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The Job Market for Pharm Techs in 2020

If you are deciding on a career or considering making a career change, it is essential to look at the benefits and risks of any potential occupations. If you want to get into the healthcare field, consider a career as a pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists by collecting customer's information or information from health professionals to fill prescriptions, measure medications, label, and package prescriptions, and organize and keep an inventory of stock. A pharmacy technician job description states that pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of the pharmacists and is responsible for assisting with customer service, relaying information to the pharmacist, maintaining inventory, and mixing medicines as needed.

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is projected to grow by seven percent into 2028, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. That is quicker job growth than all occupations. The increase is due to an aging population and the demand for older people to use prescription medicine. Here are a few reasons why jobs as a pharmacy technician are in high demand:

  • Job Growth – the projected job growth of pharmacy technicians is predicted to grow because of the aging baby-boomer population. The advancements in pharmaceutical research will also bring more patients into pharmacies looking to fill prescriptions.

  • Quick Certification – Becoming a pharmacy technician doesn't take years of school. Most pharmacy technician certificate programs or associate degrees can be completed in less than two years, and the courses prepare you to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE). In the certification programs, candidates gain practical knowledge and hands-on job experience on what it is like to be a pharmacy technician.

  • Work Satisfaction – pharmacy technicians report high job satisfaction because of their ability to assist people in feeling better. Pharmacy technicians play an essential part in helping patients.

  • Different Work Settings – pharmacy technicians have options on where they would like to work with different environments. These work environments can include retail pharmacies, hospitals, hospice care facilities, nursing homes, nuclear pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies, corrections facilities, and even nuclear pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians have options to choose between the work setting that favors them the most.

  • Work with Hands – The day to day for pharmacy technicians can be different, and most of the work is very hands-on duties that are more than going beyond typing data into the computer. Pharmacy technicians help the pharmacist with filling medications, organizing inventory, keeping stock up to date, measuring prescriptions, and other duties as needed.

  • Various Roles – with the different work settings, there are a variety of roles. Each work environment would have different duties for the pharmacy technician to perform. For example, retail pharmacies will involve more customer service tasks than a hospital setting. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that as the industry grows, it will mean more opportunities for the pharmacy technician to play a more significant role in the pharmacy.

  • Opportunities for Advancement – taking the associate's degree program and getting a certificate as a pharmacy technician can open doors to other career advancements down the road if you choose. As you gain more experience in the healthcare field, you can discover other careers that might interest you are going on to be a pharmacist yourself. The training and education you gain from becoming a pharmacy technician can help further your career in the healthcare field if and when needed.

Tasks and Responsibilities of Pharmacy Technicians

The setting a pharmacy technician works in can impact their tasks and responsibilities, but generally, pharmacy technicians are greeting customers and filling their prescriptions. There are several regular responsibilities that all pharmacy technicians will complete on the job, including:

  • Receiving orders – process and retrieve prescriptions through computer software.

  • Confirming prescriptions – pharmacy technicians need to verify that the information on the medicine is correct, such as name date of birth, etc.

  • Submit insurance claims – a pharmacy technician will confirm the prescription then submit it to the patient's insurance coverage for payment.

  • Customer service – pharmacy technicians working in a retail setting can expect to be providing customer service to customers and patients on a daily basis. Customer service interactions involve referring patients to the pharmacist or helping locate an over the counter medication.

  • Stock medication and supplies – an essential aspect of a pharmacy technician's job Iis keeping track of inventory and stock.

  • Obtain prescription approvals – another responsibility for a pharmacy technician is to make sure prescriptions are reviewed and approved by the pharmacist. Also, disposing of patient's information when the order is complete.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

Requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician can differ from state to state, but generally, a person needs their high school diploma or equivalent. They also need on-the-job training or to complete a certification or associate degree program in pharmacy technology. The majority of states are regulated for pharmacy technicians and require that technicians pass and certificate exams after completing the course and on-the-job training.

Work Environment and Income

Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies, and this can include settings such as drugstores, general merchandise, grocery stores, and hospitals. Most work as a pharmacy technician is full time but can be part-time. However, a schedule for a pharmacy technician can include working evenings and weekends. The median salary for pharmacy technicians is approximately $33, 500, but it can be different depending on a person's education, geographical location, and years of experience.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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