Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They have numerous responsibilities both behind the counter and on the floor of retail and hospital pharmacies.
Duties may include preparing prescription labels, pricing and filling prescriptions, establishing and maintaining patient profiles, preparing insurance claim forms, and stocking and taking inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
In hospitals, additional duties may include reading patient charts, preparing and delivering medicine to patients, copying information about prescribed medications onto a patient's profile, assembling 24-hour supplies of medicine for every patient, and packaging and labeling each dose separately. Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians generally work in clean, organized, well-lighted and well-ventilated areas in retail and mail-order pharmacies or hospitals. Most workdays are spent standing and may require lifting heavy boxes or the use of stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves. Technicians work the same hours as pharmacists, which may include evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays. As seniority increases, technicians often have increased control over the hours they work. There are also many opportunities for part-time work in both retail and hospital settings.
All pharmacy technicians are now required to be certified in Illinois. This class prepares students for both certification exams: ExCPT and PTCB.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimated the current number of pharmacy technician jobs at approximately 355,300 in 2012. By 2022, this number is expected to increase by as much as 20 percent due to the continued creation of new medications by pharmaceutical industries to treat all types of illness and disease. In addition, mail-order pharmacy technician jobs are expected to increase as more people use this service offered through insurance companies as a less-expensive alternative for purchasing their medications.
Students who are 18 years old, have graduated from high school or earned a GED, and have no prior drug convictions are eligible to take this course. High school level math skills and reading comprehension are also required.
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