Many jobs in health care require an educational commitment that’s out of reach for many, but here’s an exception. Pharmacy technicians help dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They work under the supervision of a pharmacist, who confirms that the prescription is accurate. They receive written prescriptions and confirm their accuracy. They measure out medications before packaging and labeling them. In many states, they can also compound or mix medications. Some technicians specialize in oncology or chemotherapy drugs.
Pharmacy technicians primarily work in retail drug stores and hospitals. In hospital pharmacy, technicians work primarily with IV bags, often under sterile conditions.
- Collect information needed to fill prescription requests from customers or health professionals
- Measure medication
- Understand the names, uses and doses of medications
- Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages
- Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
- Enter patient information into a computer system
- Answer phone calls
- Maintain safety by adhering to infection-control procedures and regulations
Most employers require a high school diploma or equivalent. Some look for candidates who have completed a program in pharmacy technology from a community college or technical school, but some offer on-the-job training. Programs last from one to two years. In addition, most pharmacies offer on-the-job training to give trainees time to earn the relevant certificates. Most states allow trainees a grace period for certification.
State rules regulating pharmacy technicians vary, but in general, they will have to pass an exam or complete an education or training program to work in that state.
- Have excellent customer service skills
- Are detail-oriented
- Have excellent listening skills
- Have strong math skills
- Are organized