Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have one of the least understood careers in the health care field. Often considered to be glorified “pill counters” with advanced degrees, pharmacists actually have a very complicated job that uses every bit of the education required to hold the position.
When a patient is given a prescription for a disease or condition, there are different factors that will affect how the medication will improve (or in some cases, damage) their health.
A pharmacist must pay attention to the way different types of medication will react with one another, relay how the medication will impact the patient’s daily activities, and ensure that the medication is delivered safely and in the proper quantities.
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
A pharmacy technician is a pharmacist’s right hand, performing a variety of tasks that facilitate the disbursement of medication to patients. Although you must always work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist, there is quite a bit of responsibility that comes with the job.In a typical day, a pharmacy technician is called upon to:
- Count pills
- Label medication bottles
- Perform administrative tasks (including answering phones, operating cash registers, and taking care of insurance billing)
- Keeping medication well stocked
- Processing prescriptions
- Answering questions or directing patients to refer to the pharmacist
One of the best parts about being a pharmacy technician is the versatility in where you work. Although almost all work is done in a pharmacy, it’s possible to find employment in retail settings, mail-order pharmacy companies, hospitals, nursing homes, and even larger doctor’s offices. Regular 9-to-5 hours are common, though 24-hour pharmacies might also offer weekend, evening, and night shifts.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technician training programs are typically offered in a one- to two-year training program, which may or may not culminate in an Associate degree. The rate of pay generally falls between $10 and $20 per hour, with increased wages for long-term experience.
The pharmacology field is one that is strong and dynamic – and likely to stay that way for many more years. Job stability and opportunities are high, and the generally low stress of this particular field means that you can remain in it for years without worrying about burnout.