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Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Clerk standing behind the pharmacy counter.
Becoming a Pharmacy Technician 
 
This course is designed to train students to obtain entry-level positions in the Pharmacy Technician industry.  The program teaches students basic pharmacology, measurement and calculating techniques, pharmaceutical abbreviations, terminology and classification, preparations of unit dose packaging, preparation and delivery of medications, inventory control, legal and ethical responsibilities, clerical skills, and customer service skills. Upon successful completion of the course, the student will meet the requirements of the State Board of Pharmacy for employment as a Pharmacy Technician.  The student will also be eligible to apply for a Pharmacy Technician license and be prepared for the national exam.  Instruction includes both classroom and clinical training at pharmacies. 
 
Why a Pharmacy Technician?
 
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They mainly work in retail pharmacies and hospitals.
 
Pharmacy technicians typically do the following:
  • Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
  • Measure amounts of medication for prescriptions
  • Package and label prescriptions
  • Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages of medications or supplies
  • Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
  • Enter customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a computer system
  • Answer phone calls from customers
  • Arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists if customers have questions about medications or health matters
 
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists who must review prescriptions before they are given to patients, Technicians can compound or mix some medications and call physicians for prescription refill authorizations. Technicians also may need to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.

Career Outlook

Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Several factors will lead to increased demand for prescription medications.  The population is aging, and older people typically use more prescription medicines than younger people. Higher rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes among all age groups also will lead to increased demand for prescription medications. Advances in pharmaceutical research will allow for more prescription medications to be used to fight diseases. 
 
 
Continuing Education Opportunities
 
Certification: Pharmacy Technician
Doctoral or Professional Degree:  Pharmacist


Sample Salaries for Pharmacy Technicians by Industry*
 
Hospitals; state, local and private          $36,710 
General merchandise stores                 $31,320
Food and beverage stores                    $29,860
 Pharmacies and drug stores                $29,500
 


*Source:  Employment Development Department 

 


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