The role of a pharmacy technician in today's work force is expanding. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, opportunities are rising with most jobs found in retail pharmacies, grocery stores and mass retail outlets. It is the pharmacy technician's job to make sure that proper records are kept and that the dispensary is well managed to ensure the safety of the patients it serves.
A pharmacy technician helps licensed pharmacists provide medications and other prescription products to patients by counting tablets and pills and bottling them; administrative tasks like routine customer service; and answering patients' questions or providing information regarding prescription medications.
Pharmacy technicians receive written prescriptions or prescription requests from patients or physicians either over the phone or in person. It is the pharmacy technician's job to verify that the request is complete and accurate to prevent injury or illness to the patient, as well as preventing prescription drug fraud.
Once a prescription has been verified, the pharmacy technician will sort and bottle the pills or tablets; mix and pour liquid medications; and print and attach labels to the prescription containers. Pharmacy technicians are required to have a good working knowledge of mathematics due to the preparations that are necessary.
Pharmacy technicians use office administration skills to file and retrieve prescriptions and patient histories. In addition, some pharmacy technicians prepare medical claim forms, enter billing information into the computer system and take inventories of the medications and pharmacy stock.
There is no federal requirement for formal training and few states have requirements for pharmacy technicians. Most training is offered on the job, although some vocational schools offer training for pharmacy technicians. The military and some hospitals train pharmacy technicians as well.