Pharmacy Technician – A Great Career Opportunity

Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great career opportunity. As a student you will need to follow the same path that an individual looking to become a pharmacist travels but only stopping short of completing your PharmD degree. A pharmacy technician serves both patients and the pharmacist. A pharmacy technician has duties that are both challenging and rewarding too.

Median hourly earnings for pharmacy technicians vary by geographical location as well as by the level of individual experience. The variance is anywhere from eight dollars hourly to sixteen dollars and fifty cents an hour.

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is phenomenal. Any pharmaceutically based occupation will certainly be important now and also in the future. With people living longer and medicines becoming more sophisticated and numerous there is no way to go wrong with a career in medicine. Pharmacist and pharmacy technicians will always be in demand. Pharmacy technicians are more in demand due to the fact there can be as many as four technicians aiding one single pharmacist.

Pharmacy technicians have several options for workplace settings. The overall duties will not vary greatly in the field of pharmacist technicians. The variations in workplace choices add just enough spice to the career opportunities to make becoming a technician greatly appealing. Seven of the ten jobs occupied by pharmacist technicians are in retail pharmacy positions. Retail pharmacy encompasses both independently owned or chain store pharmacy settings.

Nearly two of ten pharmacy technician jobs are in hospitals. There are also minuscule proportions that belong to the obscure aspects of the pharmaceutical trade such as mail order, clinic and wholesalers.

It takes grand people skills to participate as a pharmacist technician. Technicians that are successful are alert, organized, dedicated and efficient in their work. A technician should have an eye for detail and not be easily distracted. An independent reliable nature encourages the pharmacist for which you work under to be confident you can handle all types of situations. Your work is directly related to life and death in more ways than one.

As a technician you will have to interact daily with patients, pharmacists, and various healthcare professionals. Teamwork is an important part of the successful career of any pharmacy technician as you will be working closely with pharmacy aids and pharmacists too.

As a pharmacy technician your duties will vary greatly from those of any other health care professional but will relate directly to the duties of a pharmacist. Your responsibilities are receiving prescriptions sent electronically for your patients where by, you as a technician; have to verify the information is accurate and complete. Then the prescription must be prepared.

These tasks take special attention to details. Prescriptions must be measured, counted, and weighed in some cases in order to for them to equal the dose requested by the physician for the patient involved. Technicians will label and price the prescriptions. Then the information has to be filed in an accurate and timely manner. There is no room for error in this type of career.

The appeal to become a technician is probably not based on such things as workplace environment but it is an opportunity to breathe easy knowing pharmacy technician’s work in clean, well ventilated work areas. All in all the desire to become a technician has to match the things we now know as vital and important to becoming a very dedicated and highly sought after technician of pharmacy.

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Pharmacy Technician Job – Three Strategies For Getting A Job

As I searched on EzineArticles for pharmacy technician jobs, I found many good articles written on how to become a pharmacy technician, or various reasons why you should become a pharmacy technician. In general, they all make good points and provide useful information. It has made me think about what we are missing. I do not want to simply rehash the same topics and then add a few of my own thoughts. Then it occurred to me, I have a perspective that few people who are writing articles for pharmacy technicians have. I am the person who sits on every interview for pharmacy technicians in my institution’s inpatient pharmacy. Over the course of just one year, I probably interview about 50 to 60 technicians for about 10 to 12 openings. So here it is, what are three things you can do to get a job when you have just obtained your license/certification/registration (depends on your state), still working on your license, or maybe just moved to a new area and want to find a job (this happened to me as a pharmacy tech, and I will share one of my biggest mistakes when looking for a job)?

