Pharmacy Technicians help licensed Pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals and support them by performing administrative tasks. They are employed by retail and hospital pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and by pharmaceutical manufacturers.
A Pharmacy Technician who works in hospitals and other medical facilities is in charge of preparing a greater variety of medications, such as intravenous medicines. They may also make rounds in the medical facility they work for, giving medications to patients.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Pharmacy Technicians are required to complete.
- Greeting patients and customers.
- Assisting Pharmacists with their daily tasks:
- Doing inventories of medications and keeping prescription records of pharmaceutical products;
- receiving verbal and non-verbal prescriptions from practitioners and ensuring that prescriptions are authentic;
- taking the information needed to fill a prescription from a customer;
- ensuring the information on the clients’ prescriptions is accurate, entering the client’s information in computer systems, and preparing the corresponding medications;
- dispensing the prescriptions accurately;
- handling customer prescription pick-up;
- compounding oral solutions, ointments, and creams;
- receiving payment from customers;
- billing third-party insurers;
- transferring prescriptions to and receiving them from other pharmacies;
- performing other duties as assigned (e. g. maintaining product displays); and
- helping with scheduling and workflow when necessary.
- Making sure that customers or hospital patients get the right medicines and treatments in the right doses:
- Recording patients’ histories related to medicinal use;
- assisting Clinical Pharmacists as required;
- distributing medications to patient care areas, using automated dispensing cabinets and central pharmacy automation;
- preparing dose drug distribution, including the preparation and delivery of IV medications;
- directing patient’s queries to the corresponding medical department accordingly;
- maintaining the medical institute’s drug inventory control system and keeping appropriate records in compliance with pharmacy regulations and established procedures; and
- completing insurance forms and working with insurance companies to ensure that patients get the medicines they need.
- Assisting the Pharmacist during health checks, helping during procedures such as pregnancy tests, checking cholesterol and blood pressure, and screening for diabetes.
- Assisting with Cashier responsibilities as required in the pharmacy.
- 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.
- Taking the information needed to fill a prescription from customers or other health professionals.
- Measuring the correct amounts of medication for prescriptions.
- Packaging and labelling prescriptions.
- Carrying out inventory and informing Pharmacists about any shortages of medications or supplies.
- Accepting payment for prescriptions and processing insurance claims, if any.
- Entering customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a digital database.
- Answering phone calls from customers or vendors.
- Arranging for customers to speak with Pharmacists in case they have questions about certain medications or health matters.
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
- being able to deal with customers effectively.
- Analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills:
- Being able to analyze and assess customers’ needs; and
- balancing a variety of responsibilities, completing the work delegated by Pharmacists while, at the same time, providing service to customers or patients.
- 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.
- Physical strength:
- Being able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds.
Aside from the skills listed above, Pharmacy Technicians must be able to create a dialogue with customers or patients in order to provide excellent customer and patient service and to maximize their loyalty. These professionals aren’t usually required to have a bachelor’s degree; however, employers usually prefer a candidate with a certification from an accredited Pharmacy Technician program and at least one (1) year of experience in the area.
In Canada, these professionals must successfully pass the Pharmacy Technician Qualifying Examination through the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). As regulated healthcare professionals, registered Pharmacy Technicians will be responsible and accountable for patients through the legislation, standards, and bylaws of the professional regulatory authority in the province in which they practice.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians work closely together to deliver medications, advice, and assistance to their patients and customers. The Pharmacist relies on the Pharmacy Technician for many daily tasks and the Technician looks to the Pharmacist for guidance. They each have their own job, but they work together to get things done. 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.