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Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians field customers’ phone calls and perform other administrative duties in pharmacies.

Pharmacy technicians field customers’ phone calls and perform other administrative duties in pharmacies.

Every time you go to the pharmacy — be it at you hospital or local drug store — you are benefiting from the work of pharmacy technicians. While pharmacists are highly trained specialists, if you simply need a prescription filled, their expertise is unnecessary. A pharmacy technician will take your information, fill your prescription, file it with your insurance, and bid you good day. It may sound simple, but like all medical jobs, their work is vital.

Fast Facts

Minimum Degree Required: High School Diploma

Top Skills: Following Direction, Attention to Detail, Comfortable with Computers

Average Starting Salary: $20,000/year

Job Description

Under the supervision of a pharmacist, a pharmacy technician must:

  • Process prescriptions from doctors
  • Count out/mix/ measure the appropriate medications
  • Package the medication with appropriate instructions and information
  • Process the patient’s insurance, and accept payment for the prescription filled
  • Handle calls and questions from patients, or direct them to the pharmacist, when appropriate

Pharmacy technicians who work in hospitals may even take medication (including IV bags) directly to patients. While all prescriptions filled are checked by the overseeing pharmacist before being given to the patient, a pharmacy technician must strive for accuracy at all time.

Education

Though only a high school diploma or GED is required to become a pharmacy technician, most pharmacies have a training program that new employees must successfully complete before they can begin working. Certain states may require employees to be trained and licensed in a particular manner — check your state pharmaceutical board.

Certification/Licensing

Certificate programs, lasting about one year, are available at many community/junior colleges.

Job Outlook: Excellent

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 31% rise in pharmacy technician positions between the years of 2010 and 2020. As of 2010, the median income for a pharmacy technician working full time was $28,400.

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