The job of a pharmacy technician varies depending on where the pharmacy tech works. The duties required of a pharmacy technician who works in a hospital or a pharmacy will have different job responsibilities than a technician who works for a mail order pharmacist, or a technician who works in a nursing or assisted living facility. In spite of the differences in duties, there are requirements that are similar no matter where the pharmacy tech works:
They must receive and insure the accuracy of prescriptions
They must mix medicines, count pills, and label bottles
They must put prices on and fill prescriptions
The have their work confirmed by the pharmacist
They perform paperwork for the patient
They work on insurance claims for the patient and the pharmacist
They are responsible for keeping an inventory of the medicines
There is no standard training required for a pharmacy tech, although generally a high school diploma or equivalency is required. There are many different certificated or degree programs for pharmacy techs, which may range from six months to two years. These certificates or degrees can be earned from Pharmacy Technician School, community colleges, or through military training. This training will help the student learn terminology, pharmacy calculations of medicine, record keeping, and pharmacy laws and ethics. It is also helpful if the job candidate knows how to operate a cash register. Although the certificate or diploma are not required, those have successfully completed this advanced training are more likely to be hired.
The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 25% through the year 2018. As the baby boomer generation ages and use more medications, and as more people in general gain medical insurance, there will be an increase in the use of medications, thus there will be more pharmacy techs needed. It is also possible that pharmacies that had used pharmacy aides, those with no training and handle minor tasks in a pharmacy, will use pharmacy techs instead fulfill some of those duties. Some of these tasks will include answering the telephone and working even more with patients.
The national average beginning salary for a pharmacy tech is just a little over $26,000. The median salary for a pharmacy tech is $32,500, while the top 10% of pharmacy technicians $38,750.
As with most jobs in the medical field, pharmacy techs expect to see a steady job growth in the foreseeable future. As baby boomers age and as the government allows more people to have access to insurance, more and more medications will be dispensed. Although not required, it is generally expected that those who receive specialized training will have an edge when applying for positions. Whether trained through a Pharmacy Technician Test or some other program, training will make those interested in the profession more employable. This field is appropriate for those who are able capable at doing math required to measure medications, those who are not intimidated by the paperwork required by insurance, and those who are good at dealing with people. It can also be important to deal with stressful situations as deadlines must be met, as well as dealing with people who might be sick and therefore lack patience. Those who have those qualifications will find this a rewarding field.