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Pharmacy Technician

 

Health Care Job Openings 

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Job Fairs 

 

Job Duties 

Working Conditions/Requirements 

Education & Preparation 

Job Openings & Entry Method 

Earnings & Advancement 

Employment & Outlook 

 

Sources of Additional Information 

A  Michigan Jobs & Career Portal service. 

Pharmacy Technicians assist pharmacists by mixing and filling prescriptions and maintaining the pharmacy's stock levels. 


JOB DUTIES  

Pharmacy Technicians may: 

Mix pharmaceutical preparations under the direction and supervision of the pharmacist 

Count stock and enter data in the computer to maintain inventory records 

Order supplies to maintain stock levels 

Receive and place supplies in stock 

Package and label drugs, chemicals, and other pharmaceutical preparations 

Fill prescriptions with prepared drugs and compound sterile intravenous solutions under the supervision of the pharmacist 

Fill cups with the specified amount and type of drugs for distribution to hospital patients by the nursing staff 

Clean equipment and work areas in the pharmacy 

Sterilize bottles, beakers, and other glassware according to prescribed methods 

Compute charges for drugs 

Deliver prepared medications and run errands 

Perform other duties designated by and under the supervision of the pharmacist 

Click here to see Pharmacy Technicians at work! 

Machines, tools, and equipment used may include: 

* Physicians' prescription forms 

* Computer terminals 

* Order forms 

* Syringes & needles 

* Balance scales 

* Measuring containers 

* Counting trays 

* Refrigerators (for storing drugs) 

* Mortar & pestle 

 

* Drug containers, such as bottles, tubes & envelopes 

* Physicians' Desk Reference, Facts & Comparisons or other pharmacopeia 

(encyclopedias of drugs) 

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OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES   

074.382-010  PHARMACY TECHNICIANS assist pharmacists by mixing and filling prescriptions and maintaining the pharmacy's stock level. 

You may also wish to explore the program information for the following related Career Exploration Scripts: 

045 ESTIMATOR 

056 PRODUCTION COORDINATOR 

061 SHIPPING & RECEIVING CLERK 

063 STOCK CLERK 

085 LAUNDRY & DRY CLEANING WORKER 

093 STOCK HANDLER 


WORKING CONDITIONS AND REQUIREMENTS 

Pharmacy Technicians work under the direction and close supervision of a pharmacist. They may also work with other Technicians in large hospitals. All Pharmacy Technicians work in clean, well lighted, well ventilated areas. 

Most Pharmacy Technicians work a 5-day, 40-hour week during daytime hours. Those working in larger hospitals, having pharmacies which are open 24 hours a day, may work evening or night shifts. Technicians working in hospitals and pharmacies which are open seven days a week might be required to work overtime or on weekends. 

Pharmacy Technicians may have to travel to other hospitals or pharmacies to pick up supplies or drugs of which they are short. Technicians working at hospitals are generally provided transportation, whereas most others are reimbursed for travel costs. 

Pharmacy Technicians working in hospitals usually are required to wear uniforms. Those working in retail pharmacies may wear a uniform or a light jacket. 

Some Pharmacy Technicians belong to National Pharmacy Technician Association . Members must pay periodic membership dues. 

You Should Prefer: 

  • Activities dealing with things and objects
  • Activities which involve the use of machines, processes, or methods
  • Activities which help others

You Should Be Able To: 

  • Repeat activities/tasks according to required routine procedure/order
  • Work within precise limits or standards of accuracy
  • Understand medical and pharmaceutical terms
  • Follow written and oral instructions exactly

Workers in hospitals or clinics should also be able to: 

  • Work with the infirm and critically ill
  • Understand patients and patient care procedures

Reading Example You Should Be Able to Read and Comprehend: 

Painkillers include any substance that gives temporary relief from pain; preferably without causing a loss of consciousness. 

Writing Example You Should Be Able to Produce: 

You should be able to write a letter to your suppliers requesting certain products that for which you need a refill. 

Thinking Skill You Should Be Able to Demonstrate: 

You should be able to decide from past records what types of products you use most often and need to buy in larger quantities. 

Most employers require applicants to have a physical exam and TB test. Since Pharmacy Technicians deal with controlled substances, applicants must not have been convicted of a felony and may be required to submit to a background check. Pharmacy Technicians, who wish to earn the title of Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT), may take the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

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EDUCATION AND PREPARATION OPPORTUNITIES  

NOTE: On-The-Job Training provided by the employer or a High School Diploma or Equivalent or a High School Diploma with specific Vocational Education Classes or a Certificate (program of up to one year of study beyond High School) or an Associate Degree (two years of study beyond High School) may qualify a person for this occupation. 

The following education and preparation opportunities are helpful in preparing for occupations in this Career Exploration Script: 

***SCHOOL SUBJECTS*** 

 0700 CAREERS, 0900 COMMUNICATIONS, 1000 COMPUTERS, 1800 HEALTH & HEALTH CAREERS, 2200 MATH, 2900 SCIENCE, 3100 STUDY & WORK OPTIONS, 3300 TECHNOLOGY 

***VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS*** 

 018 PHARMACY ASSISTING 

 Approved vocational education programs in Pharmacy Assisting prepare students to work under the direct supervision of a registered pharmacist. Students learn how to perform routine duties related to maintaining and dispensing pharmaceutical supplies and medications. 

The following courses may be required for completion of this program: 

PHARMACY ASSISTING 

High school students should consult their guidance office for more information about the specific requirements of this program at their school or area vocational education center. 

Students should obtain the local Education & Training Opportunities  for information on what happens to students who successfully complete a program. This information is available at each high school or career/technical center.   

***POSTSECONDARY PROGRAMS*** 

130   PHARMACY TECHNOLOGY 

Pharmacy Technology programs provide opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed to work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists in preparing and distributing drugs, labeling, packaging, and keeping records. 

Courses vary from school to school but may include: 

Algebra & Chemistry 

Pharmacy Concepts 

Anatomy & Physiology 

Drug Distribution Systems 

Orientation to Hospital & Administration of Medicines 

Microbiology 

Retail Pharmacy 

Pharmacy Ethics & Law 

Introduction to Data 

Drug Products & Names 

Processing 

Filing & Records 

Biochemistry for Applied 

Management 

Health 

Field Experience 

Search for a College and/or Instructional Program 

***MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAMS*** 

Please check the Military website at http://www.todaysmilitary.com/    

PHARMACY TECHNICIANS 

Prescription drugs and medicines are important to medical treatment. Patients and physicians depend on military pharmacies to fill their prescriptions accurately. Pharmacy technicians prepare and dispense prescribed drugs and medicines under the supervision of pharmacists or physicians. They also maintain pharmacy supplies and records. 

What They Do     

Pharmacy technicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Read physicians' prescriptions to determine the types and amount of drugs to prepare
  • Weigh and measure drugs and chemicals
  • Mix ingredients in order to produce prescription medications
  • Prepare labels for prescriptions
  • Dispense medications to patients
  • Keep records of drugs prescribed
  • Store shipments of drugs and medications

Helpful Attributes 

Helpful school subjects include algebra, chemistry, biology, physiology, anatomy, and typing. Helpful attributes include: 

  • Interest in body chemistry
  • Ability to work using precise measurements and standards
  • Ability to follow strict procedures and directions

Training Provided 

Job training consists of classroom instruction. Course content typically includes: 

  • Pharmacy laws and regulations
  • Drug types and uses
  • Mixing and dispensing drugs

Physical Demands 

Normal color vision is required as is the ability to speak clearly. Some specialties may involve heavy lifting. 

Work Environment     

Pharmacy technicians usually work in hospitals and clinics on land or aboard ships. They may also work in field hospitals. 

Civilian Counterparts 

Civilian pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies, drug stores, hospitals, and clinics under the direction of pharmacists. They are usually known as pharmacy helpers and generally do not have responsibility for the compounding and dispensing of drugs. They perform simple tasks, such as storing supplies, cleaning equipment, and delivering prescriptions. While military pharmacy helpers, they do not have the qualifications needed to become civilian pharmacists. Pharmacists must complete a college pharmacy degree program, pass a state board exam, and serve in a pharmacy internship. 

