In our update today, we shall be discussing what is Pharmacy technician, their roles, and how to become one.
Like we highlighted in our previous content, the medical profession is very vast with many fields and specialties.
Our attention will focus mainly on Pharmacy technician courses, duties, requirements, and certification.
A good number of times people mistake a Pharmacy technician to be a pharmacist. While both are actually in the same field of pharmacology, it is, however, important to note that both go their separate ways in roles and duties.
What is Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians are professionals who work side by side with a pharmacist in delivering healthcare services.
They are mainly concerned with the safe running of the pharmacy, they assist the pharmacist in attending to complaints, discussing prescriptions, and ensuring full safety and health compliance among the staff in the pharmacy.
Pharmacy Technician Course/How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Becoming a pharmacy technician might not take the same length of time it takes to be a professional pharmacist. However, it still remains important you take all the training and courses seriously.
Education: You don’t necessarily need a college degree to become a pharmacy technician. With a High School Diploma, you can proceed to a pharmacology technology school and enroll. Nonetheless, some others enter the occupation upon the completion of post-secondary education.
The average duration for this course is usually 1 year. But it can go longer than that for those studying the get an associate degree in it. The courses are mainly offered by vocational schools and educational centers.
It is during this stage of learning that students are introduced to the whole rudiments, skills, ethics, and technicalities of the profession. A follow-up externship comes along before they are certified to start practicing.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements/Licensing
If you live in a place where the state controls licensing and practices, you will have to sit for a certification exam before you can be allowed to practice.
With the help of our research associates, we have listed some pharmacy technician requirements before you can be licensed to practice.
- High school diploma or GED
- Formal education or training program
- Extended or continuing education
- Criminal background check
Even if it is not required in your state, a good number of employers will be more attracted to those that sat and passed certification exams. The certification further consolidates your knowledge as a professional in the field.
Skills Required of a Pharmacy Technician
You can make a good impression with really nice grades as a pharmacy technician but if you fail in some skill sets, it would be hard to advance in your career.
Below are the core qualities and skills required of a pharmacy technician.
Customer Service Skills: Pharmacy technicians involves a lot of constant interaction with clients, customers, and patients. Which makes good public relations and communication skills very important in this medical profession. Especially for those working in the retail setting.
Sound Knowledge of the Trade: Drug prescription is a very delicate part of healthcare services, the wrong prescription can cause a lot of harm to those it was given to. Therefore, you should be detail-oriented to know the right prescription and dosage for different ailments.
Good Listener: A pharmacy technician must be a good listener. This will foster good communication and help you understand the need of the customer and then advise the best pathway.
Math Skills: Compounding, computing of dosages, and estimation of intervals between drug takes require maths skills. Therefore, a pharmacy technician must really be good at maths.
Sound Organizational Skills: Working under a pharmacist means duties would be delegated to you. Hence, the need to have sound organizational skills to handle things with little or no supervision.
Pharmacy Technician Duties/Roles
Pharmacy technicians work under the close supervision of the pharmacist. They handle delegated duties and also book meeting between patients and pharmacists.
Below are a good number of the roles and duties of the pharmacy technician.
- Get information required to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
- Calculate amounts of medication for prescriptions
- Packaging and labelling of prescriptions
- Arrange stocks and inform pharmacists of any shortages of medications or supplies
- Receive payment for drugs and process insurance claims
- Answer phone calls from customers
- Compile a database of customers and patient information as well as stocks of prescriptions.
- Set consultations and meetings between customers and pharmacists if they have any questions and health needs.
- Ensure total safety compliance in the drugstore.
Pharmacy Technician Salary
Pharmacy Technicians don’t earn as much as pharmacists. But are paid well enough for their work and contributions. The average salary for a certified pharmacy technician is $35,200 annually.
The salary can rise recognizable high based on place of work, experience, and a couple of advanced certifications. A good number of them work full-time because pharmacies are usually open 24hrs a day.
Where can a Pharmacy Technician Work?
The profession is quite vast and is not limited to any particular area of work. Apart from hospitals, drugstores, and pharmacies, pharmacy technicians are also employed in clinics, pharmaceutical companies, food & beverage companies, primary care organizations, prisons, etc.
Pharmacy Technician Employment Outlook
Though pharmacy technician might not be your typical kind of highly revered medical profession, the job outlook is very promising as it is projected to grow by 6% over the next 8 years by labor statisticians.
Despite a decline in employment growth, the opening for pharmacy technicians has continued to rise as more organizations are filling up for vacant positions in both health and non-health sectors.
Pharmacy technician is ideal for those desiring to venture into pharmacy but couldn’t make the required grade.
Knowledge gained from working as a pharmacy technician can help one excel in pharmacy school and become a pharmacist.
It is also important to note that pharmacy technicians are not a pharmacist. Therefore, are not licensed to open drugstores or take consultations on deep health issues. They work under the supervision of the pharmacist.
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