Pharmacy Tech lab at Arizona CollegeYou may have thought about a career as a Pharmacy Technician but might still be wondering what a Pharmacy Technician does and what their role is within a Pharmacy. Pharmacy Technicians work under the supervision of a licensed Pharmacist.  They work as part of a team, filling prescriptions by preparing and dispensing pharmaceutical drugs to customers or to other healthcare professionals. If working in a retail setting, they also provide customer service directly to those who visit the Pharmacy.

The role of a Pharmacy Technician contains many steps that need to be completed in the proper order. When a prescription for a patient is received, Pharmacy Technicians create and update patient profiles in the computer database, review proper contact and insurance information, document any drug allergy, and verify current medications the patient is taking, reducing the likelihood of a drug interaction.

A Pharmacy Technician career offers a variety of work environments to choose from, each containing a diverse array of tasks and responsibilities.  Pharmacy Technicians require medical, administrative and customer service skills.  In the addition to mixing, compounding, and dispensing prescription drugs, Pharmacy Technicians will complete numerous additional tasks throughout their shift.

Duties of a Pharmacy Technician may include:

  • Greeting customers and receiving written prescription forms
  • Filling requisitions for prescription drugs
  • Reviewing physicians orders for proper dosage, drug allergies, and incompatibilities
  • Using computer hardware and software systems
  • Data processing for insurance purposes
  • Performing frequent inventory on all drugs, including verification of expiration dates and recalled items
  • Assisting customers by answering the phone, locating over the counter medication, answering general questions, and referring them to the Pharmacist for detailed medication information
  • Acting as a liaison between the Pharmacy and the physicians’ office for prescription requests and authorizations
  • Operating cash registers

Pharmacy Technicians are responsible for a variety of duties, and their job requires a wide range of skills.  They need to be very detail-oriented and meticulous in their work, because if a prescription is created or dispensed incorrectly, the results could be fatal. Although Pharmacy Technicians are charged with this important responsibility, they enjoy the benefit of providing patients with the medications they need. They provide service to various types of types of people, making it important to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. It is also important to have a positive and respectful attitude toward patients, the Pharmacist, and support staff. Presenting a friendly face, positive, and respectful attitude is always a good recipe. In addition, Pharmacy Technicians often times need to create a prescription by compounding multiple ingredients and ensure proper dosages are used, putting their mathematic skills to use.

Pharmacy Technicians help the Pharmacy run smoothly by keeping it clean and orderly while maintaining their work area and ensuring proper security. They also often assist in completing inventory control and ensuring correct labeling and appropriate storage for medications. Their work environment is generally well lit, clean, and organized.  Pharmacies are generally open 24 hours a day, so a Pharmacy Technician’s work schedule may vary to accommodate operating hours.  The Pharmacy Technician plays a very important role in the healthcare industry, with a variety of work settings to choose from.

Examples of exciting Pharmacy work environments may include:

  • Retail– Pharmacy, grocery stores, and retail stores allow Pharmacy Technicians to work with the general public. They communicate with customers in person, in addition to speaking with healthcare professionals on the phone to verify prescriptions.
  • Hospitals/Nursing Facilities-Pharmacy Technicians provide direct patient care to those admitted to hospitals and nursing facilities by creating, dispensing, and delivering medications to the nursing staff and other healthcare professionals.
  • Mail-Order– Pharmacy Technicians who work in this environment do not provide direct patient care, and instead work in a solitary work environment. If you think you may enjoy the work of a Pharmacy Technician, but are more of a “behind the scenes” type of person, a Mail-Order Pharmacy might be an enjoyable work environment for you.

So, what is the process to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician? Typically, Pharmacy Technicians receive formal training from an Accredited Institution such as Arizona College.  All Pharmacy Technician students must obtain their trainee license prior to starting the externship portion of our program. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates who wish to obtain certification can register to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).  Certification can enhance your resume to ensure competency in the field.

The Pharmacy Technician is an important member of the Pharmacy team.  If you enjoy providing customer service, are detail-oriented, and can imagine yourself working alongside a Pharmacist, then a career as a Pharmacy Technician could be yours!  For more information on our Pharmacy Technician program, complete a form and an Arizona College representative will contact you.  Take the first step toward your new Pharmacy Technician career and contact Arizona College today!

Arizona College-Glendale is ASHP accredited.