Where Can You Work As A Pharmacy Technician?
Do you enjoy working in a social, fast-paced environment? Or would you rather enjoy more of a quiet or remote environment? The good news is that with a career in pharmacy tech, you can work in either of those environments! In today’s convenience-focused economy, there are a variety of settings you can work in.
Retail or Community Pharmacy
The majority of pharmacy technicians work at drugstores or retail pharmacies. These are the stand-alone pharmacies like Walgreens or the pharmacies located inside popular shopping outlets or grocery stores like CVS. Most retail pharmacies provide a drive-through service.
At these fast-paced locations, you’ll be on your feet, working with your community face-to-face preparing and packaging prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist. You’ll answer common questions regarding over-the-counter medications, process insurance claims, and work the cash register. These locations also provide covid testing and common immunizations so you’ll be processing the screening paperwork and perhaps giving vaccinations if you have certification. The schedules can be flexible depending on operating hours.
Hospital or Inpatient Pharmacy
Hospital pharmacy technicians have less direct patient interactions than retail pharmacies. Here you’ll be spending more time preparing and packaging medications in single-dose units to be administered by a nurse in the hospital. You’ll also fill syringes and prepare intravenous (IV) solutions to be used in the emergency room or on any of the hospital floors. You’ll learn how to operate and maintain automated machines that will dispense these medications too. All of the hospitals work on a 24-hour schedule 365 days of the year.
In recent years and with advancements in technology, we have more drugs that can target rare, chronic, and severe illnesses than before. These high-cost drugs require an increased level of patient care with limited distribution drugs. As a pharmacy technician in this setting, you’ll not only help process prescriptions, but you’ll be working closely with prescribers to help process prior authorizations which are required for many high-cost drugs. Many of these drugs will require specific packaging and shipping guidelines as well.
These pharmacies operate much like retail pharmacies but also provide an additional service of compounding medications. Compounded medications are custom and patient-specific prescriptions that are not commercially available through drug manufacturers. If a patient is allergic to certain ingredients or needs specific dosing, prescribers may refer patients to these pharmacies that can tailor these medications. You’ll need to be good at math and work with compounding tools using specific techniques and measuring devices that require special training.
These pharmacies are not open to the general public but instead provide medications to institutions like long-term care, skilled nursing, mental health, and assisted living facilities. Here you will be in an environment much like a hospital pharmacy technician packaging unit-dose medications, syringes, and IVs. These environments are slower-paced and you will not have direct patient interactions.
Patient Care Clinics
As a pharmacy technician in these clinics, you can work alongside a pharmacist who works directly with a physician at a patient-care clinic or doctor's office. These pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in coordinating medication therapy management regimens and will help gather medication drug histories from pharmacies or recent hospital stays. In this role, you’ll mostly be at an office and desk using the telephone and teleconferencing as a means of communication. You’ll call patients and follow up on drug therapies, help with prior authorizations with high-cost drugs, and help the pharmacist with a lot of the duties medical assistants would perform.
If you want to work in a more automated work setting where there is no face-to-face patient interaction, mail-order pharmacy might be for you! Insurance companies are encouraging more of their members to subscribe or require them to use mail-order for cost and efficiency purposes. Here you work with automated filling machines, perform basic jam/maintenance, and process prescriptions that come in electronically, via faxes, called in, or mail-in prescriptions. You will need to have excellent customer service skills when handling customer refills and complaints.
These are only a handful of the most common places you can work as a pharmacy technician, there are other specialized avenues you could explore like nuclear pharmacy where you can handle radioactive drugs or pharmacy benefit manager offices where you can work remotely!
As a Pharmacy Technician, there are many exciting places you can work! If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician you can begin your training now with U.S. Career Institute. Get started with your pharmacy technician training online today!