Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists to help prepare and give out prescription medication. Working in pharmacies and hospitals, pharmacy techs do a lot behind the counter. They take prescriptions over the phone and in person, work with health professionals and customers, help mix medicines, count pills, measure medication, label and give instructions for medicine, and help take payments. Pharmacy techs are the liaison between the public and pharmacists, helping set up consultations and recommendations.

Under pharmacist supervision, pharmacy technicians: 

  • supply medicines to patients, whether on prescription or over the counter
  • assemble medicines for prescriptions
  • provide information to patients and other healthcare professionals.
  • Pharmacy technicians also:
  • manage areas of medicines supply such as dispensaries
  • supervise other pharmacy staff
  • produce medicines in hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry.

 

Where do pharmacy technicians work?

Pharmacy technicians work in many different work environments. These include:

  • Community pharmacies (sometimes called retail or high street pharmacy) and hospitals. Most pharmacy technicians work in community and hospital pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical production or sales in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Prisons, primary care organizations, education and training, the military, veterinary pharmacy and pharmacy organizations.

Important Qualities for Pharmacy Technicians

Customer-service skills. Pharmacy technicians spend much of their time interacting with customers, so being helpful and polite is required of pharmacy technicians in a retail setting.

Detail oriented. Serious health problems can result from mistakes in filling prescriptions. Although the pharmacist is responsible for ensuring the safety of all medications dispensed, pharmacy technicians should pay attention to detail so that complications are avoided.

Listening skills. Pharmacy technicians must communicate clearly with pharmacists and doctors when taking prescription orders. When speaking with customers, technicians must listen carefully to understand customers’ needs and determine if they need to speak with a pharmacist.

Math skills. Pharmacy technicians need to have an understanding of the math concepts used in pharmacies when counting pills and compounding medications.

Organizational skills. Working as a pharmacy technician involves balancing a variety of responsibilities. Pharmacy technicians need good organizational skills to complete the work delegated by pharmacists while at the same time providing service to customers or patients.