What Is A Pharmacy Technician? 5 Key Job Functions
Are you in the market for a new career? Have you been thinking about pursuing a job in the health industry? Do you have interest in the uses and effects of medications? If you answered yes to these three questions, you may be the perfect fit for a job as a pharmacy technician.
But wait … what is a pharmacy technician?
A pharmacy technician is a vital member of a patient’s personal healthcare team. Working with a patient, the patient’s physician, and the patient’s pharmacist, a pharmacy technician works as a liaison to ensure the entire process, from order to pick up, runs correctly and smoothly.
Under direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, a tech performs important pharmacy-related functions and administrative duties that help maintain the high level of accuracy and efficiency that is required in this industry.
To break it down even more, here is a detailed description of five key functions that a pharmacy technician performs on a daily basis.
1- Take Prescription Orders
Whether online, over the phone, through the drive-thru window, or over the counter, taking in prescription orders is a big part of what a pharmacy technician does every day. A keen attention to detail and an eye for accuracy is pertinent in getting every single order filled correctly and on time.
Often, customers will ask questions or have special requests. A pharm tech will either answer these questions and requests or will refer the inquiries to the pharmacist, conveying the answer back to the customer.
2- Prepare Invoices and Receive Payments
After an order is taken, a pharm tech records and files the order information. Next, insurance coverage is verified, pricing is calculated, and a total of the charges is issued. An invoice is prepared and given to the customer. The tech receives payment for the invoice and inputs it into the pharmacy’s point-of-sale system.
When requested by the pharmacist, a tech will collect financial information, summarize findings, and submit a report.
3- Help Mix, Measure, Count, and Label Medications
When asked by the pharmacist, a pharmacy technician will help to fill prescription orders. This can include:
- Reading medication orders and prescriptions
- Organizing medications for dispensing
- Preparing labels
- Calculating quantities
- Assembling intravenous solutions
- Gathering various pharmaceutical therapies
By contributing to this team effort, high-quality results are accomplished and the health and safety of each patient is preserved.
4- Maintain Inventory
Maintaining the pharmacy inventory is another important job function of the tech. This is done by:
- Checking pharmaceutical stock to determine inventory level
- Anticipating the future need for medications and supplies
- Placing and expediting stock orders
- Verifying and receiving stock replacement
- Removing outdated drugs from inventory
- Maintaining records
All of these tasks are done while complying with procedures, rules, and regulations.
5- Act as Liaison Between Patients and Pharmacists
Acting as the liaison between patients and the pharmacists, a tech sets up consultations, communicates recommendations, and helps to answer questions.
Strong customer service and listening skills are important because techs often deal with sick and stressed patients who need a friendly hand in assisting them in obtaining their prescription medication. As the first and last person who greets each customer, being pleasant and cheerful goes a long way to making the process as easy as possible for the patient.
Education Requirements and Future Job Outlook
To become a pharmacy technician, a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Most states also require a tech to pass a regulatory exam. Though much of a tech’s training is on the job, an Associate’s degree will better prepare a potential tech to get certified, as well as give them an upper hand in their job search.
There are a variety of locations where pharmacy technicians are needed. Whether in a neighborhood pharmacy, supermarket pharmacy, hospital, or long-term care facility, qualified techs are in high demand.
As for the future job outlook of pharmacy technicians, it’s good! Growing at a faster than average rate (12% in the next 8 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), employment is high for both part- and full-time work.
If your question, “What is a pharmacy technician?” has been answered and you’re interested in pursuing this fulfilling (and growing!) career, request more information from Stevens-Henager College today!