What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

A pharmacy technician position is one of many roles within the booming medical industry. This position involves working in a pharmacy setting and helping people get the medications they need, yet it differs from other roles in a pharmacy, such as a licensed pharmacist or pharmacy aide.

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If you’re considering working as a pharmacy technician, it’s beneficial to first know the duties you would carry out on a day-to-day basis. This knowledge will help you understand whether this is a position you could see yourself doing as a career or a starting point.

Duties of a Pharmacy Technician

Overall, your job as a pharmacy technician would be to help pharmacists with their role and to help customers. You would assist with preparing and dispensing prescription medications within a pharmacy, which could be in a retail store or a healthcare facility.

On an everyday basis, your job as a pharmacy technician would break down into more specific duties that involve working with medications and assisting customers or health professionals. Related to customer service, you would answer phone calls, ask customers for information, take payments and potentially set up a discussion between the customer and the pharmacist when a customer has a pharmacist question.

Your position would also involve administrative duties, including checking the information on a prescription, processing insurance claims, calling physicians about refills and entering information into a computer system.

You would also work with the prescription medications themselves to a certain extent. This part of your job could include taking care of medication inventory, operating an automated medication dispensing machine, and packaging and labeling prescriptions. You could also measure, count, weigh, retrieve or pour medications to fill a prescription, but your ability to work with the actual medications varies by the state where you work. Nonetheless, most states allow technicians to mix certain medications.

You would work closely with the pharmacist on duty. Your position is supervised by the pharmacist, and you would turn to the pharmacist for many parts of your job. You would need the pharmacist to review the prescription before you hand it to a customer. Also, you would let the pharmacist know about medication shortages and inform them of customer questions.

Your role would involve working with people and with technology. Keep in mind that you could have additional pharmacy technician duties in addition to the main ones listed here.

How Setting Affects the Role

The setting where you work would generally impact your duties. Your role could be expanded in a medical facility such as a hospital compared to working in a retail setting. In a medical facility, you would be working with a broader range of medications. You could also be working directly with patients by doing rounds and giving medications.

If you decide to work in a retail setting, this could put you in various types of stores. You could work at the pharmacy in a supermarket, a department store, an independent or corporate pharmacy, or a general merchandise store. Therefore, it’s important to consider how the environment would impact your role. Would you prefer to work in a retail setting or a medical facility?

The pharmacy technician role provides a way to work in the medical industry within a growing specialty. With a large aging population and high rates of chronic health conditions and diseases, there is a significant need for medications. With the demand for medications, there is also a demand for people who can work in pharmacy roles.

Now that you know more about the pharmacy technician role and what it involves on a day-to-day basis, you can decide if this career is right for you.