Pharmacy Tech Schools and Career Options

Pharmacy technicians have become more sought after over the last decade. It’s estimated that the demand will go up consistently and reach up to 50% or more in less than five years! Their position is highly coveted and a very important one in the health sector. The average annual pay in the US for pharmacy techs vary between $20,000 – $36,000. If you are looking to pursue this as a career you are likely shopping around for pharmacy tech schools in your area.

Course Material

There are many online and offline schools to consider before enrolling. The syllabus will vary with every institute, however the subject material will remain similar. Pharmacology, physiology, chemistry, anatomy, pharmaceutical calculations, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy law, compounding medications, dosage forms, drug preparation, pharmacy administration, pharmacy computing and medical billing are the various subjects covered by most pharmacy tech schools.

Certification

Pharmacy Technicians play an important role in preparing and crosschecking prescriptions, so professionally qualifying through a Pharmacy Tech school is crucial. After graduating, you should also consider sitting for the certification exam. While few states require certification for employment, it will help you to become a skilled technician and improve your chances of getting a higher paying job.

Qualified pharmacy techs are most often recruited by hospitals, pharmacies, health care centers, nursing homes and even assisted living facilities. Though they generally work regular hours, they might be requested to work during weekends or the night shift for 24 hour pharmacies.

Only two leading institutes handle pharmacy certification in the US: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). To qualify for certification, the individuals should have completed their high school diploma and be free of convictions or felonies. Even after certification, you will need to check-in every two years and get a re-certification. National College, Everest College and US Career Institute are listed among the top 10 best Pharmacy Tech Schools.

You will likely want to attend a pharmacy tech school that’s close to you and offers your subject of interest. The topics covered for a basic pharmacy technician degree program are as follows:

• Pharmacy administration

• Pharmaceutical calculations and dosage

• Anatomy and physiology

• Digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems

• Nutrition

• Medical terminology

• Pharmacology

• Health care systems

• Medical Legal and Ethical Issues

• Pharmacy/Insurance Billing Software

• Professional Communication

There are many websites that will help you locate the right institute for you or you can simply do a Google search to research the schools you are interested in. One thing to look for is professors who have practical knowledge of the field and who have worked as a pharmacy technician themselves. Whichever school you choose you can be sure that you are entering a field that will be in high demand for many years to come.

Brief Overview of Pharmacy Technician Career

Health care Industry is one of the growing fields and pharmacy technician career is an important part of the same. This career is highly rewarding with good prospects and monetary benefits. There are several factors that are contributing to the growth of health care industry, two major factors that are contributing for the same are:

There is tremendous growth in the role of pharmacy tech. More active role is played by pharmacists in the patient care and as they do technicians are sharing their duties partly.

Exploring of new medical treatments continuously has increased demand for health care professionals like pharmacy technicians and assistants. Many pharmacists today are on hunt for qualified pharmacy tech to assist them.

In the past pharmacy tech used to receive on-job-training only, but today many employers are interested in hiring individuals that have completed a formal training or certification in pharmacy. Primary duty of any pharmacy tech is to assist pharmacist with their work. They will help pharmacist when it comes to labeling of medicines and filing the prescriptions, they also assist patients with dropping and picking up prescription. Though primary duties remain the same in every environment, they may increase or decrease as per rules and regulations of the state. At macro level a pharmacist may also require to keep patients records, provide insurance forms to the patient and record insurance related information.

If you are looking for a prospective career as a pharmacy tech then a relevant degree or a formal training can ensure the same. Some states do not require a certification in order to perform pharmacy tech duties however many other states do require a degree and a certification.

There are two main governmental bodies which preside over the pharmacy tech certification process; they are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute of Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. There are plenty of great schools out there in every area. Once you’ve passed the certification exam, and/or acquired basic skills through an internship or externship program, you resume is going to look a whole lot more professional and your chances of landing a good paying job will increase exponentially. When examining pharmacy tech schools an individual has to consider what would be best for them. Individuals with certification in pharmacy technician course can easily start their career at pharmacy stores, hospitals, grocery stores and nursing homes.

