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5 Insights for Pharmacy Technician Careers—Occupational Outlook Handbook

When considering any career field, it is important to have an understanding of the logistics of the field: the average salary, what kind of tasks you will be doing, and the outlook in the job market. This knowledge will help you decide the best avenue to take with a specific career.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a great resource for looking up any career, and we have broken down the components of the Pharmacy Technician field.

Discover the ins and outs of this allied health sector and whether it is the right fit for you!

Pharmacy Technician Insights

Outlook and number of jobs: Pharmacy Tech is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is consistent with other occupations. The need for pharmacy technicians will continue to increase as the demand for prescription medications increases, including the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. In addition, the health needs of baby boomers are growing and more medicines for conditions such as diabetes and chronic illnesses will need to be distributed. Advances in technology and medicine are continually changing, which will lead to new discoveries and additional medications for individuals to use. Overall, there were 422,300 pharmacy technician jobs in 2019.

Pay: The average pay is $35,100 a year as of May 2020. Technicians who worked in hospitals (state, local, or private) received on average $39,290 a year, and working in pharmacies and drug stores averaged $33,110 a year.

What is it?: A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist and will gather information necessary to fill a prescription request, measure the correct amount of medication for a prescription, label and package a prescription, organize the medications in the pharmacy and let the pharmacist know if there is a shortage of a specific medicine, answer phone calls, and enter patient information into the system. A majority of states will also allow technicians to compound medications and call physicians to receive refill authorization.

Work environment: Pharmacies are open long hours to accommodate patients getting their prescriptions. For this reason, it is important for pharmacy technicians to have flexibility in their schedules. Most PT’s work full time and may be scheduled to work nights or weekends. Technicians are typically on their feet checking inventory and assisting patients.

Qualities a Pharmacy Technician Should Possess

Customer Service—you will be spending a majority of your time interacting with patients/customers and co-workers, so it is important to display a friendly, helpful, and polite attitude to assure others you are ready and willing to help.

Detail Oriented—because you will be dealing with information and prescriptions that can have serious consequences if completed incorrectly, it is imperative that you are able to focus to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Listening Skills—to ensure prescriptions are filled correctly and a patient’s needs are met, you must be able to hear what someone is conveying and interpret it correctly. It is also important to listen and be able to assess whether the individual will need to speak directly with a pharmacist to receive answers to their questions.

Math Skills—since you will be counting pills and compounding medication, it is important to be able to compute math correctly to ensure accuracy. Once again, errors in this could results in severe harm to patients.

Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

Blackstone Career Institute’s online Pharmacy Technician Training program includes a working knowledge of medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy calculations, pharmacology, body systems and disorders, ethics, and professionalism.

Certification Matters

Graduates of Blackstone Career Institute’s Online Pharmacy Technician Training are qualified to sit for the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).