What Jobs Do a Pharmacy Technology Certificate Program Prepare Students For?

A college-level pharmacy technology certificate program is designed to prepare students for careers as pharmacy technicians. These workers assist pharmacists with duties such as mixing medications and preparing prescriptions. A pharmacy technology certificate can be earned in 1-2 years. Read on for information pertaining to possible career options with such a certificate. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Pharmacy Technology Certificate Jobs

A pharmacy technology certificate program could provide students with the skills necessary to become pharmacy technicians, billing and quality technicians or pharmacy inventory specialists. While some pharmacies may train new employees, most employers prefer to hire those who have completed formal pharmacy technology certificate programs, which can be found at many community colleges. Certified pharmacy technicians often earn a higher salary than those who aren't certified. Certification, which you might earn by taking an examination after earning a certificate, is optional in many states. Pharmacy technicians are needed wherever prescriptions are handled, so they might pursue employment in a variety of environments, including the following.

Important Facts About Pharmacy Technicians

Median Salary (2014) $29,810 per year
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 9% growth
Key Skills Attention to detail; close listening; organization; customer-focused; strong mathematical foundation
Similar Occupations Medical assistants; medical transcriptionists; pharmacists; dental assistants; medical records and health information technicians

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Careers in Retail

Retail pharmacies can be stand-alone drug stores or the pharmacy section of a department store. Technicians in a retail pharmacy receive and verify prescriptions brought in by customers or sent electronically by a doctor's office. They then prepare the medicine for that prescription, label it and price it. All work involving medication must be checked by the pharmacist before it is sold. Technicians may handle a variety of duties, including:

  • Updating medical records
  • Billing insurance companies
  • Labeling bottles
  • Answering phones
  • Counting tablets
  • Assessing and replenishing inventory

Some pharmacies operate by mail-order or website and don't have physical stores. These companies still need technicians to help mix medications and fill orders.

Careers in Medical and Long-Term Care Facilities

Hospitals, medical research laboratories, home health agencies, clinics, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities also have pharmacies. Technicians in these environments must prepare prescriptions according to patients' charts. Then they deliver that medication to the patients. Technicians also prepare a 24-hour supply of each patient's medication. As with retail pharmacies, all work is checked by the pharmacist before it's administered. Hospital pharmacy technicians may also be tasked with overseeing the operation of robotic stocking and preparation systems in the pharmacy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), technicians in hospitals had higher median hourly pay than those in retail settings. Pharmacy technicians who worked in grocery store pharmacies out-earned those in department stores or other general stores.

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