- Job Description
- Education and Certification
- Skills Needed
- Salary and Job Outlook
If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, there are a few things you should know. From the necessary education to the essential skills, this blog post will fill you in on everything you need to know to get started in this rewarding career.
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As a pharmacy technician, you will be responsible for many different tasks in the pharmacy. You will need to be able to understand and follow instructions from the pharmacist. You will also need to be able to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals. You will need to be organized and detail-oriented. You will also need to be able to work under pressure.
Duties of a pharmacy technician
A pharmacy technician is an individual who assists a licensed pharmacist in various tasks related to the preparation and distribution of medications. A pharmacy technician’s duties vary depending on the state in which they work, but generally include:
-Receiving and entering prescription orders into the computer
-Preparing and labeling medications
-Packaging and shipping medications
-Answering customer questions
In order to become a pharmacy technician, one must typically complete a formal training program and pass a certification exam. Some states also require pharmacy technicians to be licensed.
What pharmacy technicians do on a day-to-day basis
Pharmacy technicians generally work in hospitals, clinics, and retail pharmacies. They work closely with pharmacists to fill prescriptions and provide customer service.
On a typical day, a pharmacy technician may:
-Receive and process prescriptions from doctors and nurses
-Input patient information into the computer system
-Count pills and measure liquids to prepare medications for pharmacists to dispense
-Package and label medications for distribution
-Answer customer questions about medications
Education and Certification
To become a pharmacy technician, you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete an accredited pharmacy technician program and pass a certification exam. In some states, you may also need to be licensed. Let’s take a look at what you need to know to become a pharmacy technician.
What education is required to become a pharmacy technician
Pharmacy technicians typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education, and most states regulate pharmacy technicians. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a formal training program and, in some cases, certification. Although certification is not required in all states, it may be helpful in securing a job and advancing in one’s career.
Most pharmacy technician programs award a certificate or diploma after successful completion of the program. These programs typically take one year or less to complete and are offered by technical schools, community colleges, and vocational schools. Some states have registration or licensure requirements for pharmacy technicians; however, these requirements vary from state to state.
Certification requirements for pharmacy technicians
In order to work as a pharmacy technician, you will need to have a certification from one of the many pharmacy technician certification boards. The requirements for each certification board differ, but in general, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program, and pass a national certification exam. Once you have passed the exam, you will need to renew your certification every two years by completing continuing education credits.
Though a pharmacy technician job description may vary by employer most will require basic customer service, computer, and math skills. Many employers will also require a pharmacy technician to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may require certification or on-the-job training. Let’s explore some of the skills you may need to get hired as a pharmacy technician.
Hard skills needed to be a pharmacy technician
While customer service skills are important for pharmacy technicians, employers also heavily weigh technical skills when hiring. After all, pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication, which requires a good deal of knowledge and precision. Most notably, employers want to see applicants with the following hard skills:
-Basic math: You’ll need to be able to quickly calculate dosages and measure precise quantities of medication.
-Attention to detail: Detail-oriented applicants are especially valued in the pharmacy field because of the accuracy required when filling prescriptions.
-Computer skills: Many pharmacies now use computer systems to track inventory and process prescriptions. As a result, employers often prefer applicants with basic computer literacy.
In addition to these three hard skills, employers also look for candidates with strong problem-solving abilities and excellent communication skills. Since pharmacy technicians frequently work with customers, effective communication is essential for diffusing tense situations and ensuring that patients receive the medication they need in a timely manner.
Soft skills needed to be a pharmacy technician
In order to be successful in any occupation, you need to have a strong foundation of soft skills. These are the skills that enable you to interact with others, solve problems and get the job done. They’re also essential for pharmacy technicians, who must be able to perform their duties in a professional and efficient manner.
Some of the most important soft skills needed to be a pharmacy technician include:
-Communication: You’ll need to be able to communicate effectively with patients, doctors and other members of the healthcare team. This includes being able to listen carefully and understand instructions.
-Critical thinking: You’ll need to be able to think on your feet and make quick decisions. This is especially important when dispensing medication, as you need to be able to identify errors and take corrective action.
-Attention to detail: You’ll need to be able to pay attention to detail in order to accurately fill prescriptions and avoid mistakes.
-Interpersonal skills: You’ll need strong interpersonal skills in order to build rapport with patients and work effectively as part of a team.
-Customer service: You’ll need excellent customer service skills in order to provide a positive experience for patients
Salary and Job Outlook
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $32,700 in May 2019, and job outlook growth is projected to be 4% from 2019-2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most pharmacy technicians work in retail settings such as grocery stores, drugstores, and mass merchandisers. Some technicians work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.
What is the average salary for a pharmacy technician
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $32,700 in May 2018. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,140, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,350.
Job outlook for pharmacy technicians
The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of pharmacy technicians will grow by 12 percent from 2018 to 2028, which is faster than the average for all occupations.1
As the population continues to age, there will be an increasing need for prescription medications. At the same time, advances in pharmaceutical research will lead to more complex drugs being developed, and these sophisticated medications will require more input from pharmacy technicians during the dispensing process.
In order to meet this growing demand, many pharmacies are now employing multiple pharmacy technicians. Large chain pharmacies and hospitals tend to be the most active employers of pharmacy technicians, but there are job opportunities available in a wide range of settings, including:
-Mental health facilities
-Home health agencies