What is a Pharmacy Technician Job?

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Pharmacy technician jobs require helping a licensed pharmacist to make medications and other products related to health care available to the patients either sent by their doctors or those who rely on the pharmacist to recommend certain health care products. They are under the supervision of the pharmacist and do routine tasks. Counting tablets to ready for a prescription or putting the correct labels on bottles is one of their jobs.

Pharmacy tech jobs may also include other duties such as answering the telephone, making sure shelves are stocked, and also serving as a cashier. The pharmacy technician does not answer health related questions or prescription questions. These are relayed to the pharmacist for him/her to answer.

When you begin your job search for jobs in pharmacy, you will want to be well aware of the requirements for these positions. Since there are different types of pharmaceutical jobs, the requirements for each are different as well. The pharmacy technician who will be working in either a retail or mail-order setting will have a little different job description than those actually working in a pharmacy.



The pharmaceutical jobs in these settings require the technician to take the prescriptions either from the patient or electronically. The latter will come from a doctor’s office. The prescription must be verified. Once this is done, the medication must be counted, poured, weighed, measured, or mixed.

The labels for the prescription must be printed and attached to the medication. When this is finished, the technician must put the price on the medication and file it for the pharmacist to check. No medication is allowed to be dispensed without first being checked by the pharmacist.

The pharmacy technician will make sure the patient’s medication information is put into their file. For recurring prescriptions a supply of up to 24 hours may be filled and put into the medicine cabinets for the pharmacist checks them for accuracy.

In addition to these responsibilities they must also maintain the profiles of the patients for whom prescriptions are filled. The preparation of insurance papers and doing inventory on the medications that are over the counter to ensure redelivery and keeping the products stocked is another job requirement.

As you can see the duties of a pharmacy technician are many and varied. This is why the requirements for pharmaceutical jobs normally require certification by most states. There are some that do not require it but most do. Some employers may require certification even if the state does not. Many are hired with the understanding that certification must be obtained with a certain time.

In order to take the exam to be certified, you must be a high school graduate, have no felony convictions within the previous five years and you cannot have had pharmacy or drug convictions period. There are many pharmacies that have a program to reimburse those who want to take the exam for certification. This encourages the certification and gives the prospective technician an incentive to make sure they pass the test.

The organizations that administer these exams are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. These two organizations administer national certification. Either of these programs require the technician to be recertified every 2 years. The requirement for this includes 20 hours of continuing education within the certification period, one hour of which must be pharmacy law. The 20 hours can come from either college, pharmacy associations, or training programs for pharmacy technicians.

Where would you think the best place to look for a pharmacy technician job would be in the U.S.? Since pharmacy technicians were responsible for about 285,000 people in the workforce, the U.S. states where these jobs will be found vary. There is a high demand for pharmaceutical jobs in Atlanta, Georgia, Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, Baltimore, Maryland, Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington. As you can see, there is not a concentration of pharmaceutical job in one particular area.

What can you expect to make when you become a pharmacy technician? The salary varies as much as the area of the country in which the jobs are plentiful. The average hourly salary of pharmacy technicians were $12.32 with the fifty percent range between $10.10 and $14.92. The highest percentage earned $17.65 per hour and up. The best place to look for higher paying jobs was in the general medical field including surgical hospitals. Surprisingly grocery stores paid higher than pharmacies and drug stores with the latter paying $11.50 and the former paying $12.78 per hour.

Certified pharmacy technicians may earn more and there may be a shift differential for working hours that others do not want. These typically pay a dollar or more per hour. Pharmacy technicians were holders of 285,000 jobs in the U.S.

Pharmacy technicians must work the same hours as the pharmacist since they are under their supervision. The hours will vary and this may well include weekend, holidays, and even nights for pharmacies that are open 24 hours. Many hospitals have their own pharmacies and retail pharmacies are another place that may be open 24 hours. This is a good position for those who are interested in pharmaceutical jobs and there is room for advancement if you are interested in becoming a pharmacist. Taking classes for this advancement while holding a job as a pharmacy technician may be the way to work your way up to becoming a pharmacist.
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