• pharmacy technician, pharmacy tech jobs

    • The Pharmacy Technician Journey 

      A career as a pharmacy technician provides individuals with the opportunity to work in the drug industry without spending excessive amounts of money and time on training. Pharmacy technicians find employment at pharmacies and health-care facilities across the globe. They assist pharmacists and patients.  They provide customer service and keep the pharmacy running smooth and efficient. 


      Individuals interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician should complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program, receive certification and obtain a state license. Employers look to hire those who have successfully completed a pharmacy technician-training program because they know these candidates have the knowledge, background and skills needed to perform the job.


      Pharmacy training programs are available in both a traditional classroom setting and on-line.  Technical schools, colleges and universities offer pharmacy technician training programs.  Hospitals, clinics and retail pharmacies may provide their own training programs for those hired to work as pharmacy technicians.  Training programs last from several months up to two years.  Program length is dependent upon the state and school requirements. 



      Training programs provide individuals with the knowledge needed for a successful pharmacy technician career.  Students learn about different kinds of medications, their effects on the body, drug interactions and contraindications.  Contraindications refer to reasons a medication should not be taken.  Students in a pharmacy technician training program are taught skills and techniques on how to perform their job duties.  Educators offer tips and advice along with the course material to help better prepare students for work in pharmacies.

      Certification & Licensing



      To be issued a license to work as a pharmacy technician, one must become certified and challenge the state licensing exam.  Certification occurs when an individual successfully completes an accredited pharmacy technician-training program.  The school will award a certificate, or diploma, that acts as proof the student has fulfilled all of the state requirements necessary to become a pharmacy technician. 


      Once certification has been received, one can take the state licensing exam.  A person must complete the application process by sending in an application and proof of certification.  After the application is approved, the individual will receive information pertaining to testing dates and times along with location and any items the applicant must bring to the testing site, such as a photo ID.  Each state determines the minimum passing score.  Individuals who pass the exam will receive a license to work as a pharmacy technician.


      License Renewal



      A pharmacy technician license is issued with an expiration date.  Individuals must renew their license prior to this date in order to continue working as a licensed pharmacy technician.  The length of time each license is good for is determined by the issuing state.   To renew their license, a pharmacy technicians must complete the recommended amount of continuing education required by the state.  The expiration date is printed on the license card or certificate.


      Continuing education classes can be taken on-line or through schools that offer a pharmacy training program.  Certain employers, such as hospitals or clinics, may provide employees with the opportunity to complete their continuing education requirements while at work.  Others may be responsible for accruing the necessary classes on their own.  Continuing education classes can be taken separately or collectively in what is known as a refresher course.  A pharmacy technician must send in their certificate, issued upon the completion of the continuing education training, along with a completed application to be eligible for renewal.


      Job Opportunities

      Pharmacy technicians find employment anywhere medicines are used to treat patients.  They have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments.  Employers that hire pharmacy technicians include retail pharmacy chains, drugstores, supermarket and department store pharmacies.  They are also hired to work at health-care facilities like hospitals, clinics and outpatient centers. 



      These employment opportunities offer various scheduling options.  For example, traditional drugstore pharmacies offer a schedule that includes day-shift hours while hospitals offer multiple shift choices including day, afternoon or night shifts.  This allows pharmacy technicians to find jobs that best suit their family's needs,  which makes them less likely to be late or miss work.

      Job Duties

      A pharmacy technician helps patients, pharmacists and heath-care providers fulfill medication needs.  They are responsible for obtaining a patient's information including birth date, address and insurance information.  Each time a patient fills a prescription a pharmacy technician make copies of all insurance cards. They ask patients if there are  any changes in their personal information including insurance information, address and telephone number where they can be reached.  They update patient files each time information changes.



      Pharmacy technicians may also ask patients about any additional medication they are taking. Additional medication refers to over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers or medication for the common cold, and prescriptions filled at other pharmacies.  They may also ask about any new diagnoses or allergies.  This information is important because it helps the pharmacy technician spot medication errors. 


      For example, if a patient brings in a prescription for an antibiotic such as Amoxycillin, which is a member of the penicillin family and the technicians finds out through questioning the patient is allergic to penicillin, then she can suggest the patient return to their doctor, inform them of their complete allergy list and obtain a prescription for a different medication used to treat their condition. 


      They verify prescriptions by checking their date, the medication's name, dosage and refill quantities.  Pharmacy technicians calculate, measure, combine, count and pour medications to fill prescriptions.  They print and attach labels that contain important prescription information such as frequency and amount of the medication prescribed.  Pharmacy technicians alert the pharmacist should they suspect a problems, which occur in the forms of eligible handwriting or a question regarding the authenticity of a physician's signature. 


      Their responsibilities include customer service including answering questions about medical conditions, medications and reactions.  They instruct patients how to take their medications and warn about possible side effects and drug interactions.  Pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for stocking shelves, answering phones, using a cash register and cleaning.

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