E-Learning Courses and Programs 

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPERIENCE AND METHODS OF ENTRY  

Work as a cashier or stock clerk in a pharmacy may give you the opportunity to observe the work of both the pharmacist and the Pharmacy Technician, as well as to become familiar with the types of prescription and nonprescription drugs carried. Secondary vocational education programs in pharmacy assisting as well as postsecondary programs in pharmacy technology may offer co-op opportunities through which experience can be gained. There area also a limited number of apprenticeships available. 

School-to-Work opportunities include: 

informal apprenticeships 

mentorships 

job shadowing experiences 

touring a local Pharmacy Technician employer 

internships 

volunteer work with a Pharmacy Technician employer 

community service work with an agency 

To become employed as a Pharmacy Technician, apply directly to retail pharmacies, hospitals, large clinics, or medical centers. Some assistance in locating a job may be obtained from your high school, college, or private vocational school placement office and from local offices of Michigan Works!.  Applicants for government positions may be required to take and pass a civil service exam. Job openings may also be listed in newspaper want ads. In addition, you should access and search the Internet's on-line employment services sites such as: 

Michigan Pharmacists Association Job Search & Recruitment Service 

American Association of Pharmacy Technicians Career Center 

Rx Career Center 

Elite Pharmacy Jobs 

HealthCare Jobsite 

Pharmacy Choice 

All Healthcare Jobs 

Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 

Michigan Talent Bank 

simplyhired.com 

Indeed | one search. all jobs. 

Jobster 

CareerBuilder 

MONSTER.COM 

You should also enter an electronic resume on these on-line services. 

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EARNINGS AND ADVANCEMENT  

Earnings of Pharmacy Technicians vary with employer, geographic location, training and experience, and level of responsibility. 

Nationally, the hourly wage of Pharmacy Technicians employed by hospitals and related institutions averaged $14.47, with a range of $12.55 to $15.53, in early 2009.  The median hourly earnings of "all" workers in the U.S. were $18.05 in 2008.  

In the Great Lakes Region, which includes Michigan, Pharmacy technicians earned an average of $14.95 per hour in early 2009.

Hospitals in Michigan paid the following hourly wage rates (early 2009) to Pharmacy Technicians: 

Pharmacy Technician (Certified) 

 

 

Area 

Middle Range 

Average 

State-wide 

$12.24 - $16.16 

$14.34 

Southeast 

$13.49 - $16.74 

$15.23 

East Central 

$11.67 - $14.94 

$13.76 

 

Pharmacy Technician (NonCertified) 

 

 

Area  

Middle Range 

Average 

State-wide 

$12.24 - $15.27 

$13.69 

Southeast 

$12.76 - $15.49 

$14.23 

West Central

 $11.36 - $13.07

$12.87

Pharmacy Technicians working for the State of Michigan had hourly earnings ranging from $15.59 to $20.00 in mid 2009.

Pharmacy Technicians employed by the City of Detroit had hourly earnings ranging from $13.75 to $15.82 in early 2009.

Full time Pharmacy Technicians usually receive such fringe benefits as paid vacations and holidays, life and health insurance, and sick leave. These benefits are usually paid for, at least in part, by the employer. Some technicians also receive prescribed drugs and other personal purchases at cost or at reduced rates. 

Newly hired workers usually learn the skills for this occupation through on-the-job-training. Without additional education or training, Pharmacy Technicians have very few advancement opportunities. Some very large hospitals with several Pharmacy Technicians may have positions as pharmacy technician supervisors. Most Pharmacy Technicians, however, consider increased earnings a form of advancement. Those who do obtain additional education may transfer to other health-care occupations. 

