Pharmacy Technicians work in pharmacy chains alongside Pharmacists. They are in charge of performing assisting duties such as welcoming customers and patients as well as helping with their needs and requirements. They are also responsible for prescriptions and insurance claims processing, and for organizing, monitoring, and making sure the establishment has the necessary supplies and inventory to fulfill patients’ requests. In addition, Pharmacy Technicians assist in data entry and verification and preparation of prescriptions.
The most common workplace for any Pharmacy Technician is in a pharmacy, whether private, public, or pharmacies located in health centres, hospitals, and clinics. However, they may also find employment in retirement homes, rehabilitation centres, and other specialized locations where patients receive medical care for extended periods of time.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Pharmacy Technicians are required to complete.
- Greeting patients and customers:
- Ensuring the information on the clients’ prescriptions is accurate, adding new prescriptions to their file, if any;
- receiving prescriptions and ensuring their authenticity; and
- reviewing customer files and updating them with any changes in personal information or medical condition.
- Prepare, compound, and dispense medications and pharmaceutical products according to the prescription’s information:
- Selling and distributing medications and drugs to patients following procedures and adhering to physicians’ instructions regarding dosage and composition;
- packing custom-made compounds for selling and distribution from the pharmacy; and
- giving advice and recommendations to patients and customers regarding medications as well as referring them to a physician when necessary.
- Receiving payment from customers, completing insurance forms and contacting insurance companies whenever necessary.
- Assisting the Pharmacist during health checks, helping during procedures such as pregnancy tests, checking cholesterol and blood pressure, and screening for diabetes.
- Sending prescriptions to other pharmacies and providing them with any additional instructions regarding the patient’s condition, preferences, or habits.
- Keeping an inventory of medications and pharmaceutical products.
- Maintaining database, ensuring all prescriptions are properly digitized and organized.
- Maintaining product displays and performing any other related duties, as assigned.
- Carrying out administrative and bookkeeping tasks when required.
- Complying with company or hospital standard operating procedures, policies, professional standards, and applicable laws and regulations.
- Staying updated on pharmacy regulations, treatments, and developments.
- Keeping records of all patients, their medical histories, and their purchases.
- Following physicians’ instructions regarding medication and dosage.
- Sorting, packing, and identifying medications.
- Charging customers or insurance companies for medication purchases.
- Inventorying products and requisitioning when stock is running low.
- Helping customers by answering their questions in person or over the phone, redirecting them to the Pharmacist whenever necessary.
The average Pharmacy Technician salary is $44,855 per year or $23 per hour. This is around 1.4 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $31,000 while most experienced workers make up to $63,000. These results are based on 234 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Exceptional customer service skills:
- Displaying strong customer service skills, setting high standards of patient and customer care; and
- being helpful and polite to customers and patients.
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills:
- Communicating clearly with Pharmacists and Physicians when taking prescription orders;
- listening carefully to understand customers’ needs and determining if they need to speak with a Pharmacist; and
- possessing excellent customer service skills in order to create a good relationship with patients.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Being able to analyze and assess customers’ needs; and
- multitasking, being able to handle several tasks at the same time while prioritizing the most important duties.
- Organizational skills and great attention to detail:
- Being able to prioritize tasks and responsibilities; and
- providing medications safely and appropriately, since a mistake filling a prescription can bring serious health issues to the customer or patient.
- Computer data entry skills.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians work hand in hand combining practices and skills to provide patients and customers with the upmost care, since the first relies on the second for assistance and support, while the latter looks up to the previous for guidance and mentoring. The main difference between a Pharmacist and a Pharmacy Technician is their level of education. Some employers do not require a Pharmacy Technician to have any formal training beyond high school.
In Canada, these professionals must successfully pass the Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). As certified healthcare professionals, Pharmacy Technicians must adhere to all provincial and national regulations regarding the sale and distribution of drugs and other medications.