Pharmacy technicians are an important part of the healthcare team. They work with pharmacists to help dispense prescription medications to patients.
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What is pharmacy tech?
Pharmacy tech is a field of pharmacy that deals with the process of preparing and dispensing drugs. It includes tasks such as measuring, mixing, and packaging of drugs. Pharmacy techs also provide customer service and education to patients. Let’s take a more detailed look at what pharmacy techs do.
The duties of a pharmacy tech
The duties of a pharmacy tech include keeping records of all the drugs in the pharmacy, mixing some drugs, filling prescriptions and answering phones. They also help customers by answering questions about their medications.
The different types of pharmacy techs
Inpatient pharmacy technicians work in hospitals and other medical facilities. They dispense medications to patients and provide customer service.
Outpatient pharmacy technicians work in clinics, doctor’s offices, and other outpatient facilities. They also dispense medications to patients and provide customer service.
Retail pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies, drug stores, and other retail establishments. They assist pharmacists in filling prescriptions and providing customer service.
What are the requirements to become a pharmacy tech?
In order to become a pharmacy technician you will need to complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program. You will also need to pass a national certification exam. Once you have completed these requirements, you will be eligible to work as a pharmacy technician.
The educational requirements
A pharmacy technician (commonly abbreviated as “pharm tech”), is a member of the health care team who performs various pharmacy-related tasks under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, mail-order pharmacies, and grocery stores. Many pharmacy technicians choose to specialize in a particular area of pharmacy practice, such as compounding, nuclear pharmacy or managed care.
The educational requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician vary from state to state but most states require that applicants have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states also require that applicants complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program and pass a national certification examination before they can be licensed.
The certification requirements
In order to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a certification program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges, technical schools, and through online providers. Certification programs generally last between six and twelve months and include both classroom instruction and hands-on training in a pharmacy setting.
After completing a certification program, you will need to pass a national certification exam. The two most common certifications for pharmacy technicians are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) and the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). Once you have passed one of these exams, you will need to complete a state-specific exam in order to become licensed.
In some states, certification and licensure are one and the same—if you pass the state exam, you will automatically be certified. In other states, you may need to apply for certification separately from licensure. Once you have obtained both certification and licensure, you will need to renew both every one to two years in order to remain current in your field.
What are the career prospects for pharmacy techs?
Pharmacy techs are in high demand due to the increasing number of prescriptions being filled every day. As a pharmacy tech, you will be responsible for many of the behind-the-scenes tasks in a pharmacy, such as preparing and dispensing medications. With the right training, you can develop the skills needed to become a pharmacy tech.
The job outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for pharmacy technicians is good. The bureau projects that employment of pharmacy techs will grow by 32 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. An aging population and a growing emphasis on preventative care are both factors that are projected to lead to an increase in demand for prescription medications, and pharmacy techs will be needed to help fill those prescriptions.
The salary prospects
The average pharmacy tech salary is $32,700, with a range between $29,000 and $37,000. However, those in the top 10th percentile of earners make more than $40,000 per year, while those in the bottom 10th percentile make less than $26,000.