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Day in the Life of a Pharm Tech: What Do Pharm Techs Do?

Written by Nicole Krempasky on Friday, 27 January 2023. Posted in Career

Woman with blonde, curly hair administering a vaccine in the left arm of a child with brown hair wearing a blue shirt.

If you’re considering working in healthcare, it’s important to know what jobs are out there and which one is best for you. Pharmacy technicians provide daily support to pharmacists and their clients, and as their job duties expand in the post-pandemic world, so do opportunities for those looking to enter the field. Check out what you need to know to start a rewarding career in this growing industry.

What do pharmacy techs do?

Pharmacy technicians are credentialed professionals who have a strong balance between soft skills and technical training. Detail-oriented and possessing strong communication skills, pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists to fill prescriptions and provide customer service, like answering phone calls and customer questions relating to medication directions.

Pharmacy technician duties can vary depending upon where you work, like a retail pharmacy, hospital, or mail order pharmacy. Some differences include:

Retail pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians working in retail pharmacies are finding themselves with expanding job duties. Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) authorized pharmacy technicians to administer vaccines and immunizations in addition to their more traditional services of filling prescriptions and educating clients on medications.

Hospital pharmacy. Hospital pharmacy technicians work with intravenous medicines as well as maintaining and servicing drug-dispensary machines, and assist with purchasing medications from pharmaceutical companies. They also assist with clinical trials by ensuring guidelines are strictly followed.

Mail order pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians working in mail order pharmacies have similar duties to those working in retail pharmacies, and even some overlap with hospital pharmacy technicians, however, they don’t have as many patient interactions and they are working in a more traditional, office-like environment. They will receive fill requests, maintain proper storage for medications, and process daily mail shipments.

Day in the life of a pharmacy technician

While the basic work of a pharmacy technician is the same no matter where you work, the day-to-day tasks can vary depending on the type of office in which you work.

Naji Brooks is a pharmacy technician working in a retail pharmacy. As the only pharmacy in her area open on Sundays, it can be rather busy despite it being the weekend, with her shift lasting from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Her day starts by selecting different medications to count, ensuring the pill count is correct. This can take a few hours, with her receiving calls and visits from customers simultaneously. She also organizes filled orders alphabetically so they’re ready for pick-up when customers come into the store. When prescriptions aren’t picked up after an extended period of time, it’s her duty to remove and dispose of personal information before returning the medications to the stock shelves.

Keana Conyers works as a pharmacy technician in a hospital. Her duties are more clerical in nature than those of retail pharmacy technicians. She starts her day going through patient files, printing and completing the paperwork for those who need medications, making sure everything from the medication to instructions and dosage is up to date. Keana then splits her day in half, with her morning spent calling patient rooms to review medications and instructions. Since phone calls are not ideal for all patients, such as the elderly, she spends the second half of her day doing room visits to review the same information. Once finished, she returns to her office to transfer her notes into the hospital’s digital system, including patient notes, questions, and any information that may differ from when they were first prescribed their medications.

The day-to-day duties in a mail order pharmacy are often a combination of what you’d experience working in retail and hospitals. You’ll have daily responsibilities found in retail, like sorting and counting medications, as well as organizing orders for delivery, but you will also contact patients via telephone, logging similar information and notes like you would working in a hospital.

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Is being a pharmacy technician stressful?

Even though you’ll be working under the guidance of a pharmacist, the role of pharmacy technician comes with a degree of stress and high pressure. When dealing with medications, accuracy is of the utmost importance, with the possibility of risks to the health of patients if mistakes are made. Pharmacy technicians also have the added duty of customer service, which is widely known to be difficult, regardless of what industry you work in. You’ll need to be prepared to sometimes deal with unhappy, frustrated people. In retail pharmacies, customers also become irritable with long lines and waits, adding another element of stress to the pharmacy technician. It’s important to remind yourself to be patient and compassionate, no matter how difficult a person may be.

What are the pros and cons of becoming a pharmacy technician?

Like any job, there are positives and negatives to being a pharmacy technician. Some of the most common in each category are:


  • Job stability. Recessions come and go, but the need for medications doesn’t. There will always be a steady stream of individuals in need of medical care, and that includes medications.
  • Helping others. If you’re a person who thrives on helping others, pharmacy technicians play a very important part in ensuring the health and wellness of others.
  • Online training. With Ashworth College, you can complete your pharmacy technician training online and at your own pace with our Pharmacy Technician Career Diploma program. There’s no need to ever step foot into a brick-and-mortar school. All your lessons and materials can be found online, helping you prepare to sit for the National Healthcareer Association’s (NHA) ExCPT Technician certification exam and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s (PTCB) Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

Read more: About the Pharmacy Tech Certification Exam


  • High stress. Though you may not experience it every day, you will face days that will be very stressful, regardless of how well you’re trained or prepared.
  • Repetitive work. While you will face something new or different in your work days, the standard job duties of a pharmacy technician are repetitive. If you’re bored eas

    ly and don’t like a lot of structure or routine, this might not be the best job option for you.

  • Inconvenient schedule. Pharmacies typically have standard operating hours, but employees, including technicians, tend to work in shifts. This means there is a possibility you won’t have a regular schedule of 8-4 or 9-5, and your hours may change from day to day or week to week. T

    is also means that you may be expected to work some weekend hours, depending upon whether or not the pharmacy operates on weekends.

Even though these points are broken down into ‘pros’ and ‘cons’, not everyone is the same, so what may be listed as a positive, might not be a benefit for you. If you dislike interacting with others or are more of an introvert who likes working independently, helping others might not be an ideal part of the job. Similarly, some people enjoy going into work knowing exactly how most of their day will play out, so repetitive work might be exactly what you’re looking for in your career. Regardless, the option of working in retail, hospital, or online pharmacy settings provides great options for many different personalities and lifestyles.

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Start your pharmacy technician career with Ashworth

If you’re ready to learn more about becoming a pharmacy technician, call an Ashworth Admissions Advisor at 1-800-957-5412, or enroll online today to get started.

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