How to Be a Good Pharmacy Technician

Although most pharmacy technicians receive informal on-the-job training, employers surely favor those who have completed formal training and have been certificated. Formal pharmacy technician education programs require some classroom and laboratory work in a variety of areas, including medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy recordkeeping, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics. Technicians also are required to learn medication names, actions, uses, and doses. Many training programs include internships, in which students gain hands-on experience in actual pharmacies.

How to be a good pharmacy Technician? What kind of criteria do one need to be a good pharmacy technician?

1. Prospective pharmacy technicians gain their working experience as an aide in a community pharmacy or volunteering in a hospital before the actual employment. Applicants with mass experience managing medicine inventories, counting tablets, measuring dosages, and using computers as much as skillful in most of the clerical work is definitely an added bonus

2. To learn and grasp the knowledge of pharmacy technician’s fast, a background in chemistry, English, Biology, Chemistry and Health education of any type may be beneficial.

3. Gain the certification and other qualifications. Both the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, administer national certification examinations. To be eligible for either exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, no felony convictions of any kind within 3-5 years of applying, and no drug or pharmacy related felony convictions history before. Employers, often pharmacists, know that individuals who pass the exam have a standardized body of knowledge and skills.

4. One should get recertified every 2 years with 20 hours of continuing education within the 2-year certification period and at least 1 hour must be in pharmacy law. Continuing education hours can be earned from several different sources, including colleges, pharmacy associations, and pharmacy technician training programs.

5. Strong customer service and teamwork skills are needed because pharmacy technicians interact with patients, coworkers, and health care professionals 98% of their time

6. One need to have good skills and strong background in Mathematics, Spelling, and Reading as the pre-requisite to be a good pharmacy technicians. Successful pharmacy technicians are alert, observant, organized, dedicated, and responsible. They should be willing and able to take directions, but be able to work independently without supervisory and constant instructions.

7. Someone whom are familiar with medical terminology and well aware of all the medications, pills, injection fluids which are in the pharmacy in their scientific terms as well as more layman names.

8. Good interpersonal skills to deal with a wide variety of individuals in a team. He should be a team player, and mix along well with the rest of the team mates.

9. He needs to be someone who is adaptable to performing multiple tasks. He need to be capable to handle all kinds of instructions given by the pharmacists at any one time. He needs to be computer savvy as well to utilize the best of computer to complete his tasks accurately and in the shortest time.

10. A pharmacy technician must be precise when they deal with medications and the necessary doses for different patients, which will either heal or kill the one who consumed them; therefore details are sometimes a matter of life and death. Thus, the responsibility of the pharmacy technicians is very important as they deal with medications.

11. Candidates interested in becoming pharmacy technicians cannot have prior records of drug or substance abuse.

12. Good pharmacy technician deserve a good career advancement. In large pharmacies and health-systems or even government hospitals, pharmacy technicians with significant training, experience and certification can be promoted to supervisory positions, mentoring and training pharmacy technicians with less experience. Some may even advance into specialty positions such as chemo therapy technician and nuclear pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy Technician – Job Outlook and Training

With the current shortage for highly skilled pharmacy technician’s it’s no surprise that all sorts of schools, as well as their online counterparts are offering an ever increasing number of pharmacy technician programs. These programs are specifically geared towards improving the quality of pharmacy technician graduates nationwide who will then help fill in the current gap in need for trained pharmacy technician graduates in the health care industry.

The relationship between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist is similar to that of a paralegal and an attorney in that in essence the pharmacy technician is an assistant and performs a wide variety of tasks and assignments that are a bit less high profile and that don’t require and actual pharmacist license. In most circumstances, their boss is a registered pharmacist.

