What To Expect as a Pharmacy Technician

As one of the careers with the highest projected growth rates according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics pharmacy technicians are expected to be in high demand at least until 2024. This leads to job security and stability.  

Expect to work mainly in pharmacies and drug stores. While 52 percent of pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies many also work at general medical and surgical hospitals, grocery stores and department stores. Pharmacy technicians spend most of the workday on their feet.

Most pharmacy technicians work full time. Pharmacies may be open at all hours. Therefore, pharmacy technicians may have to work nights or weekends.

During these hours you will tasked with collecting information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals, measuring amounts of medication for prescriptions, packaging and labeling prescriptions. 

Here is a list of other tasks you can expect to do as a pharmacy technician.

  • Receive written prescription or refill requests and verify that information is complete and accurate.
  • Prepack bulk medicines, fill bottles with prescribed medications, and type and affix labels.
  • Answer telephones, responding to questions or requests.
  • Maintain proper storage and security conditions for drugs.
  • Assist customers by answering simple questions, locating items, or referring them to the pharmacist for medication information.
  • Price and file prescriptions that have been filled.
  • Establish or maintain patient profiles, including lists of medications taken by individual patients.
  • Order, label, and count stock of medications, chemicals, or supplies and enter inventory data into computer.
  • Receive and store incoming supplies, verify quantities against invoices, check for outdated medications in current inventory, and inform supervisors of stock needs and shortages.
  • Mix pharmaceutical preparations, according to written prescriptions.
  • Operate cash registers to accept payment from customers.
  • Clean and help maintain equipment or work areas and sterilize glassware, according to prescribed methods.
  • Prepare and process medical insurance claim forms and records.
  • Transfer medication from vials to the appropriate number of sterile, disposable syringes, using aseptic techniques.
  • Supply and monitor robotic machines that dispense medicine into containers and label the containers.
  • Restock intravenous (IV) supplies and add measured drugs or nutrients to IV solutions under sterile conditions to prepare IV packs for various uses, such as chemotherapy medication.
  • Compute charges for medication or equipment dispensed to hospital patients and enter data in computer.
  • Deliver medications or pharmaceutical supplies to patients, nursing stations, or surgery.
  • Price stock and mark items for sale.
  • Maintain and merchandise home healthcare products or services.

The following is a work context list, meaning that you can see what activities you do on a daily basis and how often you do them.

  • Telephone — 95% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 80% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 80% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure — 80% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail — 72% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 62% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 63% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Physical Proximity — 45% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 69% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 47% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 53% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Very important results.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 29% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 50% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 25% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 38% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 31% responded “Limited freedom.