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What is a Pharmacy Technician?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), the U.S. Department of Labor’s principal fact- finding agency for the federal government in the field of labor, economics, and statistics that provides data on employment and wages, Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. They mainly work in retail pharmacies and hospitals.
Pharmacy technicians typically do the following:
- Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
- Measure amounts of medication for prescriptions
- Package and label prescriptions
- Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages of medications or supplies
- Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
- Enter customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a computer system
- Answer phone calls from customers
- Arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists if customers have questions about medications or health matters
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must review prescriptions before they are given to patients. In most states, technicians can compound or mix some medications and call physicians for prescription refill authorizations. Technicians also may need to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling prescription orders.
Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals and other medical facilities prepare a greater variety of medications, such as intravenous medications. They may make rounds in the hospital, giving medications to patients.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technicians,
How much does a Pharmacy Technician get paid?*
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $36,740 in May 2021.
These numbers may vary based on geography and labor market.
*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technicians, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
Best-paying states for Pharmacy Technician**
According to BLS, the highest annual median salaries for pharmacy technicians are in California ($49,990), Washington ($46,830), and Alaska ($46,160).
**Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Data as of March 2022
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Pharmacy Technician job outlook***
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 31,700 openings for pharmacy technicians are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
***Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Pharmacy Technicians, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
Pharmacy Technician job skills and knowledge
According to O*NET Resource Center, people in this career often have these skills:
- Active Listening – Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
- Reading Comprehension – Reading work-related information.
- Speaking – Talking to others.
- Customer and Personal Service – Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language – Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Medicine and Dentistry – Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Mathematics – Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Source: O*NET Resource Center