Pharmacy technicians duties include a wide variety of duties like: keeping track of patient records, packaging and labeling prescription medication, keeping track of the drug supply, compounding medications, understanding prescription orders, doing inventory, doing the preparation of sterile products as well as billing and crediting the patients while also being able to work with a computer.

Pharmacy technicians can be assigned to various health care settings from hospitals, drug wholesalers, mail order pharmacies, home health care agencies as well as long term care facilities.

The current job market for pharmacy technicians is on fire and is one of the primary factors why more and more people are looking into a pharmacy technician career. The options are unlimited and expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future for a properly trained, competent pharmacy technician.

Of course salaries and benefits vary depending on an individual’s experience, the type of employer and which part of the country the employer is located but it’s clearly possible to make a comfortable living.

Most highly rated and reputable pharmacy technician programs are accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists or ASHP and it’s becoming more common for employers to require that any prospective pharmacy technician be to obtain their certification and license before they will be hired.

Many pharmacy technician programs include some type of hands on internship in a local pharmacy to get hands on experience along with the book work which ranges from pharmacology and medical terminology to human body structure to pharmacology law.

Due to the demand and popularity of night classes and online learning more and more pharmacy technician training schools and course offer flexible class schedules to accommodate not only the young but those already working adults who are looking for a career change.

The Purpose of Pharmacy Management Systems

Pharmacies are complex businesses. Even a minor pharmacy in a small town has a substantial amount of responsibility and moving parts. In fact, big pharmacies and mom-and-pop pharmacies a like wouldn’t be possible today without the advent of pharmacy management systems.

What is a Pharmacy Management System?

The pharmacy management systems are a type of computer system, often called a pharmacy computer system. These systems are not a single piece of software but rather a unified collection of components that can be added to and removed from the system on a plug-and-play basis. An essential component of any such framework is the point-of-sale (POS) system, which is similar to the POS found in a grocery or hardware store.

Legal and Ethical Responsibilities:

A pharmacy, however, has important responsibilities that a hardware store or grocery generally does not. A pharmacy, for instance, is charged with ensuring that customers get their prescriptions precisely how they are prescribed by their doctor. Mistakes can result in loss of life. For this reasons, pharmacies seek to limit the opportunity for human error. One of the primary ways they do so is by integrating a prescription dispensing system into pharmacy management systems. A prescription dispensing system is robotic and computerized, and it ensures that the prescription is filled precisely how the doctor ordered it.

Billing of Claims:

The vast majority of money that enters a pharmacy’s coffers comes from insurance companies or Medicare and Medicaid rather than directly from the customer. In this way, a pharmacy is a lot like a health organization, and pharmacy computer systems must integrate that aspect as well. After a prescription is filled, modern systems automatically process and track the insurance claim.

Compliance with Laws and Regulations:

A pharmacy must also comply with all local, state and federal regulations. The pharmacy cannot rely on the medical professionals for compliance because there can be extenuating circumstances in play, such as two separate doctors unknowingly providing a prescription to the same client. A modern pharmacy system will automatically check any request before it is processed, and if that request is in violation of a law or regulation, it will deny it.

Health Care Network:

The modern pharmacy management systems must also be connected to the health care network that provides services to its area and even throughout the country. Imagine a scenario where a pharmacy needs further instruction when filling a prescription for an out-of-state customer. Modern systems ease that burden by automatically providing the pharmacy with all the contact information and alternative contacts that it needs.

A Close Look At a Pharmacy Technician Career

Many people have already discovered the rewards of a career as a pharmacy technician, and with the expected growth in this professional field, there are sure to be many more in the future. If you are looking for a career with regular hours, good pay and the rewards of helping others maintain their health, you could be one of these people. As a pharmacy technician, you would be responsible for filling prescriptions and performing various tasks as directed by a licensed pharmacist. You must have a wide knowledge of medication and various medical issues, and you must be able to communicate and work well with others. Keep reading to learn more.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

If you’re thinking of becoming a pharmacy technician, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is fairly easy to enter this career field, especially compared to some other jobs in the medical industry that take years of training and education. You will need to complete some classroom education and hands-on training, although you will have many different options to choose from, including technical schools and online programs with flexible schedules. Your education may be completed in less than a year. Once you’ve finished an accredited pharmacy tech program, you will need to pass certification exam offered in your state; you will then be qualified to interview for jobs at pharmacies.

