Ashworth College Blog

What is a pharmacy technician?

Written by Ashworth College on Monday, 03 September 2018. Posted in Career

Pharmacy technicians performing drug inventory at a pharmacy

Every time you pick up a prescription from your local pharmacy, you probably see a number of people in white coats working behind the counter. At least one of those folks is a pharmacist, an expert in pharmaceutical drugs who holds a professional doctorate and has passed multiple licensing exams.

But most of the people you see behind the drug counter are pharmacy technicians co-workers who are trained specifically to assist pharmacists with the many ongoing tasks it takes to run the business.

What does a pharmacy technician do?

Though the tasks needed by every pharmacy are generally similar, pharm techs may perform them in varied settings from retail environments where they interact with the public constantly to closed-door environments where they have no direct interaction with customers at all. There’s a little something for everyone who aspires to build a career as a pharmacy technician.

Retail Pharm Techs

About half of all pharm techs work in retail pharmacies and drug store settings, while 10% work in general merchandise stores, and 8% work in grocery stores, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.* In these environments, pharmacy technicians work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist to handle a number of important tasks, including:

  • Working with customers in person and on the telephone
  • Receiving prescription information from customers and physicians
  • Counting pills or measuring doses of prescribed medications
  • Packaging and labeling medications
  • Working the pharmacy cash register
  • Maintaining accurate patient records
  • Processing and troubleshooting insurance claims
  • Monitoring inventory of behind the counter and over-the-counter supplies

Retail pharmacy technicians may work full time or part time during regular daytime shifts, fill-in or temporary shifts, and even overnight shifts at 24-hour pharmacies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for retail pharm techs in 2017 was $31,750.*


The median salary for pharmacy technicians in retail environments was $31,750 in 2017.*


If you’re interested in chemistry, medication management, and want to interact with people every day in an effort to help them live longer, healthier lives, then retail pharm tech could be a great career for you.

Closed-Door Pharm Techs

Not all pharmacies are customer-facing. Hospitals and private group care facilities need their own pharmacies to fulfill the medication needs of patients who are receiving emergency treatment, short-term rehabilitation, or ongoing residential care. Some of these environments may employ pharm techs who work completely behind-the-scenes, while others require pharm techs to make the rounds giving medications directly to their patients. But, just like their retail counterparts, closed-door pharm techs must work under the supervision of a pharmacist and they are likely to perform more complicated tasks, like:

  • Maintaining a sterile environment and dispensing sterile products
  • Compounding (customizing drugs to meet specific patient needs)
  • Preparing intravenous medications
  • Working with radio-pharmaceuticals (radioactive drugs used for diagnoses and therapies)

Because care facilities also function 24/7, there are likely to be opportunities for pharm techs to work shifts at any time of the day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for hospital-based pharm techs in 2017 was nearly $37,000 per year.*

Other Kinds of Pharm Techs

Opportunities for pharmacy technicians certainly aren’t limited to the environments above, though they’re the most common. Skilled pharm techs have other ways to grow their careers. As business needs evolve, so do opportunities.

  1. Online and mail order pharmacies are growing in popularity as people turn to digital retailers for all of their needs, medicine included. A different kind of customer-facing business, mail order pharmacies need pharm techs, too. Digital customer service, postage management, and delivery and packaging logistics may be part of daily operations in these types of pharmacies.
  2. Domestic, farm, rescue, and zoo animals need medical treatment that includes pharmaceuticals just like humans do. Mail order, compounding, and veterinary school-based pharmacies need pharm techs who specialize in pharmaceuticals for animals.
  3. Branch pharmacies are sometimes found in underserved areas. Pharm techs may manage their daily operations under the supervision of an off-site pharmacist.
  4. Managers and supervisors with experience in pharm tech are needed to oversee operations in a variety of healthcare and allied healthcare environments. Some retail experience is usually desired for these roles where office skills, management skills and regulatory compliance knowledge are required.

Start Training Today for This Growing Field!

As the population ages and requires increasingly more medical care, there is an increasing need for pharm techs in all of the environments mentioned above. Demand for pharm techs is projected to rise about 12 percent through 2026. Learn more about the pharmacy technician job outlook and enroll today so you’ll be ready to join this rapidly growing field.

Learn more about the online pharmacy technician program at Ashworth College: Talk to an admissions advisor today!

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Ashworth College

Our community is full of independent, motivated, growth-focused students. Dive into our blog to explore diverse stories from our students, friends, experts, and executives. From tips & tricks to student experiences and alumni stories, the Ashworth Blog is all about celebrating our community's accomplishments and passions.

