Pharmacy technician roles are becoming increasingly important throughout the world as the number of licensed pharmacists is rarely if ever enough to cope with the demand on the system. Technicians can take on some of the simpler tasks which pharmacists would normally do for themselves, and they do not need to have the high level of education which a fully qualified pharmacist would need. If you are interested in gaining a career in pharmacy but have no relevant qualifications, becoming a technician may be way of bridging the gap.
Most pharmacy roles are found in two distinctly different locations, either in a pharmacy which operates as a type of retail store, or in a hospital where the pharmacist will be working directly with medical doctors. A pharmacist technician working with a pharmacist is a retail setting will be able to take on some of the routine administration duties which would otherwise take some of the pharmacist’s time and prevent them from giving full attention to areas where their expertise is needed. This can include liaising with manufacturers or health insurance companies to make sure that the right medicines are being dispensed for any given condition.
Another major part of the role of a technician in this setting is to communicate directly with patients concerning the way nutrients which the medications need to be used. This would always have been a role which the pharmacist themselves would have taken on, but with the decrease in numbers much of the responsibility has been passed to the technicians. A technician will always be able to consult with the qualified pharmacist if there are any areas which need clarification. Most of the conversations will involve when to take the medications, how often, and what to look for to see if there are any negative reactions.
A pharmacy technician working in a hospital will have similar responsibilities, but may have to work alone for longer as the pharmacist may be involved in emergency work with doctors. In a hospital environment, it is essential that the intake of medicines is monitored accurately, so that the right choices are made when the results are assessed. A technician may not have the necessary training to be able to tell what should one done when a certain side effect appears, but they will have enough knowledge to be able to summon the pharmacist or another doctor when it is clear that something is wrong.
There are more potential jobs as pharmacy technicians available than ever before, due to the expansion of the health industry and the difficulty of finding qualified pharmacists. Having technicians available can mean that a hospital or pharmacy can manage with fewer actual pharmacists, so the need for technicians is also increasing. The pay for a pharmacist technician is never going to match that of the pharmacist themselves, but the constant need for medical personnel keeps pharmacy technician pay at a higher level than that of many similar jobs. The need for a completed high school education also keeps out many potential entrants.
Becoming a pharmacy technician is by no means easy, but it is certainly easier than qualifying as a fully fledged pharmacist. It can even be a stepping stone in that direction, as many of those who qualify as technicians are then able to study at home for the university standard qualification they need to practice as a pharmacist. If you have the right background and work history to go alongside your new qualification, it can only help you to find the right long term position. You can gain this type of record by working as a pharmacy technician.