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Pharmacy Tech Questions

1.What are different job options for pharmacy techs?
2.How did you go about becoming a pharmacy tech?
3.How much do entry level pharmacy techs make right out of college?
4.What do pharmacy techs do on a day to day basis?

Thank you comment icon Hi Nicole! These are all great questions that deserve to be posted individually. In the future, please post one question per post. This will also help you get relevant advice! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin
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Sheila’s Answer

The majority of pharmacy technicians work in retail settings (traditional drug stores - CVS, Walgreens, grocery stores, big box chains - Walmart, Sam’s, Costco, independent pharmacies, etc) or in hospitals.
There are also opportunities at Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBM’s), insurance companies, Medication Therapy Management (MTM) platforms.
Most companies offer on the job and formal training for pharmacy technicians. Positions outside of retail or hospitals often require previous pharmacy technician experience.
A college degree is usually not required. National Certification via PTCB is preferred and often can be obtained while working as a pharmacy technician.
Salary is based on experience and the position.
Day to day activities depend on the type of business. Traditional retail involves interaction with patients when they drop off or pick up prescriptions and over the telephone. Technicians type and fill prescriptions. They also help with inventory management, compliance programs, paperwork, records storage, etc. Some states allow pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines.
Technicians in hospitals also prep IV’s and specialty medications, including chemotherapy.
There are numerous opportunities for pharmacy technicians in various environments. I advise you to think about what environment and duties interest you and start from there. Good luck!
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Parixit’s Answer

1. You can work as a technician in the community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, mail order pharmacy, prior authorization departments in the PBM.
2. No training is needed. You apply for the technician licensure through the board of pharmacy. Some states require PTBC (pharmacy technician board certification) which requires some study. However, nevert get tempted to attain the colleges that advertises to train and offer placement. It is not worth anything.
3. Around $15
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Adrianne’s Answer

Hi Nicole,

Just to give you another perspective, I retained my pharmacy tech credentials through the military. In doing so I was able to retain my certification within a 6 month period ( after boot camp of course). Based on my branch, I have the opportunity to run pharmacy operations on ships, within clinics, and in hospitals.
Through my experience I have had the opportunity to make various IVs, disperse medication throughout the hospital, prepare compound medications, process prescriptions, and patient relations. As an introvert and so my favorite part of pharmacy is working on the inpatient side as I can do all the cool things without a lot of patient interaction. Hope this helps!
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Perry’s Answer

Hello and Great Questions!

1.What are different job options for pharmacy techs?
There are many different settings a pharmacy technician can work. The main two settings are for a community pharmacy (AKA retail) or a hospital pharmacy. Other settings include health insurance organizations (like Aetna or Humana), pharmacy benefits managers, clinical trials/research, or even specialized pharmacies like that of a compounding or oncology/ radiological pharmacies. Some pharmacy technicians can even work for companies doing compliance audits. As a pharmacy technicians' scope of practice broadens throughout the years, more options will become available.


2.How did you go about becoming a pharmacy tech?
I personally went to a local vocational college. Unfortunately, many vocational colleges that help train you to become a pharmacy technician can be a bit pricey. Most of them aren't very long though and training can last anywhere between 6 to 12 months. Other ways to become a pharmacy technician include on the job training through retail or hospital pharmacies, community colleges- with some even offering an associate degree, and self-study. What's important to understand is that being a pharmacy technician is legally regulated by each state and may require a person to have some form of formal training first. Many states require a person to pass a national pharmacy technician exam so as to apply for state licensure. Its best to check the requirements set forth by a person's state so as to save time and money and make the licensing process a whole bunch easier.

3.How much do entry level pharmacy techs make right out of college?
The amount of money a pharmacy technician receives right out of school can vary greatly depending on where the individual works and what certifications or degree they have obtained. Nationally certified and registered pharmacy technicians tend to make more money than non-certified individuals. To find out that information, the Bureau of Labor statistics can be a great resource to see how much on average a pharmacy technician makes annually. Accordingly, the median pay for entry level pharmacy technicians is about $17.66/hourly or $36, 740 annually. I always advise an individual to look on employment websites and search for pharmacy technician jobs to get an idea of how much companies are paying their technicians in their area because it could be less or more.

4.What do pharmacy techs do on a day-to-day basis?
Work functions depend on the job that the pharmacy technician is employed. Typically, pharmacy technicians review incoming prescriptions for accuracy and legal purposes, type those prescriptions into a computer system to generate labels, gather the correct medication(s) and count or pour the correct amount into a container, affix labels to the containers, send it to a pharmacist for review, then bag and sell the prescription to the right patient. Other responsibilities include answering patient/physician's office questions when appropriate, responding to inquiries over the phone, inventory management for medications and supplies, office administration, and clean up.

P.S
As a side note to how different a pharmacy technicians' job can be depending on the place of employment and job description, I offer myself as an example. I am employed through a health insurance organization and my primary goal is to reach out to our members over the phone and discuss medication adherence issues (or reasons why some members have not been taking their medications). We try to offer help in overcoming those barriers. I don't touch medications at all.
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