: One common place where pharmacy technicians work is in retail pharmacies. You can find them in chain pharmacies, independent pharmacies, and grocery store pharmacies. In these settings, they assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, interacting with patients, and maintaining inventory.
- Government agencies: Public health departments, military healthcare facilities, and correctional institutions may hire pharmacy technicians to assist in pharmacy operations and medication management. Pharmacy technicians in these government agencies need to be well-trained, detail-oriented, and able to adapt to the unique requirements of each setting.
- Independent pharmacies: There are several local, independent pharmacies that hire techs. They are generally privately owned by an individual.
- Hospital pharmacies: Hospital pharmacies are another common workplace for pharmacy technicians. Here, they support the pharmacy team in preparing and distributing medications to patients within the hospital. They may also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure the right medications are provided on time.
Secondly, you may also work as a Traveling Pharmacy Technician where you will get the opportunity to work at different locations.
Here’s More: Where Can Pharmacy Technicians Work
Pharmacy technicians are the backbone of the healthcare system, working diligently to ensure the safe and effective management of medications.
A Day In The Life Of a Pharmacy Technician involves diverse responsibilities ranging from inventory management to patient consultation, pharmacy technicians provide invaluable support to pharmacists. (Related: Pharmacy Assistant vs Pharmacy Technician)
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