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Pharmacy technicians work the same hours that pharmacists work. Work hours may include evenings, nights, weekends and holidays, particularly in facilities that are open 24 hours a day, such as hospitals and some retail pharmacies. As their seniority increases, technicians often acquire increased control over the hours they work. There are many opportunities for part-time work in both retail and hospital settings.
The work is not physically taxing, although technicians do spend a lot of time on their feet and they may need to lift heavy boxes. This profession is also not advised for people who may have ethical or moral issues with dispensing certain medications.
For more information on job duties and descriptions, see:
Job Skills and Abilities
An effective pharmacy technician will be able to:
Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy technicians cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse.
Get detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended education of pharmacy technicians from:
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists provide medication and other health-care products to patients. Technicians usually perform routine tasks such as counting tablets, labeling bottles, pouring, weighing, measuring and mixing medications as necessary.
They interact with patients both in person and over the telephone, maintain patient profiles and verify electronically submitted prescriptions from health-care providers. Technicians refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information or health matters to a pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians are also responsible for maintaining stock and keeping an accurate inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Other duties vary by employer and could include filling out insurance claim forms and stocking shelves.
Pharmacy technicians work in:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 71 percent of pharmacy technician jobs are with retail pharmacies, grocery stores, department stores or mass retailers.
Projected Job Growth and Estimated Salaries
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians held about 326,000 jobs in 2008. About 71 percent of jobs were in retail pharmacies, either independently owned or part of a drugstore chain, grocery store, department store or mass retailer. About 18 percent of jobs were in hospitals and a small proportion was in mail-order and Internet pharmacies, offices of physicians, pharmaceutical wholesalers and the federal government.
Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 31 percent from 2008 to 2018 and good job opportunities are expected for full-time and part-time work, especially for technicians with formal training or previous experience.
In large pharmacies and health systems, pharmacy technicians with significant training, experience and certification can be promoted to supervisory positions, mentoring and training pharmacy technicians with less experience. Some may advance into specialty positions such as chemotherapy technician and nuclear pharmacy technician. Others move into pharmaceutical sales. With a substantial amount of formal training, some pharmacy technicians go on to become pharmacists.
Salaries and Projected Job Growth
According to America’s Career Infonet, these occupations include the following salaries across the nation: