What Does A Pharmacy Technician Do?

"I am interested in the idea of working in a pharmacy, but right now I am not sure that I want to become an actual pharmacist. I don’t have a lot of resources. I come from a pretty poor background. So I was thinking instead why not become a pharmacy tech. What would I be doing if I did this job, as opposed to becoming a pharmacist?"

asked by Jennifer from Craig, CO

The last time you visited a pharmacy to pick up a medication, do you remember the person who greeted you at the counter? That person was more likely a pharmacy technician than an actual pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians perform a number of duties in the pharmacy, including assisting pharmacists under their supervision and assisting customers directly and providing great customer service. Here are some common job duties for pharmacists:

Pharmacy technicians fill prescriptions, under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. Provide medications to patients. Medications may include prescription medications as well as over-the-counter medications.

They greet customers at the front desk and provide helpful, informative customer service, they provide patients with information on medications. Ask patients whether they require directions from a pharmacist on the use of the medication.

Pharmacy technicians also help customers to check out and finalize their purchases. They manage the medicine supply areas including medicine dispensaries. They assist with the production of medications in hospitals and labs.

Not all pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies. If you work in a hospital, you may put together medicinal packets for doctors and nurses to bring to their patients. Hospital jobs are highly coveted, because they generally result in a higher pay grade.

Some pharmacy technicians may work in a supervisory position. These techs still work under the supervision of a pharmacist, but they may assist by overseeing the work of other pharmacy technicians as well.

There is room for growth in the occupation, as well as opportunities to make a higher salary. You also may be able to get some idea as to whether you would like to go back to school eventually to study to become a pharmacist. Pharmacists make a great deal more money than pharmacy technicians, so it is an idea worth considering. The investment in the education can really pay off over the long term.

Career Spotlight: Pharmacy Technician

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