If you love medicine and science, have strong math skills, then this could be the right job for you. Who is a pharmacy technician? This may just sound simple, but wait, what does a pharmacist do? A lot of people may think that a pharmacy technician doe the same job as a pharmacist but that is not the case. A pharmacy technician helps a licensed pharmacist to dispense medicines, count pills or tablets, blend medications, fill prescriptions, answer questions from the customers and maintain the packaging and labeling of medication.
Are you wondering what you will be doing as a pharmacist technician? Your job description is pretty simple or rather straight forward. You will assist the licensed pharmacist in their daily tasks. You will work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist or another healthcare provider. Your work will be to carry out duties that are related to preparing and dispensing medicines to patients. Sometimes, you may be asked to perform clerical duties. These clerical duties may include handling inventories, patient records and managing insurance claims.
As a pharmacy tech, you may also be responsible for managing the cash register especially if you work in a neighborhood pharmacy. A pharmacy tech is also among the front line personnel that handles routine pharmacy tasks such as answering phone calls. If you work in a hospital or a big pharmacy, you may have some different duties. You will mainly focus a lot on medicine and handling medications. You will measure, weigh, count and mix different medications as per the pharmacist instructions. Sometimes, you may work directly with a physician, patients and any other clients. You may also be responsible for reading the patients charts and giving medications to patients especially if you are working in a hospital.
If working in a local pharmacy, you will give advice on how to live healthy and how to deal with minor illnesses to customers. There are some pharmacy techs that are trained on providing a stop smoking service to people so if you are one of them, you are expected to take that responsibility. If working in a retail setting, you should also advice clients on over the counter products and prescription medicines.
If you would like to become a pharmacy technician, you have probably asked yourself this question over and over, how much does a pharmacy tech make? Before we even get into any specifics about the salary of a pharmacy tech, it is important to bear in mind that as with any profession, this figures will change depending on various factors.
For example, a pharmacy technician who is highly experienced will of course earn more money that one who is just fresh from college, and particularly one who does not have any certification.
Likewise, a pharmacy tech who has earned an extra pharmacy technician certification within the profession will definitely earn a higher salary than the one who does not have such kind of certifications.
According to statistics from the (BLS) Bureau Labor of Statistics, 2012 May, the average salary of a pharmacy tech is approximately $30,430, which equates to $14.63 hourly wage for people in this profession. The least paid (ten percent) earn an average salary of a mere $20,580, while the highest paid (ten percent) pharmacy techs make $42,400 annually.
Factors that influence pharmacy tech salary
The industry one is employed in matters a lot when it comes to determining pharmacy tech salary. For example, a pharmacy tech who is employed in pharmacy or a local drug store earns about $28,940, while one who works in surgical or larger establishments earns about $34,410. Outpatient centers and the federal government are some of the highest paying industries for this job, with each paying $38,750 and $ 40,650 respectively yearly.
There are also states that stand out as being the best paying areas to work in for pharmacy techs. Those that work in the Columbia district enjoy higher salaries of $40,560 annually. Pharmacy techs also earn higher in Washington at $39,630 and California $39, 150. Depending on the state, qualifications and the industry you are working in, you can make lucrative salaries that are above the average.
Therefore, if you are thinking of being a pharmacy tech, it is important to keep these differing factors about salary in mind.
Pharmacy techs work in homecare agencies, retail pharmacies, hospitals, mail order pharmacies, nuclear pharmacies, state, supermarkets and hospice pharmacies. They work in well ventilated, organized and clean areas. Most of their working hours are usually spent walking, bending and standing. They may also be expected to lift heavy boxes or use ladders to get medicines from shelves that are located high.
Pharmacy techs work for about 37 to 40 hours a week including weekends and some occasional evenings. There are so many opportunities for part time hours. However, you may be expected to work on a Rota based system since some pharmacies are open for 24 hours. As your seniority increases, you are able to have a control of your working hours. Your employer provides you with uniform and protective clothing if you work under sterile conditions.
To be a pharmacy tech, you will need the minimum of a high school diploma or its equivalent. Training is not a must in this line of profession since most pharmacy techs learn while on the job. Often, they receive informational training while working. When they become familiar and comfortable with the guidelines and procedures, they are left to work on their own. However, those who have formal pharmacy training are usually given preference. Having a certification from the pharmacy technician certification board (PTCB) may be among the basic pharmacy tech requirements from most hiring companies.
If you are applying for a pharmacy technician job, you should have proficient customer service skills, basic math, communication and pay attention to detail. Correct prescription filling is vital since the safety and health of customers depends highly on it; that is why precision is a matter of great importance.
People who have previous experience as a cashier in a retail store usually have an advantage over those who lack this experience. This is because these people already know how to handle sales and inventories. If you would like to pursue this career for a long time, it is important that you enroll for a pharmacy technician training so that you meet the basic pharmacy technician requirements.