What to Expect in the Job Market

As you begin interviewing for jobs as a pharmacy technician and technology, you will probably find that employers prefer applicants who have received associate’s degrees from community colleges and technical schools, so it’s important to take your education seriously. There are many good jobs out there today, and experts predict a 25 percent growth in the field in the next decade, partially because of advances in pharmaceutical medicine and partially because of the growth in retailers offering pharmaceutical services. There are also many qualified applicants entering this job market, though, so you need to remain competitive.

You may find technician jobs at retail shops, hospitals, government facilities, university health centers, online businesses and various other organizations. Once you have started working as a pharmacy technician, you will need to keep your certification current with 20 hours of continuing education every two years, which is a big responsibility. Along with the responsibilities come many rewards, though. It’s an excellent time to enter this growing job market.

A Close Look At a Pharmacy Technician Career

Many people have already discovered the rewards of a career as a pharmacy technician, and with the expected growth in this professional field, there are sure to be many more in the future. If you are looking for a career with regular hours, good pay and the rewards of helping others maintain their health, you could be one of these people. As a pharmacy technician, you would be responsible for filling prescriptions and performing various tasks as directed by a licensed pharmacist. You must have a wide knowledge of medication and various medical issues, and you must be able to communicate and work well with others. Keep reading to learn more.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

If you’re thinking of becoming a pharmacy technician, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is fairly easy to enter this career field, especially compared to some other jobs in the medical industry that take years of training and education. You will need to complete some classroom education and hands-on training, although you will have many different options to choose from, including technical schools and online programs with flexible schedules. Your education may be completed in less than a year. Once you’ve finished an accredited pharmacy tech program, you will need to pass certification exam offered in your state; you will then be qualified to interview for jobs at pharmacies.

What to Expect in the Job Market

As you begin interviewing for jobs as a pharmacy technician and technology, you will probably find that employers prefer applicants who have received associate’s degrees from community colleges and technical schools, so it’s important to take your education seriously. There are many good jobs out there today, and experts predict a 25 percent growth in the field in the next decade, partially because of advances in pharmaceutical medicine and partially because of the growth in retailers offering pharmaceutical services. There are also many qualified applicants entering this job market, though, so you need to remain competitive.

You may find technician jobs at retail shops, hospitals, government facilities, university health centers, online businesses and various other organizations. Once you have started working as a pharmacy technician, you will need to keep your certification current with 20 hours of continuing education every two years, which is a big responsibility. Along with the responsibilities come many rewards, though. It’s an excellent time to enter this growing job market.

Top Ten Ways to Manage Profit at Your Online or Community Pharmacy

An online or community pharmacy must be carefully managed for optimum profitability; occasionally, changes to business processes and marketing strategies should be implemented in order to open up new streams of income, while also improving the success of promotional activities. If you’re looking for ways to make more money through your drugstore, you’ll appreciate these top ten tips for managing profit:

10.) Diversify- Open up your business to new customers by adding holistic herbal products to your inventory. For example, if you currently sell OTC pain relievers, prescription medications, and conventional health aids, why not begin offering your clientele herbal supplements that treat health care conditions in a more holistic way? There is a big market for alternative medicines, and herbal remedies are now more popular than ever before.

9.) Cross-Sell -Make the most of your inventory by using cross-selling techniques to bundle related products. For example, if you’re running an online pharmacy, make sure that your checkout area is programmed with sections that show complementary items. “Bundle” vitamins with delicious herbal teas, prescription medications with special pill boxes that help people to keep their tablets organized, and so on. Offering a few percent off the total price on cross-sold goods is an excellent way to add appeal to this sales technique. People often buy impulsively at the checkout, so cross-selling is an excellent way to boost your profits quickly.

