What Does A Pharmacy Technician Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy Technicians prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.

Salary
$36450
Becoming One
Medium
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Pharmacy Technicians prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.

  • Prepack bulk medicines, fill bottles with prescribed medications and type and affix labels.
  • Answer telephones, responding to questions or requests.
  • Prepare and process medical insurance claim forms and records.
  • Maintain proper storage and security conditions for drugs.
  • Assist customers by answering simple questions, locating items, or referring them to the pharmacist for medication information.
  • Price and file prescriptions that have been filled.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Pharmacy Technicians answer telephones, responding to questions or requests. They receive written prescription or refill requests and verify that information is complete and accurate.

A typical day for a Pharmacy Technician will also include:

  • Prepack bulk medicines, fill bottles with prescribed medications and type and affix labels.
  • Prepare and process medical insurance claim forms and records.
  • Assist customers by answering simple questions, locating items, or referring them to the pharmacist for medication information.
  • Price and file prescriptions that have been filled.
  • Operate cash registers to accept payment from customers.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Pharmacy Technicians also maintain and merchandise home healthcare products or services. They may also price stock and mark items for sale.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Pharmacy Technicians restock intravenous (iv) supplies and add measured drugs or nutrients to iv solutions under sterile conditions to prepare iv packs for various uses, such as chemotherapy medication. They might also deliver medications or pharmaceutical supplies to patients, nursing stations, or surgery.

In addition, they mix pharmaceutical preparations, according to written prescriptions.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them compute charges for medication or equipment dispensed to hospital patients and enter data in the computer.

To some Pharmacy Technicians, it is also their responsibility to operate cash registers to accept payment from customers.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
8%

Very little freedom
24%

Limited freedom
31%

Some freedom
24%

A lot of freedom
13%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
9%

Very little freedom
5%

Limited freedom
27%

Some freedom
50%

A lot of freedom
9%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

High

59% said they were satisfied with their job and 68% said they found their job meaningful.


Diane Hoffmaster
A non-profit mail order pharmacy

I work as a pharmacy technician for a non-profit mail order pharmacy that takes donated medicine from clinical partners (nursing homes, clinics, etc) and repackages them for patients who cannot afford their medication costs from traditional pharmacies. This is a very unique industry at the intersection of healthcare and social good.

Pharmacy tech jobs will vary greatly depending on if they are retail, hospital, non-profit, mail order, etc. But, the basics remain the same. Medication retrieval, dispensing into patient level vials or other packaging and making sure that medication gets to the patient it is intended for, either via direct delivery or through the mail. Pharmacy maintenance includes everything from ordering and/or removing out-of-date medication from stock to monitoring temperatures on refrigerators and general cleaning.

Most of my days are spent retrieving, sorting, and packaging prescription medication. Other tasks required of pharmacy technicians include customer service (via telephone since we are a mail order only pharmacy), shipping, and an assortment of other basic pharmacy maintenance tasks.

In general, pharmacy technicians have flexible hours, depending on where they choose to work. Part-time, full-time, and day or evening shifts may be available, making it easier to for those looking for something besides a 9 to 5 schedule.

Pros

Definitely, the biggest pro of this job is knowing that I am part of an organization determined to help people in need afford their medication. After having worked in a retail pharmacy for many years, it’s refreshing to work for a non-profit pharmacy with a slightly different mission.

Cons

You spend a lot of time on your feet and the pill counting and repackaging can become a bit repetitious after a while.

Diane Hoffmaster
Turning the Clock Back


Pros

Suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.

Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week).

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to work with designs.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$36450 per year

Average hourly wage

$18 per hour

Entry-level Pharmacy Technicians with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $25,400 to $29,090 per year or $12 to $14 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $50,430 $24
Senior (Top 25%) $41,660 $20
Median $35,100 $17
Junior (Bottom 25%) $29,090 $14
No experience (Bottom 10%) $25,400 $12

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Pharmacy Technicians based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Outpatient Care Centers $49690 $23.89
Federal Executive Branch $47690 $22.93
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $43990 $21.15
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories $43960 $21.14
Local Government $43730 $21.02
Scientific Research and Development Services $42840 $20.60
Specialty Hospitals $41380 $19.89
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $41180 $19.80
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities $40350 $19.40
State Government $39950 $19.21

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Pharmacy Technicians work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Pharmacy Technicians including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Health and Personal Care Stores 210520 $34420 $16.55
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 66240 $41180 $19.80
Food and Beverage Stores 41960 $33000 $15.87
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods 14260 $37410 $17.99
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses 8690 $38120 $18.33
Outpatient Care Centers 6650 $49690 $23.89
Federal Executive Branch 6560 $47690 $22.93
Offices of Physicians 6090 $38180 $18.35
Employment Services 3510 $39300 $18.89
Specialty Hospitals 2640 $41380 $19.89

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
55%

40 hours
31%

More than 40 hours
15%

Working schedule

92%

8%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
0%

Important
12%

Very important
25%

Extremely important
62%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
0%

Fairly important
11%

Important
3%

Very important
24%

Extremely important
63%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
9%

Fairly important
23%

Important
24%

Very important
20%

Extremely important
25%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
19%

Every day
72%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
5%

Every day
95%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
91%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
77%

Once a year
7%

Once a month
6%

Once a week
9%

Every day
1%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
9%

Once a year
12%

Once a month
11%

Once a week
53%

Every day
16%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
4%

Once a month
12%

Once a week
57%

Every day
26%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
41%

Once a year
33%

Once a month
10%

Once a week
9%

Every day
7%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
13%

Slightly competitive
23%

Moderately competitive
31%

Highly competitive
19%

Extremely competitive
13%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
9%

Fairly important
0%

Important
24%

Very Important
9%

Extremely Important
58%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
5%

Minor impact
27%

Moderate impact
14%

Important impact
15%

Very important impact
39%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
27%

Once a year
5%

Once a month
6%

Once a week
0%

Every day
61%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
20%

Limited responsibility
24%

Moderate responsibility
19%

High responsibility
17%

Very high responsibility
21%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
16%

Limited responsibility
3%

Moderate responsibility
38%

High responsibility
29%

Very high responsibility
13%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
8%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
4%

Every day
88%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
92%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
3%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
4%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
92%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
3%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
4%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
96%

Once a year or more
4%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Pharmacy Technicians need at least a high school diploma but may find more job opportunities after obtaining a postsecondary degree. Students studying for Associate’s Degrees or Bachelor’s Degrees tend to choose Pharmacology or Pharmacy Technician programs.

Most states require Pharmacy Technicians to meet certain requirements and possibly obtain a certificate through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

Learn more about how to become a Pharmacy Technician.

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
5%

High School Diploma or equivalent
60%

Post-Secondary Certificate
14%

Some College Courses
13%

Associate’s Degree or similar
5%

Bachelor’s Degree
0%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
4%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
47%

1 month
9%

1 to 3 months
8%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
17%

1 to 2 years
8%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 6 years
5%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
7%

1 month
22%

1 to 3 months
29%

3 to 6 months
25%

6 months to 1 year
17%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
0%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Organizer

People with this personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.

The Builder
71%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
43%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
14%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
52%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
38%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
100%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
43%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
40%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
43%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
76%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
71%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
43%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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