It is the primary job responsibility of the pharmacy technician to assist the licensed pharmacist in providing medications and related health care items to patients. The actual job description of the pharmacy technician may vary dependent on whether their employment is hospital or retail based.

In general, the technician will perform routine medication related tasks such as verifying prescriptions,dispensing medications, counting pills, preparing inventories, computer data entry, and labeling of prescription bottles. Hospital based pharmacy technicians may also require some additional job responsibilities such as transporting medications, picking up physician orders, and compounding of some medications. The work will in all cases be under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. They also may perform administrative tasks such as stocking shelves, answering phones, and preparing insurance forms.

As the pharmacy technician will be working with both patients and customers as well as other medical professionals strong customer service skills and a professional demeanor are very important.

Pharmacy Technician Training

A great many pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training. Most employers however will give preference to those with some degree of formal training and/or certification. Formal education is offered by some community colleges, vocational / technical schools, the military, and some proprietary schools.

Certification as a pharmacy technician is voluntary in most states, however is likely to be a requirement of some employers. The two organizations offering national certification exams are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. With either program it is necessary for the technician to be recertified every 2 years.

Pharmacy Technician Jobs

The majority of pharmacy technicians (71% in 2006) find employment in retail pharmacies. They may be either independently owned or part of a drugstore chain, department store, or grocery chain. Hospitals comprise the next largest employer of pharmacy technicians. A much smaller number work in mail order / internet pharmacies, physician offices, and the federal government.

According to Bureau of Labor and Statistics the job opportunities for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase at a much faster than average rate through the year 2016 and are anticipated to be very good.

Related Reference Materials

Delmar's Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Review
Mosby's Pharmacy Technician: Principles and Practice

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