Pharmacy techs assist pharmacists in dispensing prescription medication. They may handle such tasks as recording patient information, filling insurance forms and managing the cash register during sales. No formal training requirements exist for the position, since many pharmacists train assistants on the job. However, formal education lasting six months to two years is available from community colleges and vocational schools.
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State rules can govern the responsibilities of pharmacy techs. Those in retail may receive and process prescription requests by phone, online or in-person. They then prepare the medication, and ensure that the correct containers and labels are used. All efforts require checking by the pharmacist before any prescription is handed to the patient. In addition, those in hospitals or nursing homes may also deliver prescriptions to doctors, nurses or patients.
Pharmacies may operate long hours, sometimes 24 hours a day, to accommodate the schedules of customers. Pharmacy techs working at such establishments may work part-time to fill those hours, earning a median £8.70 hourly, with a range of £6.0 to £12.50. Those who do work a 40-hour week earn £18,245 yearly, with a range of £12,662 to £26,104, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2009.
Most pharmacy techs work in health and personal care stores, which offers 50 per cent of the available 331,890 jobs. These employers pay £8.60 or £17,933, which is only about average. The highest-paying jobs are with the federal government, which offers £12.20 or £25,376. However, these positions are harder to get since they comprise only about 1.5 per cent of the available jobs. In addition, must meet federal regulations, which can be more stringent than the ones for states.
The BLS sees employment of pharmacy techs increasing by 25 per cent from 2008 to 2018, which is far faster than average for all jobs. Demand comes from the increase in the elderly, who require more prescription drugs than younger people. In addition, scientific advances in drugs enable patients to obtain an increasing array of drug to treat medical conditions once requiring more advanced procedures. Job prospects are expected to be good, especially for those with formal training and certification.
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