Pharmacy technicians assist in the technical, non-judgmental functions related to pharmacy such as processing of prescription orders and performing inventory management under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians are essential to the workflow of a pharmacy. With the increased activities of the pharmacist, pharmacy technicians are taking on more responsibility in the pharmacy. Many of the technical, non-judgmental functions of a pharmacist (such as counting medicine and running a cash register) are being given to pharmacy technicians. This allows pharmacists to focus on patient care and service.
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Pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies (drug stores), clinic pharmacies (in HMOs) and hospital pharmacies. Similar to the pharmacist, pharmacy techniciansí jobs depend on their work location. In community and clinic pharmacies, technicians are often the first people the patients see or speak to on the telephone. These technicians may spend much of their time entering prescription and patient information into a computer. They also spend much of their time selecting and counting medicine, answering telephone calls and dealing with insurance companies. A community pharmacy technician may also run a cash register, order drugs and put them away, check for drug outdates and repackage medications into unit-dose packaging for nursing homes.
Technicians who work in hospitals enter prescription orders into a computer database, fill the medication carts, deliver the carts to the floor pharmacies and clean and sterilize pharmaceutical instruments and equipment. A hospital technician may also prepare IV bags (training required) and perform drug calculations per physicians' orders.
Technician work is often fast paced and mentally challenging. A pharmacy technician must be understanding of patients' needs, be open-minded and have a great deal of tolerance. Pharmacy technicians spend a lot of time standing, work full or part time and may work irregular hours, which can include evenings, weekends and holidays.
High school students should study mathematics, chemistry, biology and data entry. Completion of a pharmacy technician program at a community college or vocational/technical school is recommended but not required. A technician may also voluntarily become certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Certification requires a high school diploma or GED and passing a written exam.
Blackhawk Technical College
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Fox Valley Technical College
Gateway Technical College
Lakeshore Technical College
Mid-State Technical College
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Moraine Park Technical College - Fond du Lac
Nicolet Area Technical College
Northcentral Technical College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Rasmussen College - Appleton Campus
Rasmussen College - Green Bay Campus
Rasmussen College - Wausau Campus
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
University of Wisconsin - Marshfield
Waukesha County Technical College
Western Technical College
American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPT)
PO Box 1447
Greensboro, NC, 27402
336/333-9356 or 877/368-4771
Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
701 Heartland Trail
Madison, WI, 53717
Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, Inc.
2215 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, 20037-2985
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