How May I Pursue a Pharmacy Technician?
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How May I Pursue a Pharmacy Technician?

Apr 08, 2010

A career as a pharmacy technician is a great choice for many people interested in medical fields, but who want to limit their interactions with the blood and gore that might be present in hospitals or doctor's offices. Pharmacy technicians have a good understanding of medical-related problems, work with other health care professionals, and also get to help the public. You yourself have probably been helped by a pharmacy technician the last time you visited your local drug store or retail chain.

What Kind of Education Should I Have?

There are two basic options for beginning a career as a pharmacy technician. You can either attend a board preparation class or you can attend a community college or technical school and obtain an associate's degree in pharmacy technology. There are pros and cons to both options. The board preparation class option is less expensive and does not last nearly as long as formal schooling at a technical or community college. Critics might say that it is too short of a time to learn all that is necessary to become a pharmacy technician. While associate's degree programs might be able to provide the student with a broader knowledge base, the programs are more expensive and the technician might have to incur a log of debt prior to starting a job. It is necessary for those who attend either program to pass a national certification exam. It may also be necessary, depending on which state you plan to be employed in, to pass a state exam as well.

What Kind of Work Do Pharmacy Technicians Do?

Pharmacy technicians work in conjunction with pharmacists and other technicians to get prescribed medications to patients. They might work in local drugstores, retail chains, hospitals, at special compounding pharmacies, or even for mail-order pharmacies. The exact job of the pharmacy technician will of course vary by which type of setting they work in. Those who work at a retail or "chain" pharmacy might be responsible for answering phones, ringing up customers' medications and handling transactions, and even stocking medications.

The pharmacy technician is required to refer any questions directly related to medications to the pharmacist. In a hospital setting, a pharmacy technician might have similar jobs, but might also deliver patients' medications to the individual nursing units after a doctor orders the medication and a pharmacist prepares it.

How Do I Know If a Career as a Pharmacy Technician Is Right for Me?

To learn if a career in pharmacy technology is right for you, you should speak to the pharmacy technician at your local hospital or retail chain about the details and expectations of their job. You might also want to inquire about local programs currently being offered in your area in this exciting field. If you enjoy working in a low-stress, friendly environment with other health care professionals while helping people at the same time, a career as a pharmacy technician might just be a perfect fit.

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