Pharmacy Technology

What Can I Do With A Certificate In Pharmacy Technology?

Pharmacy technicians are skilled individuals, educated and trained to work in a pharmacy setting. They assist in various activities that do not require the professional judgment of a pharmacist.

In retail or mail order pharmacies, pharmacy technicians will have varying responsibilities depending on State rules and regulations. Technicians might receive written or electronic prescriptions or requests for prescription refills. They must verify that the information on the prescription is complete and accurate. To prepare the prescription, technicians retrieve, count, pour, weigh, measure, and sometimes mix the medication. The technician also prepares and affixes the prescription label, and any appropriate auxiliary labels to the container. Once the prescription is filled, technicians price and file the prescription, which must be checked by a pharmacist before it is given to a patient. Technicians may also establish and maintain patient profiles, prepare insurance claim forms, and stock and take inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

In hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted-living facilities, technicians have added responsibilities. They read patient charts and prepare and deliver the medicine to patients. The pharmacist must check the order before it is delivered to the patient. Technicians also may assemble a 24-hour supply of medicine for every patient. They package and label each dose separately. Technicians also admix medications to be administered intravenously using appropriate sterile techniques.

Requirements for employment as a pharmacy technician vary from state to state, but generally pertain to registration, licensure, certification, education, age and/or criminal record.

The US Department of Labor has forecasted pharmacy technician job growth of over 36% by 2010. Currently, there are an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 full and part-time pharmacy technicians in the United States.

The Pharmacy Technology program at the Missoula College - University of Montana, Missoula is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

A Sample of Related Occupations

  • Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Mail-Order Pharmacies
  • Home-Health Facilities