Patient Care Coordinator

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacists rely on a team of people to help them accurately deliver the correct service to each patient. Pharmacy technicians are part of that team. Dispensing medication is a task that requires the right knowledge and training. A mistake from a pharmacy could leave a patient in dire straits, with even more illness and discomfort. If you are interested in a career in the healthcare and medical world, are good with numbers, have good communication skills, and have a strong attention to detail, a career as a pharmacy technician could be right for you.

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy technicians are professionals who work under the direct supervision of pharmacists to help distribute and prepare medications. They are not as highly trained as the pharmacist is, but they are well-versed in local laws and procedures regarding the sale of prescriptions. They are an important part of the pharmacy staff, and pharmacists would be stretched thin without them.

Job Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians perform many responsibilities to help a pharmacy run smoothly. They must have a strong attention to detail and be able to run basic mathematical calculations easily. They also must feel comfortable measuring medications to ensure proper dosages. Pharmacy techs are also often on the customer-facing side of the pharmacy, so a friendly demeanor is helpful in this career. 

In the course of their workday, a pharmacy technician may need to: 

  • Read medication prescriptions from physicians 
  • Interpret medication orders 
  • Prepare medications according to the doctor’s requirements and based on the special handling required for that medication 
  • Fill prescriptions 
  • Dispense, and process medication 
  • Label prescription medications properly with dosage instructions 
  • Practice all necessary safety procedures to ensure medications are shared safely with patients 
  • Research medication ingredients for patients 
  • Call pharmacy customers and answer questions over the phone 
  • Organize the pharmacy shelving, checking to ensure medication is within its date 
  • Maintain inventory to ensure medications are in stock when patients need them 
  • Learn to prioritize prescription requests in order to serve customers in a timely manner 
  • Understand local and federal rules and regulations required to keep pharmacy facilities safe and clean 
  • Maintain patient records and submit information to insurance providers 
  • Take payments from customers and work the checkout counter 

This job will require you to be on your feet in a fast-paced environment, so if you perform well under pressure, you might be a good pharmacy tech. While a pharmacy technician has a number of responsibilities, all of these must be overseen by a licensed pharmacist. 

Educational Requirements: FAQs

Even though they do not have as much training as pharmacists, pharmacy technicians do need some education to perform their jobs well. Here are some questions about the educational requirements of this job.

Do Pharmacy Technicians Need Certification?

Yes, pharmacy technicians need to carry a pharmacy technician certification. This is not a degree requirement, but it does involve training beyond high school to prove that the tech has the right understanding to do the job. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) provides certification in this field. 

To prepare yourself for PTCB certification, consider completing a pharmacy technician course. Bryant & Stratton College has a fully online, self-paced pharmacy tech program that will prepare you for the certification exam from the PTCB. To apply for this program, you need to have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent.  

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Pharmacy Technician Course? 

Our pharmacy technician course can be completed in 12 months or less, but as it is self-directed, the amount of time you spend will depend on how fast you work. After completing the coursework, you will need to have a 100-hour externship at a pharmacy to complete your training. This combination of hands-on experience and classroom education will make you well-prepared for the PTCB certification exam. 

What Will I Learn in a Pharmacy Technician Program? 

At Bryant & Stratton College, our pharmacy technician program teaches you how to handle the real-world problems and situations you’ll have when working in a pharmacy. You will learn how to calculate dosages, read and fill out medication labels, properly control inventory, dispense drugs in accordance with regulations, and learn the various classifications for medications. 

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.  

About 44,900 openings for pharmacy technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.  

Demand for pharmacy services is expected to increase because of the large number of older people, who typically use more prescription medicines than younger people. Higher rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, among all age groups also will lead to increased demand for prescription medications.  

In addition, pharmacy technicians will be needed to take on a greater role in pharmacy operations because pharmacists are increasingly performing more patient care activities. Technicians will need to perform tasks—such as collecting patient information, handling prescription transfers, and verifying the work of other technicians—that were previously done by pharmacists. 

Additional Training and Requirements

A high school diploma or equivalent is the starting requirement for most entry-level pharmacy technicians, but some employers require additional training. This is done through a vocational school or certification program, and the Bryant & Stratton pharmacy technician certificate program fulfills this requirement. This educational experience will ensure you have the right mathematics skills and record-keeping training to do your job well. 

Working as a pharmacy technician can be a rewarding career path. However, some pharmacy technicians will start their careers as a pharmacy tech, then continue working on their education to become a pharmacist. The pharmacy technician training puts them in a good position to start working even while continuing their education to enjoy a more profitable career in the future. 

Start Your Journey Today! 

If you are interested in working in the world of pharmacies, a career as a pharmacy technician could be the right fit. Bryant & Stratton College’s pharmacy technician program is an excellent choice. With its self-directed pace, you can complete your training as quickly as you need to, then take the certification exam to launch your career. Because the program is fully online or on campus, you have the flexibility to continue working and choose what fits your needs. 

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