Medicines are the most common treatment offered to patients and the Pharmacy Technician is vital in ensuring they are used safely and effectively. With an ageing population and increasing numbers of people living with long-term conditions, it is more important than ever that patients get the most from their medicines. If you like the idea of working with people, doing a job that’s respected and offers flexibility and security, a Pharmacy Technician job could be for you.
The Pharmacy Technician helps licensed pharmacist provide medications and other health care products in a variety of settings such as the hospital, nursing home, assisted-living facility, and retail pharmacy. Helping the licensed pharmacist includes; verifying prescription information and preparing prescriptions by retrieving, counting, pouring, weighing, measuring or mixing medications as well as labeling prescription bottles. Help is also given by providing administrative duties such as maintaining patient profiles, completing insurance forms, inventorying stock, stocking shelves, answering the phone and operating the cash register. In hospitals and in long-term and assisted-living facilities, the pharmacy technician takes on the duty of preparing patients’ 24 hour supply of medications.
The need for pharmacy technicians is growing and therefore the prospects for employment are excellent. This growth is due to:
- Retailers expanding pharmaceutical services.
- Advancements in the number and types of pharmaceutical products.
- Pharmacists taking an active role in direct patient care.
- Increase demand for aging populations.
According to the National Pharmacy Technician Associations, the growth rate for Pharmacy Technician jobs within the next 10 years will be 28% whereby 39,000 Pharmacy Technician jobs will open each year. The Federal Government expects a 32% increase in pharmacy technician jobs from 2012 to 2016. For 2006 the Federal Government reported 555,000 pharmacy technicians held jobs in which 71% were in retails, 18% were in hospitals, and 11% were in mail order or internet pharmacies, physicians’ offices, pharmaceutical wholesalers and the Federal Government.
Experienced Pharmacy Technician salary ranges from $28,070 to $29,120 per year or $ 13.50 to $14.00 per hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the U.S. Department of Labor), Pharmacy Technician salary can expect:
- Median Hourly wage: $12.32 per hour.
- Lowest wage: $8.56 per hour.
- Highest Wage: $17.65 per hour.
- Median hourly wage for hospitals: $13.86.
- Median hourly wage for grocery stores: $12.78.
- Median hourly wage for pharmacies and drug stores: $11.50.
The Bottom Line:
Many pharmacy technicians advance their knowledge and skills after qualifying to take on responsibilities like performing final accuracy checks for dispensed medicines. In community pharmacy, technicians are also trained to advise members of the public on over-the-counter medicines, how to manage minor ailments and achieve healthy lifestyles.