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Wal-mart pharmacy assistants, also referred to as pharmacy technicians, assist licensed staff pharmacists in the preparation and filling of prescriptions and may be required to perform customer service and administrative functions. Responsibilities vary depending on the rules and regulations of the state where the Wal-mart pharmacy is located. According to Wal-mart, pharmacy associates enjoy 10 percent storewide discounts, flexible scheduling and multiple training opportunities.
Wal-mart's pharmacy technician training consists of a mix of computer-based learning, with an exam following each section, and live practice. If there are not already experienced pharmacy technicians at the location where the new technician will be working, the new technician may be sent to another Wal-mart store for observation and to complete the live practice there. Pharmacy associates also benefit from free continuing education through the company's intranet site, StoreNet.
Although Wal-mart provides its pharmacy technicians with comprehensive, on-the-job training, according to the 2010-2011 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employers favor applicants who have already completed formal training and certification programs. The same report also states that certified technicians may earn more than noncertified ones. Certification may also provide technicians with a competitive advantage over noncertified technicians through the creation of a knowledge base relevant to the position.
Wal-mart's pharmacy technicians are trained on how to use Wal-mart's proprietary software system, Connexus. Connexus is Wal-mart's internal pharamacy management system that allows Wal-mart pharmacy staff to provide better service to its customers. According to the Wal-mart Corporate, Connexus improves efficiency and accuracy in the pharmacy through ease of use and the creation of a paperless work environment. Touch screen and radio frequency technology maximize the time Wal-mart staff spends with pharmacy patients.
Wal-mart pharmacy technicians are eligible to pursue multiple career paths within the organization and scholarships at accredited pharmacy schools and to receive medical and dental benefits. Pharmacy technicians who go on to pursue an education at an accredited pharmacy school are also eligible for scholarships at organizations like the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians can expect to earn between $10.95 and $18.98 per hour. Median wages are $13.32, with the potential for wage increases over time. In addition, Wal-mart matches 15 percent up to $1,800 in stock purchases through the company's Associate Stock Purchase Plan.
LaToya J. Murray has been a writer for over 7 years. She has served as a technical and freelance writer, project manager, training & development program manager, and as a process improvement and quality assurance consultant for select Fortune 500 companies. Murray is also a behavioral analytics certified trainer and holds a yellow belt in Six Sigma.