WHAT THEY DO:
A pharmacy technician is someone who performs pharmacy-related functions, generally under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. They basically assist in dispensing medications under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist who is directly responsible for them. Their duties also include handling incoming and outgoing calls and processing customer transactions (credit cards, cash, checks, etc.) They measure amounts of medication for prescriptions and package and label prescriptions. They also enter customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a computer system.
About 70% of technicians work for pharmacies or other retail stores that have pharmacies and about 13% in general medical and surgical hospitals.
Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals and other medical facilities prepare a greater variety of medications, such as intravenous medications. They may make rounds in the hospital, giving medications to patients.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
Some pharmacy technicians enter the occupation after completing postsecondary education programs in pharmacy technology. These programs are usually offered by vocational schools or community colleges. Most programs award a certificate after 1 year or less, although some programs last longer and lead to an associate’s degree.
Training is also available with Online Pharmacy Technician Courses taking only 3 months to complete. Once completing this initial training you may go on to work at a Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy under a Externship Program. These pharmacies are in partnership with the schools to give you hands on retail experience. You will be expected within a few months to take your test to receive your Certified Pharmacy Technician Designation (CPhT) which you have already received ample training to pass with your online studies.
Most pharmacy employers seek applicants with a certification, and many mandate it as a requirement. Taking the ExCPT exam and earning your CPhT certification from NHA can help you stand out and set you up for success. You can also obtain online courses by accredited schools that prepare you for taking the ExCPT Pharmacy Technician Certification exam. Passing the exam earns you the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.
As of 2014 the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the Median Annual Salary for Pharmacy Technicians was $29,810. General Medical and Surgical Hospitals paid the highest at $34,640 and Pharmacies and Drug Stores the lowest at $28,080. As of 2016 other reports show the highest salary in the US to be $43,900 and the Median Salary at $29,810.
As one of the fastest growing careers in the nation, there are over 70,700 new positions* expected in the pharmacy technician field by 2022. Factors such as an aging population of older people who typically use more prescription medicines than younger people and mandated health insurance are cited as causes of this growth.