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What would I do if I were a pharmacy technician?

Pharmacy aides often are clerks or cashiers who primarily answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves, and perform other clerical duties. Pharmacy technicians usually perform more complex tasks than do pharmacy aides, although in some States their duties and job titles may overlap.

Technicians who work in retail or mail-order pharmacies have varying responsibilities, depending on State rules and regulations. Technicians receive written prescriptions or requests for prescription refills from patients. They also may receive prescriptions sent electronically from the doctor’s office. They must verify that the information on the prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription, technicians must retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix the medication.

Then, they prepare the prescription labels, select the type of prescription container, and affix the prescription and auxiliary labels to the container. Once the prescription is filled, technicians price and file the prescription, which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to the patient. Technicians may establish and maintain patient profiles, prepare insurance claim forms, and stock and take inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Start your pharmacy technician career with online training from top distance education schools.

In hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted-living facilities, technicians have added responsibilities, including reading patients’ charts and preparing and delivering the medicine to patients. Still, the pharmacist must check the order before it is delivered to the patient. The technician then copies the information about the prescribed medication onto the patient’s profile. Technicians also may assemble a 24-hour supply of medicine for every patient. They package and label each dose separately. The packages are then placed in the medicine cabinets of patients until the supervising pharmacist checks them for accuracy. The packages are then given to the patients.

Pharmacy Technician Online Courses

While the pharmacy technician may get the bulk of their training on the job, there is a tendency among employers to prefer those who are educated and certified whether it is with a traditional, vocational school or with pharmacy technician online courses. For some people, the option of learning on the job and online at the same time can be a huge benefit. It reinforces their training by putting it to use immediately on the job.

What you will learn during pharmacy technician online courses

Medical terminology

  • Pharmaceutical terminology including medication names, their uses, actions, osages, and typical routes
  • Pharmaceutical calculations
  • Pharmaceutical record keeping
  • Pharmaceutical techniques
  • Pharmaceutical law and ethics

What should my level of education be before starting with pharmacy technician training?

While there is no requirement for formal training to be a pharmacy technician, there is preference for employees who do have it as well as for those who have certification. Currently, very few states have any type of requirement that applies state wide. There is, however, a national certification exam that allows a tech to receive national certification after finishing training whether it is on the job or through an online training course. Students who will do well in this type of training are those who have strong math, spelling, and reading skills. In addition, good communication skills, some chemistry experience, and prior health education are beneficial as well.

What other skills are beneficial to becoming a pharmacy technician?

Along with the technical skills that are required to do the job correctly, there are some other basic skills that must be in place to do it successfully. A pharmacy technician must have very good communication and customer service skills because they will be dealing with people who come to the pharmacy to have their prescriptions filled. When the pharmacy is just one department in a larger store, it rings up purchases from the rest of the store as well, so this training will also be included. The ability to listen to people who are frustrated, sick, or just relatively unpleasant is also important.

Continued education and training for pharmacy technicians

Pharmacy technicians must be recertified every two years if they want to keep the certification. One of the requirements to keep your eligibility is continued contact hours, or continued education. Of the twenty required hours, one hour must be directly related to some aspect of pharmacy law. Up to half of these hours (ten, in total) can be contact hours spent with the pharmacist directly.

Taking the pharmacy technician training online allows the student to work and keep up with family obligations while learning everything that they need to know to be ready for the certification exam. Find accredited online pharmacy technician schools here and get started with your new and exciting career.


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