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.
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).
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:
0700 CAREERS, 0900 COMMUNICATIONS, 1000 COMPUTERS, 1800 HEALTH & HEALTH CAREERS, 2200 MATH, 2900 SCIENCE, 3100 STUDY & WORK OPTIONS, 3300 TECHNOLOGY
***VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS***
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:
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.
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
Anatomy & Physiology
Drug Distribution Systems
Orientation to Hospital & Administration of Medicines
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 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
Job training consists of classroom instruction. Course content typically includes:
Pharmacy laws and regulations
Drug types and uses
Mixing and dispensing drugs
Normal color vision is required as is the ability to speak clearly. Some specialties may involve heavy lifting.
Pharmacy technicians usually work in hospitals and clinics on land or aboard ships. They may also work in field hospitals.
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.
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:
job shadowing experiences
touring a local Pharmacy Technician employer
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:
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 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.
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:
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
MICHIGAN - State-wide
Ann Arbor Area
Battle Creek Area
Benton Harbor Area
East Central Michigan
Grand Rapids Area
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
West Central Michigan
*NOTE: Areas may not add up to state-wide total due to rounding, sampling or statistical errors, and/or confidentiality issues.