8.) Use Social Media- Create a buzz by promoting your pharmacy on the hottest social networking platforms, such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest. If you promote properly, the investment of time and energy that you put into reaching out to customers at these websites will definitely pay off. Add photos, blog posts, status updates, and special offers to tempt new buyers, and always respond to any feedback as soon as possible.

7.) Analyze Your Sales- Successful health care entrepreneurs never rest on their laurels; instead, they stay on top of things by analyzing their sales numbers and figuring out exactly which products are most appealing to their clients. To offer people what they really want, check all of your sales records to pinpoint buying trends. Then, consider offering different versions of the items that people buy the most.

6.) Target Your Ideal Customer- Business research doesn’t stop with sales analyses; you must also use market research to profile your ideal customer. Knowing who’s buying from your pharmacy is the key to marketing effectively and stocking your drugstore properly. Use client information to find out where your ideal customer lives and what his or her needs are. Then, market to that demographic or segment.

5.) Become an Expert- Position yourself as an expert in the pharmacy world by writing articles about pharmacy products, offering health care advice, or speaking to your local community. Becoming an expert builds your public profile and creates more trust and rapport with new and existing clientele.

4.) Create a Smart Phone-friendly Website- Today, many shoppers check out businesses online before they buy, and they often use their smartphones to browse the World Wide Web. If your pharmacy website isn’t compatible with a range of electronic devices, including smart phones, it’s time to hire a web development firm that knows how to create a smart phone-friendly environment at your url.

3.) Freshen Your Website Graphics- Nothing is more unappealing than a dated, dusty-looking website that doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles. If you don’t freshen up your graphics to stay current, your customers will soon lose interest. The best pharmacy entrepreneurs know how to adapt to change and keep things interesting; these savvy owner/managers always outsource for the hottest new web design graphics.

2.) Build More Interactivity into Your Pharmacy Web Pages- Whether you’re selling pharmacological products from a community or online pharmacy, you must still offer a business website that acts as a virtual calling card for your company. By building more interactivity into every web page on your website, you’ll create the right atmosphere for success. Hire a web design firm and ask them to add sharing buttons for social media, comment fields, and message boards to boost the appeal and interactivity of your website.

1.) Support a Charity- Your pharmacy is all about the health and wellness of your clients; with this in mind, why not support a charity that also promotes these values? By joining with a reputable and registered charity and donating money and/or time, you will create plenty of publicity and lots of goodwill towards your company. Often, donating to charity is much cheaper than paying for ads, and it’s so fulfilling. Meet prospective clients at local charity events, or donate online and enjoy a better public image that will build your brand.

The Educational Path to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician is a healthcare worker. Such a technician assists a licensed pharmacist in performing various duties such as labeling medicine bottles, helping patients, filling prescriptions, instructing patients on how to use the medicines, etc. A pharmacy tech in the United States needs to be certified to be able to practice. The certification is also helpful in that it helps the technician gain a sound understanding of the responsibilities that the job entails. The certification also places the individual in an advantageous position as far as the career graph and salary are concerned. This article provides some primary information on pharmacy technician requirements: prerequisites for enrolling into a course, elements of the course, etc.

The basic criteria that a pharmacy tech aspirant must satisfy to enroll into a course are as follows:The applicant must be at least 18 years of age.The candidate should have a high-school diploma, GED, or equivalent qualification if from outside the United States.The candidate should be clear of any criminal record from five years prior to the date of application. The application will be rejected in case the aspirant has ever been convicted in a case of drug-related felony.

It is a good idea to enroll for the certification course in an institution that has a good reputation within the industry and is well-respected in terms of the contents of the course. Ensure that the accreditation is valid and you are aware of the length of the certification program. For those with an already busy schedule, online pharmacy technician courses are available.

