Pharmacy technicians typically work beside pharmacists in pharmacy settings, including retail, hospital, and long-term healthcare facilities. The job of a pharmacy technician is to help their pharmacists with preparing prescriptions and first point of contact for their customers, including patients, caregivers, and other healthcare providers.
Education, Training, and Certification
Getting the proper training from qualified pharmacy technician programs 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 whee they gain hands-on training in a pharmacy.
- Regulation – the majority of states regulate pharmacy technicians by requiring an exam, formal training, criminal background check, and fees.
Duties and Responsibilities
Depending on the state, a pharmacy technician works in, they might not perform some duties, but typically pharmacy technicians perform the following responsibilities:
- Filling bottles with doctor prescribed medications, type and applying labels with directions and other information for patients, and pre-pack bulk medications.
- Handling any required cash register operations
- Resolving issues, concerns, and complaints made by customers
- Calling doctors for prescription refill authorizations
- Typing up prescription information details to produce labels for packages
- Keeping detailed records of on-hand medications, stocks, and supplies
- Resolving any issues with patients insurance coverage
The workload of a pharmacy technician can change from day to day, but generally, pharmacy technicians are greeting customers and filling prescriptions. Pharmacy technicians also verify the accuracy of the customer’s information that is being provided. Pharmacy technicians are responsible for maintaining patient’s profiles, processing insurance forms, and managing customer records. Other duties a pharmacy technician might perform are maintenance and upkeep of the pharmacy and inventory, which includes labeling medication, filling bottles, and ensuring that pharmaceutical products are being stored safely and adequately.
Duties and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians can vary depending on the setting the pharmacy technician is working in, such as retail, hospital, or drug store. There are standard duties that all pharmacy technicians will complete, including:
- Receiving prescriptions – processing and retrieving orders through computer software. Knowing information technology is a large part of operating a pharmacy because of the patient’s information, history, and prescription history are stored electronically.
- Confirming prescriptions – when pharmacy technicians receive prescription orders that have to verify that the information and insurance and coverage are eligible before filling the prescription. The pharmacy technician’s responsibility is to confirm the customer’s information when they bring in a written prescription and make sure the information is correct and up to date and on file.
- Submitting insurance claims – when a pharmacy technician confirms that the customer’s information and the prescription information are correct, they will send it to the patient’s insurance for payment. The majority of insurance payments are submitted electronically.
- Dispensing medication – medication is administered when a pharmacist translates the medicine needed, reviews drug interactions, duplicates the therapy, and gives appropriate dosage to ensure that the customer is getting the proper and safe dosage. Once the pharmacist has passed and cleared the prescription, the pharmacy technician’s responsibility to verify the doctor’s information, correct the medication dosage, and quality that the medicine has been approved for.
- Excellent customer service – in retail or drug store settings, pharmacy technicians can expect to provide excellent customer service to customers daily. Interactions with customers could involve referring patients to the pharmacist or helping customers locate over-the-counter medication. Pharmacy technicians are expected to provide excellent customer service and have strong interpersonal skills to provide pleasant experiences for customers.
- Stocking medication and supplies – keeping inventory is an essential part of the pharmacy technician’s responsibilities to ensure the needs of customers and patients are met. Maintaining and updating stock, supplies, and medications.
- Obtaining prescription approvals – Another duty for pharmacy technicians is to make sure prescriptions have been reviewed and approved by the pharmacist. When an order is completed, the pharmacy technician is responsible for storing and disposing of patient’s information.
Skills and Competencies
Pharmacy technicians, along with training, need to have the following attributes to be successful at the job:
- Active listening – listening carefully to doctor’s instructions and any customer inquiries or requests is a big part of a pharmacy technician’s job.
- Communication – pharmacy technicians need to be able to convey information to pharmacists and communicate with customers and doctors.
- Attention to detail – pharmacy technicians, need to pay close attention to detail when filling prescriptions and preparing labels since mistakes can be deadly.
- Organization Skills – pharmacy technicians need to be organized to help avoid any dangerous errors.
- Reading Comprehension – need to be able to understand and comprehend written documents that you are being given.
Work Schedule and Environment
Pharmacy technician positions are typically full-time, since the majority of pharmacies are open all hours, and sometimes schedules might include weekends and evenings. Most pharmacy technician positions are in pharmacies or drug stores. But there are positions for pharmacy techs in hospitals and general merchandise stores.