Anything in healthcare is a solid choice when thinking of a stable and derisible career. I’m a pharmacy technician and I can tell you from my personal experience it’s a career that is not only in demand but also steadily growing over the last decade. If you have ever been in a pharmacy or had to wait in the long lines to get your prescriptions you know from that experience that pharmacy technicians are not only needed but are in high demand. The average pharmacy has well over 15 technicians working at a time and where I work there are over 75 of us working every day. Really its know wonder with all the baby boomers out there, that this growth in the pharmacy technician field is going strong and isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon. Which means a career as a pharmacy technician will be a long stable career that you can be proud to be apart of.
It wasn’t that long ago here in Oregon that you didn’t need anything but a high school diploma to be a technician. Where you could be hired and trained on the job. However, those days are long past and you will need to become nationally certified to be hired as a pharmacy tech now. When I was looking to break into the industry I was surprised as to the cost of the schools and the amount of training that is needed to become certified. Now don’t let that last sentence discourage you from joining us out there. I just wanted to be honest from the get go and say that you will be most likely using some sort of financial aid to be paying for your pharmacy schooling or pharmacy technician training. I will be posting more specific information just about financial aid and different school options as well. But for this article let’s just go over some of the basic pharmacy technician duties and responsibilities as well as some examples of some daily operations.
So what do we do? Well if you ask a tech behind the scenes you will get answers like “everything” The truth is simple we technicians make sure the patients are taking the correct quantity, dosing and even the correct brand of medication that the provider or doctor has prescribed for the patient. It’s the job of the technician to make sure and dispense the correct medication to the patient as well as bill the order to the correct insurance company. Some employers like the big hospitals are not only the pharmacy but the insurance carrier as well and that sometimes makes the job a bit easier. Once the order is complete the Pharmacist will double check and offer a consultation to the patient as well as answer any questions the patient might have. But working in hospitals is only a small area a technician can be working. There are pharmacies now in almost every grocery store, long-term care facilities, ware-house or mail order pharmacies, military bases and even insurance companies that hire pharmacy technicians, using there skills in auditing paperwork, and claim adjustments. Counting out pills is the easy part of the job, you will learn to decode prescriptions so you can enter the information into the computer systems, make labels to go in the bottles, taking phone calls or answering phone calls, stocking or taking care of large inventories of medications is just a few of the daily duties a technician could be doing. Just as a doctor has medical assistants helping them the Pharmacist has us pharmacy technicians helping them with this large work load.
How do you get certified you ask? Well I plan on covering this in detail in another article. Mostly because this questions answer is different from state to state. For the most part you will need to go to a school to study all the materials to be able to pass the national exam. These schools very of course from state to state but here in Oregon they can average about 8 ti 10 months in length. Once the schooling is passed you are ready to take the pharmacy technician exam. Again I will explain more about this exam and the process later. But it takes about 3 hours to complete and once you complete it you will be able to apply for a pharmacy technician job. That my friends, is the whole purpose of this site, getting you ready to take that first step into becoming a certified pharmacy technician.