Career as a Pharmacy Technician
Learn about your daily duties and responsibilities as a pharmacy technician.
What you’ll do: Pharmacy technicians work closely with licensed pharmacists to ensure safe and accurate handling of patient prescriptions. You’ll assist with counting pills, measuring medications, labeling products and verifying prescriptions from doctors. With patients, you’ll accept payments, process and track insurance claims, and maintain patient records.
Where you’ll work: Pharmacies, including those in grocery and drug stores; hospitals.
Degree you’ll need to practice: High school diploma; some states require postsecondary certificates.
Median annual salary: $29,810*
As a pharmacy technician, you’ll be the liaison between pharmacists and patients. Primarily, you’ll count and measure medications, package them and verify that packages have the correct contents. Your pharmacist must review all prescriptions before they’re dispensed. If a customer has a question about the medication or health matters, you’ll refer them to the pharmacist.
In a hospital environment, you may prepare a greater variety of medications, including intravenous medications. Part of your job may involve making rounds and giving medications to patients at appropriate times.
Employment prospects for pharmacy technicians are strong through 2022, due to advances in pharmaceutical research and to an aging population. Technicians with formal training, who work in retail settings, may have the best prospects.
Although certification isn’t required by every state, becoming certified as a pharmacy technician may improve your job options. Many employers will pay for their technicians to take a certification exam. Check with your state’s requirements and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
If you enjoy working in the pharmacy, you may wish to advance in the medical field by pursuing pharmacist training. Becoming a pharmacist requires earning a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited school, the passing of exams and licensure.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Pharmacy Technicians.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
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