Volunteer or complete your required hours (depends on your state requirements for licensure/certification) in a pharmacy practice site you would like to work. Many states require you to obtain practice hours before you become a pharmacy technician. If your state does not require hours prior to becoming a pharmacy technician, then pick a set number of hours (40 to 80 hours should do it) and volunteer at a pharmacy. The pharmacy you choose should be a place you would like to work. If you know you want to work in a hospital pharmacy, then do not obtain your hours or volunteer at a community/retail pharmacy. Next, take advantage of this time by showing your practice site how good of a pharmacy technician you are. The traits I look for the most are someone who is a team player, proactive about taking on any work that he/she sees needs completing, and gets a long with other staff. I am looking for is a good fit, not necessarily the smartest tech, but the one who will be a good team member. What this time really amounts to is a trial period where the pharmacy gets to see how you work and you get to see if you really want a job there. I have had a few students who goof off or text for a large portion of their time in my pharmacy. Unfortunately, they will not even make the interview list for the next open position.
Obtain national certification, BLS/CPR, and be active in one of your state’s pharmacy organizations; and make sure you have these items on your resume. Regardless if your state requires you to get nationally certified or not, you should do it. The two major national certifications that are most recognized are the PTCB and the ExCPT. BLS/CPR (basic life support/cardiopulmonary resuscitation – for the most part it is the same thing) is a good additional skill that most pharmacy managers will consider a bonus. It tells them that the applicant is engaged in healthcare and will more likely be engaged as a pharmacy technician. State pharmacy organization (either the state ASHP affiliate or APhA affiliate) participation is another way to show your commitment to the pharmacy profession. In most states, it cost very little to be a member as a technician. Once you are a member, look for the Website link on joining a committee. If you have options, join the committee that sounds like the most fun (I personally like advocacy or legislative). Now be active in your committee, this is a great way to network with pharmacists and other technicians. Pharmacy is a small world, the more connections you make, the better off you will be. Once you have done some or all of this, make sure your update you resume.
Look on company Websites for job openings and not just the local newspaper or online newspaper site. This was my big mistake. After living on the east coast for many years I moved out to the west coast. I began looking for jobs in the local newspaper and there were a few, but not the ones I was most interested in (I was a sterile compounding tech and wanted to work in a hospital or IV infusion setting) were never open. Fortunately for me, a large health-system (the one I currently still work for after 11 years) was hiring a graveyard technician and didn’t get enough applicants from their internal site so they placed a newspaper ad. After I got a job, I found out about the company job postings Website, and I was seriously bummed that I had wasted months not looking in the right place. While you are on the company Website, do some homework about the company so that you can speak about the company during your interview. I will typically ask applicants why they want a job with my company or pharmacy, if you can respond with an answer that shows you have done some homework on the company, that will impress most interviewers (do not over do it or be cheesy, find something you genuinely like about the company).
I hope this article has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or topics for additional articles, please send them to me by submitting a comment on my Website listed in the author box.

Pharmacy Technician Job Description, What It Takes to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

Do you think you have what it takes to become a successful pharmacy technician? Take a look at this in-depth analysis of the typical pharmacy technician job description. If you want to be successful in this career choice, you want to be certain that many of your attributes line up with the mental and physical characteristics needed to perform well seen in the everyday life of many pharmacy technicians.

Let me start out by saying that regardless of what area you pursue (institutional or retail) for the most part, you will be involved in a fast paced environment. Certain times of the day can be stressful for many pharmacy technicians. For example, if you are working in retail you will most likely deal with short-tempered customers that are eager to drop off their prescriptions and be on their way in five minutes or less. There will be insurance issues that you will have to deal with on a regular basis. With the emergence of the internet, you have the added feature for online refills. This adds to the already heavy workload due to drop off prescriptions and phone in prescription refills.

If you are focusing mainly on an institutional setting, your focus will be on hospitalized patients and patients having procedures done in the clinics. This setting has a whole different stress level of its own. For example let’s say a patient is due for some type of surgery, the surgeon realizes that he needs a different IV bag, he calls down to the pharmacy and orders and IV stat. Being the IV room technician, it is your job and responsibility to prepare the IV admixture in record time. More cases than not, this can be a life or death situation. Imagine having the pressure mount on you knowing that you have to prepare this in a timely fashion, but you also have to prepare it with accuracy.

Here’s a general breakdown of the typical pharmacy technician job description for most pharmacy technicians. The main goal for a pharmacy technician is to assist the pharmacist in his duties and to provide the best customer service to patients. A pharmacy technician will receive prescriptions via telephone, fax, internet, and walk-ins. They generally are responsible for answering phone calls, but are limited by law to the advice that they may give out. Technicians will generally fill medication carts for the patients that are hospitalized. These medication carts are filled with one, two, or three days worth of meds. They are delivered to the patient floors and meds are dispensed accordingly.

Other duties include stocking medication on the shelves, ordering supplies, pre-packing medications, assisting customers in outpatient pharmacies, counting tablets, and doing some form of compounding of creams and ointments. Due to the structure of the pharmacy, some technicians will prepare IV admixtures. IV admixtures take a bit more training due to the implications that occur from technician error. Intravenous medications are given through the vein, which means the drug has instant contact with the blood stream. Knowing this, technicians have to be certain that the amount of drug is correct; also they have to be certain that they are using the most sterile technique as possible. Some technicians are eventually trained in chemotherapy agents that are given intravenously. Technicians without the proper training should never attempt to prepare these types of IV admixtures.

Technicians should have a great working knowledge of basic math skills, should have wonderful communication skills (verbal and written). The technician should be familiar with both weighing and measuring of medications. Due to the need for order entry, it is heavily advised that pharmacy technicians have some sort of computer skills. Some pharmacies look for technicians that are self motivated and action takers. The job can require long hours of standing with little to no breaks throughout the day.

