Understanding Pharmacy Technician Job Description – Is It Right for You?

For those looking for an interesting profession in the medical services field, becoming a pharmacy technician or ‘PT’ can be a great option for the right person.It is a detail-oriented job in a growing industry, so there are many opportunities available all the time and estimations are that job availabilities will continue to increase over the next few years.Before deciding that becoming a PT is the job for you though, it is important to have a good understanding of the pharmacy technician job description in order to decide if this is the type of work desired.With a good knowledge of what this profession requires in regard to jobs performed, interested students should be able to enroll in school or training in confidence that this is what they want to do afterward.Pharmacy Technician Job DescriptionAlthough there are numerous setting where PTs can work such as hospitals, retail pharmacies, outpatient and inpatient centers and more – all of which will have some specific duties – their main job is to provide assistance to the registered pharmacy on duty. Most of the time this includes tasks such as:- Receiving prescriptions to be filled, either from retail customers or from hospital staff, for their departments;
- Counting, packaging and labeling prescriptions;
- Dispensing medications to customers in retail environments;
- Dispensing medications to patients and/or nursing staff in hospital environment;
- Accept payment for prescriptions;
- Overseeing medication inventory;
- Keeping medication inventory records;
- Ordering and stocking medications;These duties usually make up the bulk of what a pharmacy technician does, although in retail PTs usually handle other retail duties as well, such as general stocking and straightening, customer assistance throughout the store, and even discussing with customers the use of their medications.In specialty settings like compounding pharmacies, duties would likely include assisting in mixing medication formulas like ointments, syrups and other medicines that are sometimes specially prepared, then shipped to retail locations, or to patients themselves.Working at a compounding pharmacy especially requires the hand of a skilled technician who is very detailed, since this involves understanding medication dosages and mixing prescription strengths.Then, there are also positions at companies that manufacture medicines where job duties include things like quality control and packing and shipping medicines to hospitals, retail stores and other pharmacies that sell medications.Differences in Pharmacy Technician RolesAlthough many times a “pharmacy technician” job will get lumped under that one title, there are actually different classes of PT. There are positions where the technician works very closely with the licensed pharmacist and can do more detailed and technical jobs like compounding and delivery of medications to hospital patients or staffs, and then there are positions where the technician mostly sells already-prepared prescriptions to customers, and other more routine tasks.In some places such as the US, these positions are not always recognized as being different, but based on schooling and certification, they can be very different. A schooled PT holds the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) and usually qualifies to apply for more technical jobs in the field.Those without their CPhT many times will only be considered for the less-qualified, retail positions. In the UK and some other countries, there are specific job titles that mark the differentiation:PTs are those who have fulfilled the higher schooling and job experience requirements while Pharmacy Dispensers are those who are qualified for mostly selling medications to patients in a more retail setting. Technicians are able to give medication advice to customers as well while Dispensers are not.Salary Differences Depending on Pharmacy Technician Job DescriptionBased on the differences in pharmacy technician roles, there are generally differences in salary as well.The less skilled positions – while they can still command a respectable salary that is considered at least average by most healthcare professions on this level – earn between 25 and 50 percent less than the skilled, certified pharmacy technicians, with salaries that can reach as high as the upper $50,000 per year or more.This is something that potential pharmacy technicians should definitely consider when trying to decide on which schooling to take.With this look at what a current pharmacy technician job description entails, it is hopefully easy to see that while the bulk of job duties any pharmacy technician should expect to perform are similar, there are some definite differences.Based on job experience, schooling and position held, some pharmacy technicians will perform more exact tasks, so their need to take their position very seriously is paramount.Also, depending on the job, amount of time spent working with the public directly will vary. Understanding all of this can be a good aid in deciding which type of schooling to enroll in, and what type of professional position is favored.

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