Spotlight on: Pharmacy technicians

Pharmacy technicians have a bright employment outlook.

Pharmacy technicians have a bright employment outlook.

Are you interested in the field of health care but not particularly keen on working directly with patients? You can still make a big difference as a pharmacy technician. Not sure if becoming a pharmacy technician is right for you? We’ve answered a few FAQs.

What do pharmacy technicians do?

Pharmacy technicians work with licensed pharmacists to receive and fill prescriptions. For some people, having the proper medication can be a matter of life and death, so pharmacy technicians have an important job to do. With this career, you would be responsible for taking the information needed to fill a prescription, counting tablets or mixing medications – such as ointments – and packaging and labeling the prescriptions. Although pharmacy technicians have a great deal of responsibility, pharmacists must review all prescriptions before they are given to patients.

What training do I need?

While some pharmacy technicians only have a high school degree and have received the training they need while on the job, participating in a pharmacy technology program can provide you with the specialized skills necessary to be successful in this career. In fact, some states require pharmacy technicians to go through a formal training program, so earning your certificate or degree will increase your marketability.

Should I have any other skills?

In addition to the specialized skills you will learn in a pharmacy technology program, you should be detail oriented and organized. It is also imperative that pharmacy technicians have good customer service skills because they may be required to answer phones and ring up patients’ prescriptions.

What is the work environment like?

Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of environments, including hospitals and pharmacies located in grocery or drug stores. Where you work will have an effect on the schedule and coworkers that you have, so choose an environment where you think you would be a good fit. However, no matter where you’re employed, you’ll likely spend most of your day on your feet as you fill prescriptions.

How is the employment outlook?

The outlook for pharmacy technicians is bright, with employment expected to increase by 32 percent between 2010 and 2020 – much faster than average. As a result, now is the perfect time to get the training you need to begin working in this rapidly growing field. Pharmacy technicians earn approximately $28,400 per year, or $13.65 per hour, and can work part or full time.1 1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘Pharmacy Technicians,’ March 29, 2012