Pharmacy technicians are a vital part of any pharmacy as they assist licensed pharmacists in their daily tasks. Their primary job is to perform tasks related to pharmaceutical drugs, but every so often they are asked to perform clerical duties as well. Pharmacy technicians may work in dispensaries, hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies, and other locations. Pharmacy technicians always work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, to whom they refer patients for drug-related questions and general health matters. So what does a pharmacy technician do?

Pharmacy Technician Job Description

When a patient brings a prescription to drop off at a local retail pharmacy, more often than not, a pharmacy technician will take the prescription and process it through the computer. Technicians may help to prepare and dispense medications prescribed to the patient. Pharmacy technicians are trained to carry out many different duties within a pharmacy; however, their main limitation is that they’re legally not allowed to give advices to drug-related inquiries and health matters. In recent years, the practice scope of pharmacy technicians has been gradually expanding as governments change the role of pharmacists to focus more on patient care.

A pharmacy technician’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Count pills according to the prescription
  • Package and label prescriptions
  • Take in written prescriptions and process the medication for pharmacists to verify
  • Ensure that the security and proper storage of drugs is maintained
  • Respond to simple patient queries and direct them to pharmacists for clarification on issues concerning drug information and interaction
  • Maintain drug inventory and place drug orders
  • Label drugs, supplies, and chemicals properly
  • Mix pharmaceutical compounds and prepare intravenous injections according to the written prescription
  • Maintain patient profiles and records of all medications given
  • Keep the work environment and equipment clean
  • Process medical insurance claims and accept payments
  • Assist in giving medications to the patients in the hospital

How to become a Pharmacy Technician

The education requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician vary from state to state. Some states do not have any specific qualification. An individual would only need to have a high school diploma or the equivalents. Employers in these states provide on-job training once the technicians are hired.

Pharmacy Technician Training

Some states, however, require formal training that may be available at community colleges and vocational schools. This training normally takes 1 year to complete. During the program, trainees are taught various subjects such as arithmetic, pharmacy law and ethics, how to dispense drugs, and record keeping. Practical experience also forms part of the training. The essence of practical training is to enable students to gain real life experience in daily pharmacy duties and responsibilities. At the end of training, the trainee is awarded a certificate.

Read More: Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy Technician Certification

Having a certification is not compulsory in all the states; however, obtaining proper certification will increase your chance of getting hired and your salary. An individual that wants to be certified can take exams from the following two recognized organizations:

  • National Healthcareer Association
  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

To see a list of all the states that requires pharmacy technician certification to work, please visit PTCB.

Read More: Pharmacy Technician Salary

Pharmacy Technician Job Description Summary

  • Assist pharmacist in dispensing medications
  • No formal training required
  • Not all states requires certification
  • 20% employment growth by 2022