A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist to perform basic pharmacy operations. Following doctor's orders, pharmacy technicians are integral players in health care provision, helping to work as liaisons between doctors, insurance companies, pharmacists and the patients they ultimately serve.

Job Duties of a Pharmacy Technician

More specifically, pharmacy technicians have extensive and ever-growing responsibilities within the pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians are often in charge of dispensing and labeling medication in accordance with the doctor's prescription, taking verbal orders and communicating with doctors and their staff, and working with insurance companies to ensure the patient's medications are covered and the pharmacy receives full payment. Pharmacy technicians also help maintain inventory, patient records, and other administrative duties based on the type of pharmacy they work in and their role within. More notably, perhaps, is what they are not allowed to do, and that is to offer medical advice to patients, or administer medications without the approval or a licensed pharmacist.

Most pharmacy technicians work in retail setting like drug stores or supermarkets, whereas others work in hospital settings. While the essential functions of the job are the same regardless of the location, other variables can make a substantial difference for pharmacy technicians. For instance, retail pharmacists will generally work with a smaller staff and have regular interaction with patients; on the other hand, hospital pharmacy techs work among a team of employees, dedicated to filling a much larger quantity of medications and sometimes in a much more specialized capacity.

Variations in Pharmacy Technician Roles

Generally, the role of the pharmacy technician is fairly cut-and-dry. However, with dedication and ambition there are always more doors to be opened. Depending on a pharmacy technician's level of training, certification, and experience, their role can vary within the hospital or pharmacy. Technicians with advanced training and certification can often acquire non-licensed management positions, essentially working as the assistant manager on duty to the attending licensed pharmacist, conducting administrative management. Other certified pharmacy technicians (CPhT's), particularly in the hospital setting, look to specialize their skills by gaining education in nuclear, chemotherapy or another area requiring extensive administration of medications specific to medical treatments and/or testing. Regardless of the path chosen, pharmacy technicians play an important role in providing health care services to patients, and the knowledge and caring they dedicate to their occupation will be directly reflected by the wellbeing of those served.