There are many settings that a pharmacy technician can work, and their duties will change depending on whichever field they work in.
What is a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians are vital professions in the healthcare field and work under pharmacists’ supervision in a pharmacy setting. Pharmacy technicians are typically the first contact for the pharmacy customers, including caregivers, patients, and other healthcare providers.
Pharmacy Technician Tasks and Responsibilities
Depending on the work setting, pharmacy technicians’ tasks and responsibilities can differ, but all technicians need to be certified from a pharmacy technician schools [like UMA].
The day to day for pharmacy techs can change depending on their work environment. However, there are standard job duties that pharmacy does in their role:
- Receive Prescriptions – A pharmacy technician will process and retrieve prescriptions over computer software.
- Confirm Prescriptions – pharmacy techs need to confirm their customer’s coverage and insurance eligibility.
- Submit insurance claims – when a customer’s eligibility is confirmed, and the pharmacy technician will submit requests to the patient’s insurance company for payment.
- Obtain Prescription Approvals – Pharmacy techs ensure all prescriptions are reviewed and approved by the supervising pharmacist.
- Dispense Medication – first, the pharmacist translates the medicine, reviews drug interactions, duplicates the therapy, appropriate dosage, and ensures that the dose is safe. When the pharmacist has passed the prescription, the pharmacy technician must verify doctor information, medication dosage, and medicine quality that has been approved.
- Stock Medication and Supplies – responsible for keeping inventory of supplies and ensuring they are always stocked.
Settings Pharmacy Technicians Work In
There are various settings for pharmacy technicians to work in. All locations have varying tasks and responsibilities that are required. The most common pharmacy technician is setting to work in retail or community-style, such as department store, grocery store, or a chain or independent pharmacy in a drug store.
Below are eight settings pharmacy technicians can work in:
Hospital pharmacy technicians work with IV medications and laboratory preparation to ensure that patients receive the provision they need. Pharmacy technicians in a hospital setting are also responsible for extensive cleaning to provide a safe and sterile pharmaceutical environment.
2. Online/Mail-Order Pharmacies
Online/Mail-Order pharmacy technicians work in an office environment where they file prescriptions. Responsibilities for pharmacy techs in an online/mail-order environment include meeting with pharmacists, maintaining patient databases, preparing medicine, and inventory maintenance.
3. Retail Pharmacies
Pharmacy technicians in a retail setting deal with customers and the public who need prescriptions filled and medicine. Pharmacy technicians support the pharmacist by filling prescriptions, answering customers’ questions, following up with doctors, and submitting claims to insurance companies.
4. Compounding Pharmacies
Compounding pharmacies are smaller and offer compound prescriptions. Compounding pharmacies can create custom prescriptions. Pharmacy techs in a compounding pharmacy will be required to know specialized certification for compounding medications and understand compounding techniques.
5. Long Term Care Facilities
Pharmacy technicians working in long term care facilities do similar work as hospital techs. Their day consists of filling prescriptions in a per-dose manner and preparing medications for later in the day.
6. Independent Pharmacy
Independent pharmacies makeup 40% of all community pharmacies and employ thousands of pharmacy technicians. Responsibilities for pharmacy technicians in the independent pharmacy are similar to those in chain settings and might include compounding, delivering medication to patients directly, and filling specialty packaging.
- Nuclear Pharmacy
Technicians working in nuclear pharmacies are certified and trained to handle and prepare radioactive medications. Technicians in this role perform mathematical calculation, inventory management, compounding, labeling, and ensure radiopharmaceuticals are safely transported and handled.
- Government Agency
Government agencies such as the Veterans Administration, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and Armed Forces require skilled pharmacy techs. In government agencies, pharmacy tech’s roles include receiving and reviewing prescriptions, medication replenishment in automated pharmacy dispensing systems, inventory management of drug products and pharmaceutical supplies, administering medications to patients, and compounding.
A report by the U.S. News & World Report states that pharmacy technician careers are ranked as one of the country’s top 100 best jobs. Pharmacy tech is an in-demand career that offers job stability and many choices for work. Salaries for pharmacy techs vary from state to state, and job experience, but the average is $42,000 per year.
Over the next few years, pharmacy techs will be called on to take a more extensive pharmacy operations role, as pharmacists are called to perform more patient care activities, such as giving flu vaccines. For this reason, and the aging population needing more medicines, the outlook for more pharmacy technicians is excellent.