The pharmacy technician job description may seem very draining at first, but it does have its upside as well. For starters there will be a huge demand for these career professionals. With the shortage of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians will be in great need to handle the technical side of things. These are areas that the pharmacist will have little to no time to oversee these areas. As far as financial rewards, many pharmacy technicians are paid handsomely for their efforts. One thing to keep in mind is that most institutional pharmacy technicians generally make more than retail pharmacy technicians. If you are after the financial gains, then Hospital Pharmacy is where you will find the financial benefits. Another added benefit is that you can advance your career in many ways as a technician. You can become certified. You can continue schooling and become an actual pharmacist. Some technicians enter this field and go on to become nurses. Entering this field can be a springboard for other healthcare occupations.

Now that you have seen a general Pharmacy technician job description overview, ask yourself do you have what it takes? Assess your skills. Focus on your strengths and weaknesses. Analyze the pros and cons of both the retail and the hospital setting. See which area will be of greater interest to you and a perfect match for your abilities. After you have made a complete and thorough analysis, get the training and get started in your new career that will reward you for years to come.

Many Different Types of Pharmacy Technician Jobs

It is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of pharmacy technician jobs today, and that number is expected to increase by 25 percent over the next 5 to 10 years.

Working as a pharmacy technician or `PT` is one of the best jobs with which to enter the healthcare services industry without having a medical degree, and can be a very satisfying position with much room for advancement.

Depending on a person’s education and job experience it is possible to move into a variety of specialized employment positions with their qualifications, as there is much more to the job than simple retail sales at a drugstore or chemists.

Different Pharmacy Technician Jobs

Retail – This is the most known setting and position for most PTs. Technicians who are employed by retail pharmacy stores do a variety of jobs, which start with assisting the Registered Pharmacist or PharmD on duty but generally expand to many other duties that are typical in any retail environment.

Techs will count and prepare medications, do record keeping, inventory, ordering, stocking, insurance billing and records, and much more depending on the establishment and the need to do other tasks as well.

Depending on qualification and certification, sometimes pharmacy techs in a retail setting are also able to counsel consumers on the use of their prescribed medication as well. It is possible to obtain a job as a PT without any specialized education or training although more and more employers are beginning to require one or the other, or sometimes both.

Hospital – Every hospital has a pharmacy from where both outpatient prescriptions can be filled and inpatient medications are dispensed.

Working under the Pharmacist on duty, pharmacy technicians in a hospital setting are usually responsible for stocking, delivering and recording all medications that need to go to the different hospital departments, specially compounding medications for patients in the hospital and taking care of any and all medication requests throughout the hospital from other staff.

Knowing all hospital regulations in regard to the dispensing and handling of medications is a detailed yet essential part of the job as is being able to keep concise records for billing, inventory and legal purposes.

In-patient Care Facilities – Numerous types of inpatient care facilities such as rehabilitation centers, psychiatric hospitals and other facilities keep their own pharmacies as well, and require technicians to assist the Pharmacist on duty.

Pharmacy technician jobs usually entail inventory, stocking, ordering and recording of medications, preparing medication doses for patients, delivering daily medication doses to nursing stations, and most of the duties mentioned above as in any other hospital. Once again, record keeping and regulations are an extremely important part of the job for billing, inventory and legal purposes.

Medication Compounding – Certain pharmacies do not sell directly to the public, but instead create special medication mixes – called compounds – for other pharmacies and facilities.

In a compounding pharmacy, technicians are required to work under the supervision and guidance of the Pharmacist on duty in mixing medications as required by special orders, bulk orders for hospitals and facilities and other requests. Generally this work also involves great detail in record keeping, interpreting prescriptions, medication labeling and medication packing and shipping.

Obtaining Pharmacy Technician Jobs

The best way to get a job as a PT is to complete a training and education program for pharmacy techs. There are many of these programs available today lasting anywhere from 6 months to get a course certificate and basic education for a retail pharmacy setting to up to 2 years or more to become certified as a pharmacy technician and be able to advance to some of the more detailed positions mentioned above.

The best way to find out about schooling and any career requirements is to contact any local pharmacy technicians’ professional organizations in order to get recommendations and learn more about the career as a whole.

In most cases, those who have been to school should be able to get pharmacy technician jobs quite easily as it seems there is a constant and growing need for good, certified pharmacy technicians.

While qualifications do differ depending on state, region and country, in general it seems as though there are always positions available as the profession continues to grow and pharmacy technicians continue to get more and more responsibilities under their specialty.