Pharmacy Technician Career Information
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists to help fill prescriptions for customers or health professionals. Most commonly, pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies and drug stores, but they may also work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other medical facilities.
Pharmacy technicians serve an important role in ensuring the pharmacy runs smoothly and customers receive their medications in the correct doses in a timely manner. A pharmacy technician typically has the following day-to-day responsibilities:
- Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
- Measure and mix amounts of medication for prescriptions
- Pre-package bulk medications and label prescriptions
- Verify prescription information is accurate
- Answer telephones, responding to customer questions or requests
- Provide customer service, answering basic questions, locating items or referring them to pharmacists for additional information about their medications
- Price and file prescriptions that have been filled
- Use cash registers accept payment for prescriptions
- Process insurance claims for patients
- Maintain proper storage and security conditions for medications
- Establish and maintain patient records, including listings of medications being taken
- Assist with pharmacy inventory by ordering, labeling, and stocking medications and entering inventory data into computer programs
- In hospital settings, make rounds delivering medications to patients
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the largest employers of pharmacy technicians are pharmacies and drug stores, followed by hospitals, general merchandise stores, and grocery stores. In retail settings, pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists in the pharmacy department helping to fill prescriptions and ensure the smooth management of the department. Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals and other medical facilities may prepare a greater variety of medications, including intravenous medications, as well as make rounds delivering medications to patients.
Most pharmacy technicians work full-time. Because pharmacies may be open at all hours, pharmacy technicians often have to work nights or weekends. They also usually spend most of their workday on the feet. Read more about working as a pharmacy tech.
Pharmacy technicians held about 422,300 jobs in the U.S. in 2019 according to the BLS. The employment of all pharmacy technicians is projected to grow four percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. In part, this projected job growth is due to an aging population that typically uses more prescription medications than younger people. Higher rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes will also lead to increased demand for prescription medications. Additionally, as pharmacists take on more patient care responsibilities, such as giving flu shots, pharmacy technicians will likely take on a greater role in pharmacy operations. These conditions combined make now an excellent time to begin a career as a pharmacy technician.