Pharmacy Technician Certification

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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In order to gain certification in their field, pharmacy technicians must complete a minimum of 20 hours of coursework and training in the subject. Although there are currently few state regulations regarding the licensing and accreditation of pharmacy technicians, many prospective employers in the field require that applicants be certified.

Pharmacy technicians are expected to fulfill both clinical and administrative duties in the healthcare profession. Most technicians are employed by retail pharmacies. However, there are also opportunities available in hospitals, clinical practices, and online pharmacies. Nearly all of these options require training in pharmaceuticals, as well as a background in general administrative and office skills.

The primary duty of most pharmacy technicians is to assist pharmacists with their customers by helping to prepare and process prescriptions. While this includes sorting, counting, packaging, labeling, and occasionally mixing various medications, it also entails several administrative tasks. Technicians receive prescriptions either from patients or faxed or mailed directly from physicians. The pharmacy technician then verifies the prescription with the prescribing doctor if there are any doubts about its accuracy and validity. Once the proper medication, strength, and dosage are determined, the technician locates the medication in the inventory. If the pharmacy currently has none of the required medication is stock, the technician can order it from a supplier, offer a generic substitute if permitted, or refer the patient to another pharmacy after verifying it can fill the prescription.

The pharmacy technician them prepares the label for the medication before sorting, counting, and packaging the prescription. Technicians usually process the payment paperwork if a patient has a prescription plan. If the medication had to be special ordered, technicians might consult with the patient to determine if they will be getting the prescription filled on a regular basis, in order to adjust their inventory accordingly. While technicians are not permitted to answer healthcare questions related to the medications they dispense, the job can involve a lot interaction with patients. As a result, students in the field take classes in healthcare and business, including customer service, clerical, and business management training.

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