Pharmacy Technician Job Description

Pharmacy Office Counter
The Pharmacy Technician: A Closer Look

A pharmacy technician’s job description is to assist pharmacists in their daily tasks. They are directly involved with the receiving and dispensing of prescriptions and client/patient contact. All work is done under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

General Pharmacy Tech Job Duties

The job duties of a pharmacy tech can vary depending on the industry he or she works in.

Pharmacy technicians that work in a pharmacy or retail setting typically perform the following duties:

  • Receiving prescriptions, both over the phone and in-person
  • Entering prescriptions into computer database
  • Dispensing medications
  • Assisting clients at the cash register
  • Working with insurance companies
  • Contacting referring physicians’ offices with questions over prescription
  • Maintaining inventory

Those that work in hospitals or nursing homes may also perform the following functions:

  • Delivering medications to patients
  • Reading patient charts
  • Working closely with nursing staff, including preparing medication packets for nurses to administer

In addition, the pharmacy tech must be able to:

  • Work varied hours as many pharmacies are open 24/7
  • Routinely lift 50 pounds
  • Lift over head

Sample Job Posting

There are numerous pharmacy tech job descriptions, and they can vary depending on the employer and the industry that the employer is in. As follows is an excerpt from a pharmacy tech job description that had been posted. The employer with the job opening was an outpatient care facility:

  1. Enter inpatient orders/prescriptions into the computer and prepare labels for medications to be checked by the pharmacist.
  2. Answer telephones when appropriate and with in legal guidelines and direct calls to appropriate personnel.
  3. Inspects medications for outdates in patient care area Pyxis stations on a quarterly basis.
  4. Prepares IVs, PCAs, Epidurals and labels all IV products. Prepares chemotherapeutic intravenous medications as requested.
  5. Packages drugs into unit dose packaging and maintains packaging records.
  6. Reconstitutes medication by adding a specific quantity of distilled water requiring no calculation.
  7. Run fill lists and prepares medications for Cubies or Pyxis stations.
  8. Delivers medications and IVs to patient care areas. Delivers controlled substances to patient care areas, takes controlled substance physical inventories and reconciles controlled substance inventory counts.
  9. Data enters patient charges and credits.
  10. Check in the order, processes invoices, credits and backorders. Restocks medication on the shelves as needed and, if needed, purchases medication from suppliers.
  11. Maintain assigned work areas and equipment in clean and orderly condition.

Every employer has their own set of qualifications that they desire in an employee. However, there are typically commonalities, especially for those employers within the same industry. As follows are typical qualifications taken in part from a job posting in Washington state.

Table 1: Washington State Qualifications
Education High school diploma or equivalent required. Must complete Wash St Board of Pharmacy approved Pharmacy Tech Training Program.
Experience Minimum of one year’s experience in hospital pharmacy utilizing unit dose, IV admixtures, and pharmacy computer systems is preferred.
License Currently licensed as a Pharmacy Technician by the WA State Board of Pharmacy.

Necessary Skills/Qualities

  • Effective written and oral communication
  • Professional and courteous
  • Able to handle stressful/busy situations
  • Problem solving skills
  • Effective time management skills
  • Basic computer skills (Office suite, etc)
  • Team player
  • Able to maintain confidentiality, both of pharmacy policies and client data
  • Able to stand for long periods of time and work flexible hours.

A Typical Day for a Pharmacy Technician

Regina, a Certified Pharmacy Technician, works at a pharmacy in a grocery store of her home town. She graduated from a pharmacy technician program 5 years ago, and has been with her current employer ever since.

She currently works the day shift, which she was pleased to get after working the 12:00-8:00 shift for the first couple of years. On a typical day, Regina arrives to work, signs on to her computer, and catches up with her co-workers about what needs to be done after the night shift has ended. Days are busy, which she really likes. It makes the day go by so fast!

“The best part is the interaction I get to have everyday with my customers and my co-workers. I get to go home, knowing I’ve helped make a difference in someone’s life”
– Regina, CPhT

Regina spends most of her work day assisting clients. Prescriptions are brought into the store both in person, and over the phone from physicians’ offices. She takes the orders for the prescriptions, prepares the label, and fills the requested medication.

All of her work is directly supervised by one of the licensed pharmacists on staff. She helps clients when they come into the pharmacy to pick up their prescription, or if they have questions. Any advising on any medication, however, is always referred to the pharmacist.

Regina’s work environment is bright, clean, busy, and team oriented, with good pay, vacation, and healthcare benefits. Just what she was looking for after several years working as a barista and at various restaurants. “I love my job”, Regina told us recently. “The best part is the interaction I get to have everyday with my customers and my co-workers. I get to go home, knowing I’ve helped make a difference in someone’s life”.