Advances in medicine consistently bring new pharmaceutical treatments and medications to the market. As a result, pharmacy technicians are playing an increasingly important role in the front line of patient healthcare. Working under the direction of a pharmacist, they collect patient information, safely fill prescriptions, prepare and issue medications, and label and store supplies.
To determine if a pharmacy technician job is of interest to you, it can help to have a better understanding of the role.
To become a pharmacy technician, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete a certified program to learn the basic aspects of the pharmacy practice, including filling prescriptions, handling various categories of drugs, and understanding pharmaceutical calculations, interactions and side effects.
To become employed, candidates will need to pass a background check as well as a certification exam. Exams and requirements can and will vary by state. Since the field is dynamic, pharmacy technicians may need to be re-certified as frequently as every two years in many states in order to keep up with medical advancements.
Pharmacy technicians can work in a variety of settings: a drug store, hospital, clinic, nursing home or pharmaceutical company. Since some pharmacies are open 24 hours, a technician may be asked to work nights or weekends which can offer flexible hours to fit your lifestyle and needs.
To ensure patient safety and properly fill prescriptions, pharmacy technicians must possess excellent attention to detail. In addition, pharmacy technicians need good communication skills so they can effectively collect and relay medical information. A caring attitude is also very important to possess, as technicians often work directly with patients and need to be empathetic and show concern for their wellbeing.
Pharmacies operate under an ever-growing number of regulations, and pharmacy technicians must adhere to the laws and show integrity in their work. Failing to follow proper protocol could result in termination of employment or even legal problems.
As the general population ages and requires more prescription drugs, opportunities for pharmacy technicians are growing. Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 7 percent in the coming decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you believe the job of pharmacy technician is a good fit for you, Fortis’ Pharmacy Technician career-training program can get you started with comprehensive instruction, hands-on training and support services for students. To learn more about becoming a pharmacy technician, please visit our Pharmacy Technician Program page.