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Career Guide: Pharmacy Technician

Career Guide: Pharmacy Technician

Adapted from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition

Significant Points

• Job opportunities are expected to be good for full-time and part-time work, especially for those with certification or previous work experience.
• Many technicians work evenings, weekends and holidays.
• About seven out of 10 of jobs were in retail pharmacies, grocery stores, department stores or mass retailers.

Nature of the Work

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists provide medication and other healthcare products to patients. Technicians usually perform routine tasks to help prepare prescribed medication for patients, such as counting tablets and labeling bottles. Technicians refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information or health matters to a pharmacist.

Could You Be the Perfect Pharmacy Technician?

1. What sort of work hours are you looking for?

9-5 sounds right to me!
12 on, 12 off.
As few as possible.

Those in pharmacy aide careers work closely with pharmacy technicians. They often are clerks or cashiers who primarily answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves and perform other clerical duties. Pharmacy technicians usually perform more complex tasks than do those in pharmacy aide careers, although in some states their duties and job titles may overlap.

Pharmacy technicians who work in retail or mail-order pharmacies have varying responsibilities, depending on state rules and regulations. Technicians receive written prescriptions or requests for prescription refills from patients. They also may receive prescriptions sent electronically from the doctor’s office. They must verify that the information on the prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription, technicians must retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure and sometimes mix the medication. Then, they prepare the prescription labels, select the type of prescription container, and affix the prescription and auxiliary labels to the container. Once the prescription is filled, technicians price and file the prescription, which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to the patient. Technicians may establish and maintain patient profiles, prepare insurance claim forms, and stock and take inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications.


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