Pharmacy Career Options: Pharmacy Technician

If you are interested in a career related to pharmacy, but aren’t sure you’re ready to make the commitment necessary to become a pharmacist, you may be interested in becoming a pharmacy technician.


Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication. They usually work in hospitals and in-store pharmacies


Their duties generally include things like taking the information needed to fill a prescription, counting tablets and measuring medication amounts for prescriptions, compounding or mixing medications, packaging and labeling prescriptions, taking payment, and processing insurance claims.


Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, who must approve all prescriptions before delivery to patients. They can’t answer questions about a medication and must refer customers with questions to the pharmacist. 


Pharmacy technicians working in hospitals and other healthcare facilities prepare an assortment of medications, including oral and intravenous drugs. They may deliver the medications to hospital patients.


Pharmacy technicians held about 334,400 jobs in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They mostly worked in pharmacies, including those found in grocery and drug stores, as well as in hospitals. Be advised: if you work as a pharmacy tech, you’re going to spend most of your day on your feet.


More than half of the pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies and drug stores. About one-fifth work in state, local and private hospitals, while another 20 percent work in various types of retail settings.


Because pharmacies are open at various hours to accommodate customers, a pharmacy technician can work different shifts, including nights and weekends. Most technicians work full time, but many work part time.


Becoming a pharmacy tech usually requires earning a high school diploma or the equivalent. Additional requirements can vary by state; some require that their pharm techs pass an exam or complete a formal training program.


The median annual wage of pharmacy technicians was $28,400 in 2010, according to the BLS (median means that half the technicians earned more than that amount, and half earned less). The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,840, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $40,710.


The BLS expects the number of pharmacy technicians to grow by 32 percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. More pharmacy professionals are needed because more prescription medications are being prescribed, and the number of older people, who use medicines the most, also is growing.


If you’re a pharm tech looking for new opportunities, send your resume/CV to Rx relief®. We have many full- and part-time opportunities at pharmacy facilities across the U.S. We look forward to hearing how we can help you with your career goals.