What is a Pharmacy Technician?
A Pharmacy Technician plays an essential role in the optimal running of the pharmacy by helping licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. While most pharmacy technicians do not administer drugs themselves, they will often interact with patients and/or customers on proper use of medications. The responsibilities of the pharmacy technician range a great deal depending on the practice setting, but may include, prescription intake and translation, gathering patient data, data entry, inventory management, filing prescription forms, medication delivery, dispensing filled prescriptions and collecting payments. Most states regulate pharmacy technicians, which is a process that may require passing an exam or completing a formal education or training program.
Becoming a pharmacy technician usually requires earning a high school diploma or the equivalent. States may require certification or licensing of pharmacy technicians.
Programs for pharmacy technicians may take between six months and two years and should provide a well-rounded understanding of the operation of a pharmacy by the time the program is completed. The program should provide students with a basic education and understanding in chemistry, pharmaceuticals, customer service, pharmacy operations and general pharmacy business practices.
Training programs for a pharmacy technician may include:
- Patient care and data collection
- Customer service
- Pharmacy equipment and facilities maintenance
- Drug usage and pharmacy management
- Receiving and screening prescriptions/medication
- Preparation, distribution and storage of medication
- Pharmacy computer training
- Methods for administering drugs and potential side effects
CCI Training Center – Pharmacy Technician Program
CCI Training Center offers pharmacy technician students one of the most comprehensive, hands-on training Pharmacy Technician Programs available. CCI Training Center utilizes the most modern, state-of-the-art equipment and offers invaluable instruction from only the best, most experienced teachers in their field. This program provides training in IV Sterilization and handling of sterile products, medical and pharmacy activities, including the use of the computer and medical software, medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, medical law and ethics, blood draws, pharmacology, CPR, Sterile Products and Compounding Certifications. A test preparatory class prepares students for the Pharmacy Certification Board Exam. Upon completion of their training, pharmacy technician graduates should have the confidence to secure any required certifications then begin their new career in this growing industry. CCI Training Center offers flexible training, with both on campus and online classes. Upon completion of the program, the student will receive a Certificate of Completion in Pharmacy Tech and Lab Procedures.
Pharmacies now being located in supermarkets, hospitals, clinics, and other locations provide pharmacy technicians with more job opportunities than ever before. Pharmacy technicians are considered the back bone of the pharmacy, assisting the licensed pharmacist with preparation of prescriptions and customer care. Some pharmacy technicians may opt to pursue a pharmacist license with advanced education and training. Most pharmacy technicians work full-time, although some do work part-time. Pharmacies may be open at all hours so pharmacy technicians may have to work nights or weekends.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Several factors will lead to increased demand for prescription medications. As the population ages and the rate of chronic diseases rise, the demand for prescription medications is expected to increase. Additionally, as pharmaceutical research continues, more prescription medications will become available to fight diseases. Because of federal health reform legislation, more people will have access to insurance coverage and more pharmacy technicians will be needed to handle their prescriptions. Since more pharmacists are performing more patient care activities such as giving flu shots, more technicians may be needed to perform tasks such as collecting patient information, preparing more types of medications, and verifying the work of other technicians, tasks formerly done by pharmacists.
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,580, and the top 10 percent earned more than $42,400. In May 2012, the median annual wages for pharmacy technicians in the top five industries in which these technicians worked were as follows:*
- Ambulatory health care services: $35,470
- Hospital; state, local and private: $33,550
- Grocery Stores: $28,760
- Pharmacies and drug stores: $28,030
- General merchandise stores: $27,450
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics