Spotlights

Job Description

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. 

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Job security
  • It's a great first step toward becoming a certified pharmacist. 
  • Good pay for a career that doesn’t need a 4 year degree. 
2018 Employment
420,400
2028 Projected Employment
451,900
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities
  • Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
  • Measure amounts of medication for prescriptions
  • Package and label prescriptions
  • Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages of medications or supplies
  • Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
  • Enter customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a computer system
  • Answer phone calls from customers
  • Arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists if customers have questions about medications or health matters
  • Resolve insurance issues
  • Quality control: identify potential harmful drug interactions and therapy duplication
Skills Needed on the Job
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail 
  • Extremely organized 
  • Problem Solving – Gathers and analyzes information skillfully; works well in group problem solving situations.
  • Technical Skills – Assess own strengths and weaknesses; pursues training and development opportunities; possess and obtain knowledge of drug names – generic and trade; ability to recognize subtle differences in names and numbers; knowledge of medical terminology.
  • Customer Service – Responds promptly to customer needs; responds to requests for service or assistance; meets commitments.
  • Interpersonal – Maintains confidentiality; listens to others without interrupting; remains open to others’ ideas and tries new things.
  • Team Work – Balances team and individual responsibilities; exhibits objectivity and openness to others’ views; contributes to building a positive team spirit.
Different places of employment
  • Pharmacies in grocery store (i.e. CVS, Walgreens)
  • Hospital pharmacy
  • Private pharmacies
  • Pharmacy benefit manager
  • Administration
Expectations/Sacrifices Necessary
  • Work nights and weekends
  • Work on your feet for extended periods of the day
What kind of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…
  • Loved biology, chemistry and math
  • Desire to help people
  • Liked talking with people from a wide range of backgrounds
Education Needed
  • Pharmacy Technicians do not need a college degree, though some do complete one
  • A high school diploma or equivalent is often enough to apply for technician jobs, because many employers provide On-the-Job training
  • Several community colleges and vocational schools offer 1-year certificate or associate’s degree programs in pharmacy technology. These involve a clinical experience to provide hands-on training
  • The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists is the accreditation board for such programs
  • Common courses include legal and ethical topics, math, records management, medication types and uses, and medication dispensing protocols 
  • Every state maintains its own rules on which additional requirements technicians must fulfill. Some require certification through one of two organizations: 
  • Employers may require certification as a prerequisite for hiring consideration, even in states that don’t require techs to be certified. If certified, recertification has to be done every couple of years
  • Because they are working with expensive prescription drugs and patient health information, Pharmacy Techs need to pass a criminal background check. Some educational institutions require this check prior to acceptance into their programs, so that non-qualified students don’t waste time and money
  • The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA) offers cert options for:
    • Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician
    • Certified Sterile Preparation Technician
    • Hazardous Compounding Certification
    • Non-Sterile Compounding Certification
    • Sterile Products (IV) Certification
  • NPTA’s new Board of Pharmacy Technicians Specialties has launched advanced and specialty certificates programs, too!
What to do in HS and college
  • Take college prep classes in high school, including biology, chemistry, math, English, and communications 
  • Map your career goals and educational milestones in advance. Decide if you want to earn a certificate, associate’s, or even a bachelor’s (if you think you might go on to become a Pharmacist later)
  • Read or watch interviews with Pharmacists (because you’ll be working for one as a tech!)
  • Review job ads ahead of time to learn about the qualifications local employers are looking for
  • Make sure you understand your state’s specific requirements related to certification. Even if certification is not needed in your state, it can be helpful for landing jobs
  • Volunteer with local healthcare-related community organizations
  • Stay out of trouble so you can pass the background check when the time comes!
Typical Roadmap
Pharm Tech Gladeo Roadmap
Landing the Job
  • During training, complete an externship to gain experience in a real-world pharmacy.
  • Consider getting a certification to boost your credentials, even if your state does not require it
  • Apply to a pharmacy environment that best suits your particular interests.
    • Hospitals
    • National chain drugstores
    • Big-box retailers
    • Mail-order pharmacies
    • Independent pharmacies
  • Be honest on your background check questionnaire 
  • Build strong connections while doing clinical practice. You might later get to work in that pharmacy, so keep an eye open for job opportunities
  • Look for jobs on Indeed, Simply Hired, Glassdoor, or other popular job portals
  • If you complete a college or vocational school program, ask your school’s career center for job-seeking tips. See if your program offers job placement assistance with pharmacy partners
  • The states with the highest concentration of jobs for Pharmacy Techs are Kentucky, West Virginia, Alabama, Maine, and Tennessee. The highest employment levels are in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois
  • Check out Pharmacist Technician resume templates for ideas on formatting and phrasing
  • Review sample Pharmacist Technician interview questions and practice mock interviewing
  • Remember to dress for interview success!
Advanced Roles

In Community Pharmacy Practice 
Clinical Support Technician 
Patient Assistant Program Technician
Management or Supervision
Tech-Check-Tech (TCT)

In Institution/Health System Pharmacy Practice 
Controlled Substance Surveillance Technician 
Medication Reconciliation Technician 

In Technology 
Automation / IT Technician 
Telepharmacy Technician 

In Quality Assurance Medication Safety 
Documentation 
Research 
Regulatory Compliance
Pharmacy Accreditation Preparation 

For description of these roles, go to Slides 15-20 on this presentation https://slideplayer.com/slide/13279088/ 
 

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