You may be toiling away at a dead-end career or fresh out of high school, looking for a more direct route into a career you can love, but in either case, exploring vocational schools and accredited training programs, such as Pharmacy Technician schools can be the catalyst. At Arizona College, we want you to be aware of what to expect as you think about beginning your journey. Keep reading to find out a little bit more about what a pharmacy technician is, and what their day-to-day activities include.
What’s a Pharmacy Technician and What Does One Do?
A pharmacy technician works within a team supervised by a licensed Pharmacist. Their day-to-day responsibilities include preparing and dispensing prescriptions for customers and healthcare professionals. Depending on where a technician works, they may interact directly with customers or work in a non-customer facing role.
On a typical day, Pharmacy Technicians receive a patient’s prescription, create or update the patient’s profile in a computer database, then review the contact and insurance information. During this time, the technician makes note of any particular drug allergies, and verifies any medications the patient’s taking.
Specific duties will obviously vary depending on the technician’s work environment, but will most likely involve the use of computer hardware/software, data processing, inventorying drugs for expiration dates and supply, communicating with physicians’ offices, and operating cash registers.
What Skills Do I Need to Have?
Being a Pharmacy Technician requires a strong blend of administrative, medical and customer service skills—in addition to being able to work in a fast-paced pharmacy setting. Technicians working in Mail-Order pharamacies aren’t required to interact with customers, and therefore don’t need to possess or contribute the same customer service skills as their retail and hospital technician peers. So if you enjoy a quieter, consistent work environment, consider going the Mail-Order route upon certification.
What Should I Look For and Expect in a School?
Looking for Pharmacy Technician schools can be overwhelming, though a necessary first step into the ever-growing world of healthcare. Here are some important qualities to consider for the school of your choosing:
° Training in modern pharmacy laboratories
° Lectures from experienced pharmacy technicians
° Hands-on lab work led by experienced pharmacy technicians
° Pharmacy management software training
Program lengths are another important factor to consider as everyone has their own situations and responsibilities. Arizona College offers a 34-week course.
Here’s the breakdown:
° 30 weeks of Pharmacy Technician coursework
° 4 weeks of Externship program
What Will I Learn?
Coursework will vary between Pharmacy Technician schools, but our curriculum focuses on anatomy principles ranging from the Cardiovascular System to Digestive and Respiratory Systems; Pharmacy practices like Retail Pharmacy and Inventory to Hospital Pharmacy Management; and Pharmacy Computer courses such as Superscript Pharmacy Management Software and Microcomputer Concepts and Keyboarding. Upon completion of the full coursework, you’ll progress to the Externship part of our program.
Do I Need to Become Certified?
You’ll need a Trainee License from the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy to participate in our Externship program after your 30 weeks of coursework. Our Externship program provides hours of real world, hands-on experience working with different prescription drugs and processes. The Trainee License allows you to work as a pharmacy technician for two years. You’ll need a Certified License after two years. Read further on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Process.