The courses usually include subjects related to pharmaceuticals: terminology; record-keeping; calculations; etc., medical studies, computer skills and customer service. A majority of the popular certification programs extend from six months to a year. The skills required to run a pharmacy, pharmaceutical procedures and awareness, and knowledge in handing out correct drug dosages, etc., are taught in the course. Some of the pharmacy technician training programs also offer internships in real pharmacies for hands-on experience. The internships are designed to help the candidate gain confidence and adapt to the real world situations quickly. The courses also help the student to prepare for the certification examinations conducted by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and Institute of Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT).

The standard requirements for certification and licensing also depend on the state in which the candidate decides to work in. There are certain industrial sectors where the need for pharmacy technician certification is imperative. A pharmacy technician is also expected to have completed at least 10 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain the validity of the certification. Out of these 10 hours, at least one hour is required to be spent for the subject of pharmaceutical law. Whereas some states do not have certification requirements, voluntary certification is available for candidates through ICPT and PCTB. In case the candidate is already employed, some employers also reimburse the cost of the examinations.

On certification, pharmacy techs can procure a job in a hospital, a health care institution, or a retail setting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted a faster than average growth of the employment prospects of pharmacy technicians. The employment for these professionals is expected to rise as much as 31% between the years 2008 and 2018. More technicians are required in view of the increasing numbers of the elderly and increased used of prescription drugs by people. There is also a predicted increase in the span of duties performed by the pharmacy technicians.

Earnings are variable. Techs that are employed in hospitals and other specialized locations earn more than those who are employed in retail or a health care setting. A pharmacy technician employed in a good hospital earns about $13 an hour. In a health care facility, the technician would earn $10.50 per hour as wages.

Certification means a higher pay and a certificate can put the candidate in the right spot to move ahead in the career than a non-certified candidate. The pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors are seeing a fast growth and jobs are becoming increasingly competitive. Some techs with sufficient experience return back to school to go on and qualify as licensed pharmacists. Therefore, it pays to fulfill the standard requirements to take advantage of the employment positions that are available.

What a Pharmacy Technician Does

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

I have been writing articles on why and how to become a pharmacy technician, but some recent feedback has made me realize I left out the obvious. What is it that pharmacy technicians do in a pharmacy? Most people figure they help the pharmacist enter prescriptions and count pills. This is true for an outpatient pharmacy, also called a retail pharmacy, but there are many roles for pharmacy technicians in healthcare. The rest of this article will list different types of pharmacy settings and the roles that pharmacy technicians have in these settings.

Community/Retail Pharmacy:

I have worked retail, and I prefer other settings; however, it is where a large percentage of pharmacy technician jobs are found. What a pharmacy technician can do is determined by the state they work via state laws and rules. In general, technicians cannot provide clinical information to patients or be the final check for prescriptions. In some states, technicians are allowed to provide information on over-the-counter (OTC) medication (ie, medications that do not require a prescription, such as, acetaminophen and ibuprofen). Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Collecting patient information (insurance and personal information as needed)
• Entering and processing prescriptions in the computer system
• Filling and selling prescriptions
• Requesting refills from doctor offices for patients
• Compounding medications that are not commercially available
• Ordering medications
• Restocking shelves
• Answering the phone
• Working with insurance companies on approving payment for certain medications
• Maintaining the cash register and conducting accounting functions

Hospital Pharmacy:

There are many different roles for pharmacy technicians in a hospital pharmacy. I know this type of pharmacy best since this is where most of my work has been. The most common are technicians who work in the central pharmacy. In addition we have decentralized techs, sterile compounding techs, billing techs, OR techs, narcotic techs, database techs, automation techs, team lead techs, and buyer techs. These technicians as a whole perform the following tasks, but not limited to:

