Pharmacy Technician Responsibilities
Being a pharmacy technician can be a fascinating and financially rewarding career path for many different types of individuals. Pharmacy technicians have certain educational requirements and daily responsibilities. Once people learn more about this field, it is a career that many are open to pursuing.
While individual state governments and the federal government do not currently have any minimum educational standards or criteria to become a pharmacy technician, nearly every pharmacy or hospital does. To become a technician, an individual has to enroll in an accredited program of pharmacy technology for between six months and two years, depending on the individual college or technical or trade school.
Then, they have to become nationally certified in their field by passing the written test of the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination. This qualifies them to work in almost any pharmacy in the country. Some pharmacy technicians also hold Associate degrees in a scientific field, such as chemistry, biology, or biochemistry, and have taken separate courses in pathology and pharmacology. These aren't mandatory like the certification examination is. Many techs pursue further study and become fully-licensed pharmacists later in their careers after additional requisite schooling.
Pharmacy technician responsibilities include a wide variety of tasks. Pharmacy technician duties center around filling prescriptions that are either brought in, telephoned in, or faxed in by physicians, nurses, nurse's assistants, and by patients themselves. They have to locate the correct medication that is written on the prescription. Then they pour it or dispense the correct number of pills, and then they choose the right prescription bottle size for the pills or tablets to fit in. They type up the patients name, address, and the name of the doctor, along with the instructions on how to take the pills and how often to take them. They also answer phones, work at the cash register, and even stock shelves both behind and in front of the pharmacy counter.
Who Would Be Interested in this Career?
Individuals who are fascinated with the field of medicine and healthcare but who don't want to pursue exhaustive years of advanced educational training would enjoy quickly getting into these fields by becoming a pharmacy technician. They should also like to communicate with people and be detail-oriented, since dispensing pills all day and measuring the correct dosages can be quite tedious and sometimes repetitive. They should also have a flair for science and a desire to learn the names, indications, and side effects of literally hundreds of different medications for a multitude of minor and major acute and chronic medical diseases and conditions.
According to the bureau of labor statistics, the median national salary of pharmacy technicians in this country is between $21,390 and $31,200 per year. Those techs who have more experience and have been promoted to a managerial capacity in addition to their pharmacy technician functions will earn substantially more. The geographical area is important when it comes to which technicians earn the most money due to higher costs of living.