A pharmacy technician plays a very important role in delivering patient care and is a valued allied health professional. When we are unwell the first thing we do is consult a physician who prescribes medicines. And then we rush to the nearby chemist to get the necessary medicines.
The pharmacist reads the prescription carefully and then with the help of the pharmacist technician dispenses medicines accurately.
It is the duty of the pharmacist technician to measure amounts of medications, mix or compound the medications, count tablets and label prescriptions as per the instructions of the pharmacist.
It may sound easy, but the job of a pharmacist technician is not easy. It requires meticulous attention to detail, a good knowledge of medications, ability to deal with emergencies and awareness about the legal implications of the job.
Pharmaceutical-support professionals are seeing a surge in demand in our country and the median pay in 2012 as per the BLS report was $30,430. The BLS also predicts an employment growth rate of 20% between 2012 and 2022, which roughly translates into 70,700 new positions to be filled out.
Now that you know what a job on this field entails and how bright your career prospects are, would you not like to know a bit more about this exciting career option?
What Are the Educational Qualifications Required?
A high-school diploma is all that you need to enter this field. You will be trained on-the-job and will have to pick up the ropes as you go. But the growth and the earning potential you have will not be comparable to what you will have when formally trained.
Formal training can be obtained from vocational training centers or community colleges.
We offer comprehensive training programs that include 300 clock hours of training which includes 120 hours of classroom instruction and 180 hours of clinical externship.
The clinical externship enables you to work in actual work settings and you will be instructed on your job by a trained pharmacist.
Where Will You Work?
Pharmacist technicians have maximum employment potential in pharmacies and drug stores. Government regulations require pharmacists to be present at all points of sale.
Pharmacies see plenty of people streaming in through the day and night, and you will be required to be on your feet and remain active throughout.
Pharmacist technicians also find ample job opportunities in hospitals and private practices. But the demand is less as compared to that in pharmacies and external medical stores.
You will also find employment scope in groceries and general department stores which sell medicines. If you are interested in more off-beat work environments there is a strong demand for pharmacy technicians in the military and also in other sectors like NGOs, primary health care centers, mobile pharmacies and voluntary service programs.
What Is an Average Work Day Like?
As mentioned earlier, most days will be busy where you will be required to be on your toes all the time. Also most pharmacies function round-the-clock so you can expect to work in shifts and also on holidays.
A pharmacy technician will be primarily responsible for the back-end work and logistics of a pharmacist. You will also deal with patients who are unwell or their family or friends. They may be anxious and worried, and unsure of things. You will require good people skills to calm them down and help them feel better.
In some cases you might have to speak to agitated patients and pacify them, or arrange for the pharmacist to speak to them. Compassion, empathy and good communication skills are necessary to perform your job well.
A pharmacy technician has a range of responsibilities to attend to. You will have to take relevant information from customers or health professionals, and fill out prescriptions. The most important task is to measure out correct amount of medicines, count the accurate number of pills, and package and label the prescriptions. You will have to carry out your responsibilities under the supervision of the pharmacist.
Nowadays, many of these activities are mechanized so you will also have to learn to operate the necessary equipment.
Pharmacist technicians are also responsible for maintaining inventory and removing medicines past their expiry date.
A pharmacist technician has to be very careful while dispensing medicines because a small mistake can result in serious complications and put the patient’s life in danger. You have to be aware of the legal implications of your job as well.
A formal training will help you learn about the best practices on the job, and you will get an overview about pharmacy laws and ethics as well.
What Are the Future Prospects?
With an aging baby boomer population and increasingly common lifestyle diseases, there is a huge demand for quality healthcare. This surge in demand will see a ripple effect on affiliated services like pharmaceutical-support and allied health care jobs as well.
The BLS predicts 70,700 new jobs being created from 2012 to 2022 which is a growth rate faster than all other professions.
And a trained and experienced pharmacist technician can also branch out into other related professions or move to other specialized jobs in pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. You can also progress into managerial and supervisory roles in big establishments and practices.
As per BLS, ambulatory health care services gave the highest median pay of $35,470. The top 10 percent of pharmacist technicians earned more than $42,400.
How Can You Become a Pharmacist Technician?
If you are a detail-oriented person and possess good organizational skills, then this is a career you can consider.
After completing your high school or equivalent you can enroll for a pharmacy technician training program in CT at AIHT which will equip you with all the necessary skills and knowledge. These programs are less than one year in duration and are not of prohibitive cost.
Clinical externships are necessary to learn the practical aspects of the job and will give you an edge over other candidates when applying for jobs.
A pharmacist technician has excellent career prospects and a fairly comfortable job in a professional environment. So if you want to explore an exciting career in allied healthcare then this is a very good choice to make.