• Filling new orders, this includes a variety of medications from oral medications to specially prepared sterile compound medications (including chemotherapy meds)
• Answering the phone
• Tubing medications (if the pharmacy has a pneumatic tube station)
• Preparing medications for delivery
• Delivering medications
• Assisting floor pharmacists with medication histories
• Assisting floor pharmacists with IV drip checks
• Handling missing dose calls
• Billing medications where nurse charting does not bill
• Maintaining the pharmacy database
• Restocking operating rooms and anesthesia trays with appropriate medication
• Dispensing and tracking all controlled substances throughout the hospital
• Maintaining automation equipment [automated dispensing cabinets that store medication on nursing units, automatic fill systems (typically called Robot-Rx)]
• Purchasing of all medication and supplies needed in the pharmacy
• Leading and managing the technician workforce, including upkeep of schedules

Long-Term Care Pharmacy:

I have worked at a couple of long-term care pharmacies, and I think it is a great place to be a technician. They typically employee a lot of techs because the work load lends itself to a lot of technician tasks. These pharmacies provide the medication needs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and psychiatric facilities. The typical pharmacy is located in a warehouse. It does not have an open pharmacy for people to come to; they receive orders by fax and deliver all medications via couriers or drivers to facilities. The oral medication is filled in blister packs (cards of 30 tabs that are used to provide a 1 month supply of medication), or some other mechanism that provide the facility with an extended amount of medication doses that can be safely and cleanly kept until doses are due. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Filling new and refill orders (different from hospital because of the number of doses provided)
• Processing new order and refills coming through the fax machine
• Order entry of prescriptions and printing of labels for fill techs
• Sterile compounding of medications (although there aren’t as many sterile compounded medications as a hospital, there are still enough that most long-term care pharmacies have a few techs specialize in sterile compounding
• Billing medications to homes
• Controlled substance dispensing and documentation
• Ordering medications and supplies
• Restocking medications that are returned that are still suitable for reuse.

Home Infusion Pharmacy:

These pharmacies primarily care for patients that require some form of IV or other non oral medication, and want to receive the therapy at home (hence the name home-infusion). I have also worked in a home-infusion pharmacy. As a tech I had a lot of experience in sterile compounding, and found my self in any position that needed a IV room tech. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Compounding sterile preparations in the clean room
• Preparing supplies associated with sterile medication administration for delivery
• Billing medications delivered to patients home
• Coordinating deliveries of medications with patients
• Entering orders in the pharmacy order entry system

Nuclear Pharmacy:

No, I have not worked in a nuclear pharmacy (I am sure you were staring to think I got around quite a bit, but I have been in pharmacy for about 17 years). I have some friends who work in a nuclear pharmacy. The hours are interesting; they usually come in at about 3 AM and work until about noon. These types of pharmacies make radioactive compounds and they need to be made in a way that when they are delivered to the hospital or clinic administering them, that the dose has degraded to a specific amount. Without going into too much detail, these medications have short half-lives. So they have to time the compounding of the product with the time it takes to deliver the medication and the time the patient is to receive the dose. The job pays well, but as you can imagine, there are not a ton of these positions available. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Preparing radioactive products
• Cleaning and preparing sterile compounding areas
• Entering orders into the pharmacy system
• Coordinating dose due times with deliveries and preparation
• Billing products to hospital or clinic

Health Plans/HMO Pharmacy Group:

I saved this one for last because it is a lot different. Most healthcare plans have a pharmacy department. They manage the pharmacy benefit of the health plan. I have worked with my companies health plan and have spent some time with the pharmacy department. Pharmacy technician tasks include, but are not limited to:

• Answering phone calls and providing support for patients on the pharmacy benefit
• Reviewing prior authorization requests
• Providing support to physicians and drug companies for information requests
• Supporting the pharmacists in the department with database and projects as needed

As you can see, pharmacy technician roles can be very diverse. The best advice I can give you is to figure out what setting you would most like to work in and obtain some experiential hours in that setting. I have found that the type of pharmacy you train in is typically the type of pharmacy you end up working in.