A pharmacy technician is a person who works in a pharmacy and is responsible for many different tasks. They help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to patients and answer any questions patients have about their medications.
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A pharmacy technician is a member of the healthcare team who works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to dispense medications and provide customer service. pharmacy technicians typically work in community pharmacies, such as those found in grocery stores or drugstores, or in hospitals. Some technicians may also work in long-term care facilities or insurance companies.
The role of the pharmacy technician has evolved over time from that of a simple assistant to that of an important member of the healthcare team. As more states have implemented laws and regulations requiring pharmacists to spend more time counseling patients on their medications, pharmacy technicians have assumed responsibility for many of the tasks previously performed by pharmacists, such as filling prescriptions and entering patient data into the pharmacy computer system.
While they are not licensed health care professionals, pharmacy technicians must complete a formal training program and pass a national certification exam to earn their credential. Some states also require technicians to be registered with the state Board of Pharmacy. Once certified, technicians may use the initials CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) after their name.
Duties of a Pharmacy Technician
A pharmacy technician is a member of the healthcare team who works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to dispense medications and provide information to patients. Pharmacy technicians typically work in community pharmacies, such as those found in grocery stores and drugstores, although they may also work in hospitals and other healthcare settings.
The duties of a pharmacy technician include measuring, mixing, counting and labeling medications; entering patient information into the pharmacy computer system; answering phones; and interacting with patients and other healthcare professionals. Pharmacy technicians must be able to follow both written and verbal instructions, as well as have excellent organizational skills. They must also be detail-oriented and able to work under pressure.
Pharmacy technicians typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or certification. Many states also require pharmacy technicians to be licensed. For more information about becoming a pharmacy technician, please see the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm.
Education and Certification
Education and Certification
Most pharmacy technicians have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some may have postsecondary education, such as a certificate or an associate’s degree. Employers usually provide on-the-job training that lasts several months to a year. Some states require pharmacy technicians to have certification.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) administers a national certification examination that pharmacy technicians must pass to become certified. To maintain certification, pharmacy technicians must take continuing education courses periodically.
Salary and Job Outlook
Most pharmacy technicians make between $10 and $15 per hour, with a median wage of about $12.50 per hour. The top 10% of earners make more than $19 per hour, and the bottom 10% make less than $9 per hour.
The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is positive, with an expected growth rate of 7% from 2019 to 2029. This means that there will be about 41,600 new jobs added during that time period.