Choosing the job you want is not like choosing what course to take in college or what dish you want to be served. It’s definitely much harder. At least in college, you only need to sacrifice four to five years of your life, unless you’re inclined to take it further and get a master’s degree. But choosing the right place of employment can potentially affect you for a lifetime so one must choose wisely before making a decision.
In this article, we are going to explore the job description, specifications and qualifications needed to become a pharmacy technician.
The first question one should ask is… what is a pharmacy technician and what does a pharmacy technician do? First of all, a pharmacy technician is not a pharmacist. A pharmacist must have a degree in pharmacy. On the other hand, a pharmacy technician isn’t burdened with the same requirements and responsibilities.
In a nutshell, a pharmacy technician is an assistant pharmacist but has job responsibilities one step higher than that of a pharmacist aide.
Let’s break down the official definition of pharmacy technicians’ job title into two parts. The pharmacist or pharmacy aspect of the job requires you to have a working knowledge of drugs and medicine. A pharmacy technician must also know the difference between cough tablets and aspirin and have the knowledge to navigate the fine line between headache pills and tablets to help relieve PMS and they must also be able to handle the basic operations of a pharmacy if the pharmacist is on vacation or nowhere to be found.
The technical aspect of the job also requires the pharmacy technician to have exemplary organizational skills and they may be also be required to label medicine bottles and categorize them under the correct name or group – the 100 mg label must go on the 100 mg bottle. Just one error, one tiny oversight could result in very negative consequences for a patient.
Other tasks include being able to work under pressure because there will be days that the drugstore or pharmacy where you work has people lined up to get their prescriptions filled.
As a pharmacy technician, you will also be responsible for supplying aid to licensed pharmacists as they provide patients with medication and other healthcare products. A well trained, competent pharmacy technician must therefore be knowledgeable enough to suggest alternative brands for off the counter medication but alternatives for prescribed medication is solely the responsibility of licensed pharmacists.
A pharmacy technician is sometimes required to perform certain manual tasks like labeling bottles, counting pills or doing inventory. In some areas of the country, the tasks of a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist aide overlap so don’t be surprised if on occasion, you end up being asked to complete tasks meant for the latter. This could include acting as a cashier, answering phone inquiries, stocking shelves and other clerical duties. While there are several pharmacy technician duties that a pharmacist aide can never perform, there are few pharmacist aide tasks that a pharmacy technician cannot perform.
The job responsibilities of a pharmacy technician can vary depending on the type of business the pharmacy they work at is located in. For example, a pharmacy technician is usually assigned to handle orders sent through courier or even email in a mail order pharmacy and upon verification that the order is correctly and properly filled up, the pharmacist technician is then required to do the actual counting, weighing and mixing of the prescription.
On the other hand, in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and so forth a pharmacy technician may have the added responsibilities of record filing and the updating of patient files – especially those related a patient’s medication.