A pharmacy technician is kind of like an assistant to a licensed pharmacist. Some of the duties that come with the job include collecting prescription information from customers, measuring the exact amount of medication as per prescriptions, running the teller and accepting payment for products, and organizing the inventory and informing the head pharmacist if they are running low on stocks of a particular medicine. Recently, job opportunities for a pharmacy technician are on the rise, and there are no immediate signs that the demand for this particular profession will decline anytime soon.
The job market for pharmacy technicians and the like is projected to increase by 9% every year up until 2029. This is the result of an increasing number of aging citizens, which means the requirement for medications will also rise.
Unlike full-fledged pharmacists, the requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician are generally easier to obtain. One only needs to have a high school diploma, or even a GED. With regards to training, the typical pharmacy technician gets on-the-job training, meaning they learn the ropes of the job while they work. On the other hand, if they want to gain an edge over the competition, they can enroll in a post-secondary training program, which most community colleges usually provide.
Most training programs give out certificates after a year, sometimes even sooner. However, its best to enroll in a more comprehensive program that will also give out an Associates degree in Pharmacy. These comprehensive training programs will cover all the necessary skills training that will be needed in practice, such as the arithmetic used in pharmacies, basic inventory and recordkeeping, proper dispensation of medication, and learning the names of common medications and their uses. If one can, its best to find a program that offers actual clinical experience opportunities, meaning training in an actual pharmacy.
Its important to check with the respective state regarding the requirements for being a pharmacy technician. The state may require that the applicant pass a state sanctioned examination or provide proof that he has completed the necessary training programs before being allowed to practice.
Besides the qualifications mentioned above, its important to have some other qualities if one wants to get a piece of the many job opportunities available in the country. First of all, the pharmacy technician needs to have excellent customer service skills, as they will be dealing with customers all day, and need to make sure the customers leave with smiles on their faces. One also needs to be detail-oriented, as he will be tasked with monitoring the pharmacys stocks, and one small oversight might lead to a shortage of much-needed medicines. Its also necessary to have rudimentary math skills, at the very least. Keep in mind that the pharmacy technician will be dispensing carefully measured prescriptions.
The salary of a pharmacy technician ranges from $28k to $35k a year, depending on where he or she will be employed. Usually, the big name, private hospital pharmacies offer more lucrative wages, while the small, privately owned pharmacies fall at the lower wage spectrum.