Pharmacy Technician

Pros


  • You will be helping people in this type of work by providing medications that help improve their lives.
  • This type of work is good for those who are interested in science, especially chemistry.
  • There are expected to be very good job opportunities in this field over the long term.

Cons

  • You will be required to work outside of the normal 9-5 hours. This includes nights, weekends and holidays.
  • The work that is performed in a pharmacy setting is fast-paced, and you will need to be on your feet for the majority of the day.
  • There is some stress involved in this type of job, as you must pay close attention to details in order to make sure you are dispensing drugs that are safe for customers.

Overview

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist to prepare prescription medications for customers. There are a wide array of duties that pharmacy technicians can be asked to do, and because a pharmacy environment is fast paced, many tasks will need to be undertaken right away in order to service customers that need to get their medications quickly.

While their main duties are to receive prescription requests and fill them by weighing, pouring and mixing, pharmacy technicians also greet customers when they come into a pharmacy. Often times they are the single point of contact for customers, and they will usually spend time answering questions about a multitude of issues that may come up about medications. Because of this, pharmacy technicians must have knowledge on a wide array of medications. They also must be detail-oriented in order to make sure that they are telling customers the right information. In some workplaces, pharmacy technicians may supervise pharmacy aides that are charged with performing mainly administrative duties.

The majority of pharmacy technicians work in retail settings that require them to work hours that best fit their customers. But they can also work in other healthcare environments such as hospitals, nursing homes and private clinics. In some of these workplaces, pharmacy technicians may have added duties such as preparing solutions for a physician to administer.

Education

Though most employers do not require formal training, a high school diploma is generally needed. Even without standard requirements for this field, there are pharmacy technician training options that exist in private centers, vocational schools, hospitals, the military and in community colleges. Any one of these programs can make a prospective pharmacy technician’s job search easier. Those who are not properly trained before starting employment will be required to go through a training program during employment that can last up to two months.

Job Prospects

Those wishing to enter this field will find great job prospects. There is expected to be higher than average growth for this field, and this can be mainly attributed to the fact that technological advances in pharmaceuticals have resulted in more medications being available for injuries and illnesses, especially for the growing elderly population. These factors, combined with the fact that older pharmacy technicians are retiring, lend to excellent prospects in this field.

Advancement Opportunities

While the opportunities for advancement are slim for pharmacy technicians, it helps to have a good background of work experience and training in order to differentiate from others in the field. This is because there are some lucrative opportunities to work in managerial settings, to become specialized in oncology drugs or even gain employment in pharmaceutical sales. Some of those who have a lot of background experience in pharmacy settings often make excellent candidates to continue their education and can become pharmacists.