In the world of pharmaceuticals, a pharmacy technician is a vital role. Two of the standard settings for pharmacy technicians are inpatient and outpatient, known as hospital and retail. A pharmacy tech works under the direction of a pharmacist.
Lately, research on the roles and work environments of pharmacy technicians has increased. Due to the possibility of pharmacists taking on new responsibilities in alternate models of care, who is going to pick up these duties and responsibilities that the pharmacist was previously responsible for, mainly administrative functions and dispensing?
Other fundamental questions being asked about pharmacy technician training are:
- Are pharmacy technicians are sufficiently prepared in their education, training, and professional socialization to take on the other responsibilities?
- Are pharmacy technicians compensated appropriately for taking on extra responsibilities?
- Has the job been made attractive enough to acquire and retain top talent?
- Have the appropriate incentives been provided for pharmacy technicians to remain in the job and grow professionally?
Studies are beginning to address these fundamental questions, and the value of certification for pharmacy technicians in the states has been exploring and found a favorable asset for candidates. Certification is preparing pharmacy technicians for lifelong careers and emphasizes soft skills, such and communications and competencies related to the job.
Education, Training, and Certification
Pharmacy technician training can make a candidate more appealing to employers.
- Education – pharmacy technicians require a high school diploma, and many receive hands-on training, but many employers are looking at candidates who have attended training through a pharmacy technician program.
- Training – a lot of the preparation for a pharmacy technician is on the job, and employers may have different training procedures. Hands-on training could last for three months to a year, depending on the employer.
- Certification – if interested in a pharmacy technician, you can complete a certificate or associate degree, which will cover the topics that are used in pharmacies, ways of dispensing medication, pharmacy law, record keeping, and any other relevant issues.
- Clinical Experience – pharmacy technicians gain clinical experience as part of their certificate program where they learn hands-on training in a pharmacy.
- Regulation – many states regulate pharmacy technicians by requiring an exam, formal training, criminal background check, and fees.
What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
Responsibilities and duties of certified pharmacy technicians typically include the following:
- Preparing medication for patients
- Receive and verify prescriptions
- Filling and pricing prescriptions
- Obtain pharmacists approvals
- Complete patient paperwork that is related to filling prescriptions
- Assist with insurance claims processing
- Stock and price medications in inventory
- Ensure the availability of drugs by delivering them to patients or facilities
- Maintain pharmacy safety by adhering to procedures, policies, and regulations
By law, pharmacy technicians are prohibited from performing the final check of the prescriptions and performing counseling with the patients. Pharmacy technicians can hold jobs in a variety of settings, such as hospitals/clinics or retail pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians can also find work in home healthcare pharmacies and nursing homes. Duties in a different environment might include:
- Hospital pharmacy technicians will work with IV medications and provide laboratory preparation that helps ensure patients receive the care they need. Duties might include extensive cleaning for sterility and a safe pharmaceutical environment.
- Mail-order pharmacy technicians typically work in an office environment where they file prescriptions. Duties might include meeting with pharmacists, preparing medicines, filling vials of medicine, maintaining patient databases, and inventory maintenance.
- Retail pharmacy technicians deal more with the public and patients directly. Duties for a retail pharmacist can include asking about the administration of medication, such as dosages, and how to take medication.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
The expected job growth for pharmacy technicians makes it an excellent field to pursue. Attending pharmacy technician training will help increase job outlooks. In pharmacy technician training, potential candidates learn about various medications, pharmaceutical procedures, terminology, and legalities. During a program, a pharmacy technician candidate will also get on-hands training through an internship.
Certified pharmacy technicians are responsible for renewing your license every year and need to complete 20 continuing education hours to renew license. When renewing a license, the following types of continuing education hours are acceptable to include one hour in pharmacy law, one hour of patient safety, 18 hours in anything about a career as a pharmacy technician. If someone is recertifying their license as a pharmacy technician, they can complete the following continuing education hours, two hours in pharmacy law, one hour in patient safety, and 17 hours in anything about a career as a pharmacy technician.
Now more is known about the pharmacy technician’s education, work environment, and competence. Additional research will help shed more light on the role, duties, and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians, and answer more fundamental questions about pharmacy technician training and the profession.
Why Become a Pharmacy Technician?
If you are attracted to becoming a pharmacy technician because you enjoy helping people, there are other benefits to consider about this occupation. Other benefits of a career as a pharmacy technician include good pay with the potential to grow, continual learning, a growing field, job security, and a starting off point for furthering a career.
There is a lot of potential, growth, and job security in a career as a pharmacy technician, and taking pharmacy technician training can enhance your job options and growth in the health care industry.