Pharmacy Technician/Assistant

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About the Pharmacy Technician Major

In the healthcare field, each team member plays an important role in helping to take care of patients. No member is more important than the other and each needs the other to succeed. One vital member of that team is the pharmacy technician/assistant.

A pharmacy technician/assistant handles many of the daily pharmacy operations, such as labeling, measuring, and weighing medications for dispensing; processing prescription orders; stocking shelves; taking inventory; maintaining patient records; and handling payments and insurance claims. They work in hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, and general merchandise stores. Work hours can be full- or part-time, and often include working at night, during the holidays, and on the weekends.

Think you have what it takes to be a pharmacy technician/assistant? You must be organized and detail-oriented. Since many of the people who you deal with may be stressed or unwell, it also helps to be compassionate. In addition to the math and English courses you are required to take in high school, you should take courses in biology and chemistry.

Part of the admissions progress for pharmacy technician/assistant programs is a background check and drug test. Your health records will also need to be up-to-date. The average pharmacy technician/assistant program is one or two years in length. Typical topics a pharmacy technician/assistant major can expect to study include recordkeeping, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and mathematics. Clinical practice, where a student works under the guidance of a registered pharmacist, is also a part of the program.

Long before a student completes their program, they should check the state requirements where they wish to work. Many states require potential candidates complete a postsecondary training program or pass an exam, while others may require certification from the Pharmacy Technician/Assistant Board or the National Healthcare Association as well. In addition, membership in a professional organization, such as the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians, which offers a job board and other resources, is recommended.
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