Pharmacy technicians work under the direct supervision of a registered pharmacist. They help prepare prescriptions, provide customer service, and perform administrative duties within a pharmacy setting. Pharmacy technicians perform a wide variety of routine tasks such as locating medications, measuring quantities, packaging containers, and preparing labels. All prescriptions prepared by pharmacy technicians must be checked by a pharmacist before they are given to the patient. Technicians take care of many of the day-to-day operations of a pharmacy such as receiving and verifying prescriptions, answering phones, taking refill request, receiving and storing supplies, verifying stock, and entering data into a computer to maintain inventory or patient records.
Pharmacy technicians may also work with the pharmacy robot dispensing system, fill weekly medication sets for patients, establish and maintain patient profiles, as well as prepare insurance claim forms. Techs always refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information or health matters to a pharmacist.
- Retail pharmacies
- Hospital pharmacies
Most pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies with a smaller number working in hospital pharmacies. Technicians spend most of their work day on their feet, and may be required to lift heavy boxes or use stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves. Technicians work with pharmacy aides and pharmacists. Those working in retail pharmacies will have a significant amount of customer contact.
The work schedule will depend on the work setting and the hours of operation. In facilities that are open around the clock, technicians may be required to work some nights, weekends or holidays. Many technicians work part-time.
Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase 31 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growing number of middle-aged and elderly people, who use more prescription drugs than younger people, will spur demand for pharmacy workers. In addition, as more people obtain prescription drug coverage and scientific advances lead to new drugs, pharmacy workers will be needed in growing numbers. As pharmacists become more involved in patient care, pharmacy technicians will continue to see an expansion of their role in the pharmacy.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Close attention to detail
- Ability to perform repetitive tasks accurately
- Ability to work with a variety of people and a desire to help others
- Strong work ethic and good critical thinking skills
- Good math skills
The minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma or GED. Pharmacy technicians must be at least 18 years old. Each pharmacy is responsible for on-the-job training according to their Pharmacy Technician Manual, approved by the Board of Pharmacy.
Some pharmacy technicians attend a diploma or certificate training program. They complete coursework in classes and laboratories as well as gaining hands-on training working in pharmacies in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and retail pharmacies.
In Nebraska, pharmacy technicians are required to register with the State of Nebraska Health and Human Services, Public Health Licensure Unit. There is not certification or licensure required at this time.
A pharmacy technician may opt to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) by passing the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination given by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
Programs in Nebraska
- Southeast Community College – Beatrice (Diploma)
Related / Links
Other occupations related to healthcare:
Career information adapted in part from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handook, 2010-2011 Edition, Pharmacy Technicians and Aides, on the Internet at www.bls.gov