What Do Pharmacy Technicians Do?
Pharmacists and pharmacies rely heavily on the aid of technicians to help their businesses run smoothly. Technicians are responsible for preparing medications under the guide of a pharmacist, and they might count, mix and label an array of substances. They also are largely responsible recording patient amounts and dosages to keep available. Positions in the field are expected to grow significantly in coming years, and there is an estimated projected growth of 20% across the nation. Most of this growth will be occurring in independent pharmacy and drugstores with some in hospitals.
Pharmacy Technicians Skills and Abilities
Customer service skills are an important part of the position, as you will be interacting with clients on a regular basis. You should possess active listening skills that can help you clearly assess and meet medication questions and needs. In handling medications, you will need some knowledge of medicine. You should also be able to perform a variety of clerical tasks when necessary and utilize time-management skills to ensure that you complete activities efficiently. You must also possess strong English language and communication skills that are essential to serving customers.
Pharmacy Technicians Duties
On a daily basis, you will be dealing with a wide variety of information from various sources. You will collect details from doctors, patients and pharmacists via phone, fax or computer and are responsible for appropriately organizing the details. You will regularly communicate with individuals and be expected to address their questions and concerns. You will work closely with medications receiving prescriptions and performing tasks to fill them. You will closely monitor prescriptions and accurately record them. You will likely also be responsible for performing the following specific tasks.
- Use computers to record patient data
- Maintain sufficient quantity of medical equipment and supplies
- Merchandise particular products and services
- Process and complete billing for services
- Process medical insurance documents and claims
- Ensure the cleanliness of equipment in the pharmacy
- Record and note patient medical histories
Pharmacy Technicians Tools and Technology
Technology is an important piece of this position, and you will want to be able to utilize the necessary tools. You will use a number of different tools when working to fill prescriptions including auger dose machines, various balances, lab emulsifiers and blenders, mills and sterile filing machines. You will also be heavily utilizing more clerical software including accounting, database and query, pharmacy management, inventory management, patient record maintenance and prescription processing software.
Education and Training Pharmacy Technicians
To get a position in the field, you typically need at least a high school diploma. However, the majority of individuals in the field have completed some postsecondary education or training, and there are instructional programs that a specifically focused on pharmacy technician or assistant skills. There are also a number of people in the field that possess an Associate’s degree. While you do not need any specific experience when starting, you will complete some type of moderate on-the-job training once you begin.
Pharmacy Technicians Salary
Wages in the field are somewhat decent, and the national median income for people with the position is $29, 800. However, those in the field can improve their salaries with added experience. Those in the top 25% earn $36,600 and the top 10% earn an annual salary of $43,900. Your earnings will likely depend on your education and experience and where you live.
Pharmacy Technicians Jobs by Geography
Washington provides the highest median salaries to individuals in these positions with an annual salary of $40,100. Alaska and California follow closely behind with median incomes of $39,900 and $38, 000. However, Puerto Rico and Idaho are expected to have the greatest increase in available positions. Ultimately, availability and salary will be largely dependent upon your state and region.