Pharmacy Technician

The Pharmacy Technician program at the American College of Healthcare (ACH) in Riverside, California covers a variety of subject areas, such as medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, recordkeeping and techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics.

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Pharmacy technicians and assistants work under the supervision of the pharmacist. They help licensed pharmacists provide customer services, prepare prescription medications, and perform administrative duties within a pharmacy setting. Pharmacy technicians typically are responsible for the routine tasks associated with preparing and providing prescribed medication to patients, but their duties may also involve verbal prescriptions and doctor calls, medication and expense orders, expired credits and returns, and non-licensed pharmacy management.

What is a Pharmacy Technician?

Responsibilities

Pharmacy Technicians should be comfortable with standing for long periods of time, as they spend the majority of the day on their feet. Additionally, Pharmacy Technicians may be asked to lift heavy boxes or to use stepladders to retrieve supplies from high shelves. Many technicians work part time, but depending on the specific pharmacy, may also be required to work nights.Duties performed by a Pharmacy Technician may include any combination of the following:

  • Counting pills
  • Filling and verifying prescriptions
  • Labeling products
  • Maintaining patient records and insurance information
  • Measuring, packaging and delivering medications
  • Preparing IV’s
  • Transcribing physician’s orders

License

Most states do not require a Pharmacy Technician to be certified, but voluntary certification is available through several private organizations.

Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT): To become a CPhT, a Pharmacy Technician must pass the national certification exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician

  • Certification Board (PTCB) or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). To be able to sit for either of the exams, an individual must have no felony convictions within five years of applying, and have no pharmacy or drug conviction at any point.

Job Outlook

Employment for pharmacy technicians has been forecasted to increase by 32% from 2010 to 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor; this figure is well above the average across occupations. As insurers begin to use pharmacies as patient care centers and pharmacists become more involved in patient care, pharmacy technicians will continue to see an expansion of their role in the pharmacy world. In addition, they will begin to inherit many of the administrative duties that were previously the responsibility of pharmacy aides.

Graduates of ACH’s Pharmacy Technician program can choose to work in a variety of locations, including (but not limited to):

  • Assisted-living facilities
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s)
  • Home Infusion Organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Retail pharmacies

Pharmacy Technicians in California earn a mean wage of $27,750 to $37,750 according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2012.

Prerequisites

High-school diploma or GED.

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