Pharmacy Tech Guide

The healthcare industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and as institutions grow and change they open up opportunities for a wide range of different professionals. Certain careers are always in high demand, from the most highly skilled and trained to the most basic. One of the best entry-level careers in healthcare is that of the Pharmacy Technician. These highly trained specialists have an important role to play in the case of almost every patient who receives medical treatment.

At Partnership For Healthcare we will guide you through what you need to become a Pharmacy Tech and help you get started by helping to match you with the best Pharmacy Tech School for your needs. You can even request information from your preferred schools with the click of a button. It’s fast and best of all it’s free!

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Your Pharmacy Technician Career Questions;

Key FactsDetail
Educational RequirementsMost States will require a minimum a high school education and industry certification to work in this career
Average Annual Salary$31,680
Average Salary Range $20,950 to $48,500 (depending on experience and location)
Number in Employment (2016)382,959
Employment OutlookGood
Work EnvironmentsHospitals, Outpatient clinics, private clinics, offices of Physicians, Drug Stores
Related Careers Vet Tech, Dental Assistants, Medical Assistant

What does a Pharmacy Tech do?

As the title of the job implies, a pharmacy technician is a professional with the training and experience needed to handle the nitty gritty details of pharmacy work. They support pharmacists, manage inventory and records, prepare medications, fill prescriptions, and often interact with patients. Technicians are responsible for completing sensitive work independently, and they need a high degree of training on drug effects and interactions.

There are two broad divisions in the pharmacy technician’s trade. Some technicians work in hospitals, where they serve as the vital link between pharmacists and caregivers like doctors and nurses. Patient interaction is usually limited in this setting, but hospital technicians need a very wide range of experience. The other division is retail or outpatient work. This involves working much more closely with patients, and may involve handling financial transactions.

Even though pharmacy technicians (particularly outpatient techs) speak with patients on a regular basis, they have to exercise caution and refrain from giving medical advice or suggesting changes in the patient’s treatment. This produces a rather grey area in practice, as technicians have a body of experience with drugs that few other medical professionals can match.

Pharmacy technicians are not authorized to write prescriptions or dispense medication without the express approval of their supervising pharmacists. While good pharmacists are receptive to their technicians’ input, they’re not under any obligation to heed their advice. This can be frustrating for experienced techs.

Required Education And Skills

Pharmacy technicians are licensed and regulated in ways which vary from State to State. Those interested in becoming technicians should start by checking with their State’s Board of Pharmacy to review the local requirements. In most States, both a national certification (administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) and a State registration are required.

Educational programs designed to prepare students for certification and registration are generally administered by community and technical colleges. Program lengths vary, but more than a year of instruction is rare. Longer programs that feature in-depth instruction tend to produce better results and open up more career options.

What Makes A Great Pharmacy Technician

As noted above, pharmacy technicians play a critical role in the healthcare industry. More than any other quality, attention to detail is the hallmark of a good technician. Accuracy counts, both in handling medication and maintaining patient records. Mistakes in this field can be life-threatening, and a sloppy pharmacy technician will not last long.

A certain level of facility with interpersonal communications and customer service is also required to do the job. This applies both to outward contact with patients (interpreting needs, answering questions, dispensing medication) and inward consultation with other healthcare professionals (advising pharmacists, working with doctors, taking instructions). Customer service is especially important for pharmacy techs working in the retail sector, as their interactions with patients will impact the success of the pharmacy as a whole.

Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great way to get into the healthcare industry fast and start making a difference. The education and training required is relatively easy to master. The inner talents that make a technician great are harder to find, though. Pharmacy technicians that have both the technical know-how and the interpersonal skills to do their jobs well will find themselves with no shortage of great work opportunities.

Getting Started

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