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Pharmacy Technician Career Factsheet

By: CareerFactsheet.com- Updated: Aug 31, 2013

The role of a pharmacy technician is to assist licensed pharmacists in dispensing medication as well as helping clients with questions and assisting in general pharmacy maintenance. This fast growing area of employment has become increasingly in demand over the past few years and offers people a way to get an inside view of the pharmacy and how it works.

Is a Pharmacy Technician Career Right for You?

Becoming a pharmacy technician requires some initiative and skill and isn't a job for everyone. However, for those who fit the bill it can be a richly rewarding career with opportunities for advancements. Generally, pharmacy technicians:

  • Have good attention for detail
  • Are organized
  • Have an interest in biology, chemistry and the health care field
  • Are able to work well with others
  • Can follow complex instructions on their own
  • Can focus their attention on specific jobs, such as the mixing of pharmaceutical compounds, in a busy environment

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

A pharmacy technician works as an integral part of the pharmacy in retail stores, specialized pharmacies and hospitals. They are more than assistants to licensed pharmacists. Technicians provide both administrative and practical support to pharmacists as well as the pharmacy’s customers. This can include working with people as part of chain pharmacy or one connected to a grocery store. It can also mean working with the specialized needs of a hospital pharmacy or one which offers wellness clinic procedures, information and advice.

The Duties & Work Environment of a Pharmacy Technician

The job duties of a pharmacy technician are as varied as their potential working environments. These technicians help to prepare prescriptions, handle billing problems, order supplies and maintain inventory. Their broad range of duties can also include mixing some pharmaceutical solutions under the supervision of a pharmacist and cleaning or sterilizing pharmaceutical equipment. Technicians can work in a variety of locations, including retail pharmacies which are part of larger stores, specialty pharmacies and within hospitals.

Video Career Profile

Education & Training Overview

Those interested in a career as a pharmacy technician need to have as a minimum - a High School diploma or equivalent. Most states also require that technicians be certified and have completed an accredited Pharmacy Technician program. Although these rules can vary from state to state and are determined by that state's local Board of Pharmacy, people who have certification and higher education find it much easier to find a job no matter what the state requirements. Pharmacy technician programs are usually about two years long and are followed by the state test in order to achieve a full accreditation. Further training is obtained both on the job and through continuing education programs.

Salary Information for Pharmacy Technicians

According the US Department of Labor Statistics, as of 2012 the average wage for a pharmacy technician was $29,320 per year going up as high as $42,400 and more depending on the state. This was can increase once a technician has more experience and is able to perform more advanced tasks within the pharmacy. This field is also prone to high growth rates as the number of aged Americans is set to increase as Baby Boomers enter their retirement years. This indicated not only job growth, but also job stability for many years to come.

The job of a pharmacy technician is as varied as their clients. This career is a good fit for people who wish to be involved in the health care industry, who have an innate desire to help others and who posses the natural skills needed to do the job well. This is a career where each day can be different from the last and is an especially good career fit for those who enjoy a challenge while working in a variety of environments.

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