Where is the Best Place to Work as a Pharmacy Technician?
By Lacey Crawford, CPhT
You studied hard and finally got that long-awaited CPhT behind your name… now what? Where is the best place to work as a pharmacy technician, you may ask? Well, let me tell you, the sky is the limit with this career choice! Let’s look at a few of the different healthcare settings and what options you may have:
Most newly certified pharmacy techs start in a retail setting. You can gain tremendous knowledge and skills in these fast-paced environments. Retail pharmacy offers opportunities to grow as a tech, such as lead or senior techs, pharmacy managers, or even store managers. pharmacy technicians can hone inventory, pharmacy billing, vaccine administration, compounding, and point of care testing in a retail setting.
Another popular place to work if you are a pharmacy tech is in the hospital. Hospital work is another avenue to grow in skill and expertise in your career. Hospital pharmacy allows a tech to practice advanced skills such as creating compound medications, IV fluids, and other mixtures for patients. You may also be trained to prepare various sterile compounds, such as chemotherapy medications and pediatric IVs. This requires precise knowledge of aseptic techniques and calculations. You may also take on the role as a medication history technician in the hospital setting. Most of the time, your interaction as a pharmacy tech in a hospital setting is with the providers and other medical staff such as nurses. Still, suppose you are working as a medication history technician. In that case, you can meet with a patient or their family and develop an accurate list of medications they are taking during a discussion.
Another common workplace for pharmacy technicians is mail-order pharmacy. You will be taught how to run dispensing machines in a mail-order pharmacy because the most prescribed drugs such as blood thinners, heart medications, pain killers, and cholesterol meds are dispensed by machines. This job can give you the opportunity to increase your knowledge of computers and machinery. You spend time inputting new prescriptions, refilling medications, and receiving faxes and phone calls. Some technicians work as insurance specialists within mail-order pharmacies. If you are interested in working remotely, mail-order pharmacies have great job opportunities for work-at-home pharmacy technicians.
Nursing Homes/Assisted Living
One lesser-known avenue that a pharmacy technician can take is within a nursing home or assisted living facility. Your role here looks like a hospital pharmacy because most drugs are filled in a per-dose manner. Job duties are also very similar to retail and hospitals since you will be responsible for preparing medications and interpreting the provider’s orders.
Remote/ Work from Home
Working from home as a pharmacy technician will require you to perform your duties via telephone, video conferencing, or chat. As a pharmacy technician who works from home, you may work with a pharmacist to assist patients with their prescription medication and related medical questions and concerns. You may be helping patients with a variety of questions about their medication dose, frequency, or drug interactions. You can also work in certain capacities processing prior authorizations. There are opportunities to work from home with large chain retails, insurance companies, mail-order pharmacies, and medication adherence companies.
As a pharmacy technician instructor, you are responsible for preparing pharmacy technicians for working under the supervision of a pharmacist and support various tasks within the pharmacy. Your work revolves around developing lesson plans, lecturing students, facilitating lab activities and hands-on assignments, and testing your student’s knowledge. You will teach pharmacy terms, pharmacy processes, law, and pharmacy calculations. You’re also responsible for preparing your students for their certification examinations.
The exciting thing about working as a pharmacy technician is that there are various work environments to choose from. So, where is the perfect place to work as a pharmacy technician? That answer is entirely up to you! Whatever you decide, give it your all, see if it fits, and try another option if it doesn’t work for you. As you can see above, you have plenty!
Want to learn more about these various pharmacy technician career paths as well as gain tips on how to find these opportunities? Check out Mike Johnston’s, CPhT, Career Navigator!