PHARMACY TECHNICIANS help licensed pharmacists provide medication and other health care products to patients. Technicians refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information, or health matters to a pharmacist. To prepare a prescription the technician must retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix medication. Technicians prepare prescription labels, select the type of prescription container, and put the labels on the containers. Technicians then price and fill the prescription, which must then be checked by the pharmacist before it is given to the patient.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $32,000 average per year ($15.50 per hour)
- A large occupation (383,100 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (2.5% per year)
Hospitals prefer to hire PHARMACY TECHNICIANS who have completed a formal, accredited training program with an associate's degree. Although most pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training, employers are beginning to favor those with formal training. Some hospitals, proprietary schools, vocational or technical colleges, and community colleges, offer formal education programs. Some chain drug stores have their own training programs for pharmacy technicians. Students receive a diploma, certificate, or an associate degree, depending on the program. To get a job in some states, pharmacy technicians must have a license or registration.