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  EMPLOYMENT AND OUTLOOK  

Nationally, there were 285,000 Pharmacy Technicians employed in 2006. Employment of Pharmacy Technicians is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2016. The industry distribution for Pharmacy Technicians looked like this: 

NAICS Code 

NAICS Industry Title 

% Employed 

44-45 

Retail trade 

71.9 

622100 

General medical and surgical hospitals, public and private 

17.5 

621000 

Ambulatory health care services 

2.4 

990000 

Government 

2.2 

424200 

Drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers 

1.6 

-- 

Others 

4.4

To find employers, click  Employer/Business Locator . 

The growth and aging of the population and the development of new drugs for the treatment of diseases will continue to increase the demand for prescription drugs. However, the greater use of computers in pharmacies is expected to result in the increased productivity of pharmacists. This may adversely affect the demand for Pharmacy Technicians.

About 8,725 Pharmacy Technicians are employed in Michigan. Most worked in the pharmacies of hospitals, health clinics, health maintenance organizations, nursing homes, and medical centers. Most worked in retail pharmacies.

Employment of Pharmacy Technicians is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2014.

An average of 260 annual openings is expected, with 140 due to growth and 120 to replacement of those who retire, die, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Additional openings will occur as workers transfer to other jobs or occupations. Most openings will occur in hospitals and other large health care facilities.

As hospital pharmacy departments expand their scope of pharmaceutical services, an increasing reliance on Pharmacy Technicians to perform the more routine tasks is expected. Also, the move toward placing "Satellite" pharmacies on each floor of a hospital in addition to a central pharmacy will mean additional opportunities for Technicians.  

MICHIGAN'S AREA EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK TO 2014 

EMPLOYMENT
REGION
 

NUMBER
EMPLOYED
 

PERCENT
GROWTH
 

PROJECTED
YEARLY JOB
OPENINGS
 

MICHIGAN - State-wide 

8,725 

16.3 

260 

Ann Arbor Area 

455 

22.8 

16 

Battle Creek Area 

280 

9.3 

6 

Benton Harbor Area 

220 

12.8 

6 

Central Michigan 

185 

18.8 

6 

Detroit Area 

3,550 

14.7 

99 

East Central Michigan 

100 

14.7 

3 

Flint Area 

475 

12.9 

12 

Grand Rapids Area 

880 

22.5 

31 

Jackson Area 

235 

17.6 

7 

Kalamazoo Area 

245 

21.5 

9 

Lansing MSA 

415 

18.9 

13 

Muskegon Area 

310 

15.5 

9 

Northeast Lower Peninsula 

120 

12.4 

3 

Northwest Lower Peninsula 

275 

13.4 

7 

Saginaw Area 

365 

14.3 

10 

Thumb Area 

250 

18.9 

8 

Upper Peninsula 

300 

15.1 

8 

West Central Michigan 

75 

17.8 

2 


*NOTE:  Areas may not add up to state-wide total due to rounding, sampling or statistical errors, and/or confidentiality issues.
 


SOURCES OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Printed Occupational information is available upon written request from the sources below.

National Pharmacy Technician Association 
P.O. Box 683148
Houston, TX 77268
(888) 247-8700

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board 
1100 15th Street, N.W., Suite 730
Washington, DC 20005-1707
(800) 363-8012

Michigan Pharmacists Association  
815 North Washington Avenue  
Lansing, MI 48906
(517) 484-1466
 

American Society of Health-
System Pharmacists
 

7272 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
(866) 279-0681 
 

American Pharmacists Association
 
 
1100 15th Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005  
(202) 628-4410
 

American Association of Pharmacy Technicians 
P.O. Box 1447
Greensboro, NC 27402
(877) 368-4771
 

Michigan Department of Community Health
Michigan Board of Pharmacy
 

Capitol View Building
201 Townsend Street
Lansing, MI 48913
(517) 373-3740
 

Institute for the Certification of
Pharmacy Technicians
 

2536 S. Old Hwy 94, Suite 214
St. Charles, MO 63303
(314) 442-6775
 

 
 

Local Military Recruiters 

Michigan Jobs & Career Portal 

High School, College and
Private Vocational School
Placement Offices
 

Federal, State and Local
Civil Service Offices
 

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