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Life Hacks How to Write the Perfect Resume

You’re qualified for the job and you know your skillset is just what employers are looking for. But before you apply, make sure you know how to market yourself. There are dozens of other potential candidates so you need to stand out! A well-designed resume that’s neatly organized and packed with action verbs can help you make a lasting impression. If your resume is lacking luster, here’s what you should do to present your qualifications in a way that’ll put you above the competition.

Set yourself apart

Resumes are an essential part of the job search. While they may not be the most exciting to create, they’re crucial. It’s important to write and design a resume that will stand out. After all, job hunting is like a competition. You’re trying to relay that you’re the best candidate for the job through your resume.

Follow these tips when creating your resume.

  • Design matters. Just like you’d dress-up for an interview you need to make sure your resume looks presentable, too. You want to catch the hiring manager’s eye, so stand out! Set yourself apart with an aesthetically pleasing design that uses white space, a splash of color, and doesn’t make your resume look clunky and text heavy. If you need some inspiration check out these designs. But, remember not to go overboard with your design. Avoid busy detail and clashing of colors.
  • Put critical information first. You don’t want to make hiring managers search for what they need. Make sure your contact information is easily found and don’t forget to include a personal profile or summary. Here, you should explain your area of expertise and really sell yourself.
  • Share your experience. You need to show you have the experience needed to succeed. List the companies you worked for, the dates you worked there, and include details surrounding your position and your accomplishments while employed.
  • You have the smarts. Show off your education! Share where you studied, when you graduated, the degree or certificate you earned, and any academic accomplishments that really stand out.
  • A little bit of extra stuff. If you volunteer, coach a sports team, or maybe you’re a board member, list it! Responsibilities outside of work show that you’re driven and dedicated.

Remember, your resume shouldn’t exceed one page. Keep it neat, organized, and concise while also highlighting what’s important.

Show off your skills

You have a lot of skills and you want to show them off, but some skills are more important than others. Highlight the competencies you have been taught to perform, what are traditionally called hard skills. It may help to make a list of the training you received either in your field of study or on the job. For example, a Medical Billing and Coding specialist should list their ICD-10-CM coding skills. A Pharmacy Technician should list their knowledge of sterile and nonsterile compounding. Employers want to see hard skills, or skills that are teachable, on your resume. Other examples of hard skills to include are if speak another language, have a certification, or computer programming skills.

Soft skills are equally as important. Employers are seeking candidates who communicate well, have a positive attitude, and possess problem-solving skills. You can convey that you have all of these skills in your resume by having well-written descriptions, giving concrete evidence in your job experience that you often solve problems, and by using positive words like “won” or “overcame” to show your optimism.

According to Glassdoor, there’s no reason to list skills that most candidates possess. For example, almost everyone understands and uses email and Microsoft Word. Those aren’t skills you’ll want to list.

Include must-have words

Your resume can use some pizazz! When you’re writing about your employment history you should use action verbs to highlight your accomplishments. By starting with an action verb, you’re rounding up what you’ve done and your expertise for hiring managers. Use verbs that showcase your personality. This way, employers will get an idea of who you are and how you’ll fit on their team before they even meet you. Glassdoor lists action words that will elevate your resume and get you noticed! Remember, you should provide examples as often as possible.

Additionally, quantify your achievements. Use numbers to show concrete results when necessary. Customer satisfaction scores, number or percent of closed support tickets, days without OSHA violations or increases in team productivity are all things that hiring managers would care about. This way, hiring managers will have evidence of changes and accomplishments you’ve had at previous organizations.

BONUS: Upskill yourself

Expand your resume by pursuing a degree, certificate, or career diploma in a field you enjoy with Ashworth College. Start your career journey by talking with an Admissions Advisor at .

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You’re creative, detail-oriented, and have an eye for design. You know the best venues and your Pinterest board is colorful and full of inspiration. Above all, you love love, planning parties, and celebrating with family and friends. So, why not turn your talents and passions into a career? By becoming a wedding planner you can say “I do” to the job you’ve been searching for. Here’s how Ashworth can help you tie the knot with your dream career.

Make dreams come true

You’re looking for a career to have and to hold, one that encompasses all your skills and makes dreams come true. With a love for planning, parties, and romance it may seem like your talents are more suited as a hobby. However, that’s not the case! Your career match is out there. As a wedding planner, you’ll put your creativity and organizational skills to work as you plan the happily ever after couples are searching for.

You’ll be working with couples from the time of their engagement and beyond. Every step of the way, you’re there helping plan their fairytale wedding. As a wedding planner, you’ll act as a liaison between vendors and the bride and groom. In your Ashworth studies, you’ll complete courses to help prepare for your role such as:

  • Making Dreams Come True. In this course, you’ll learn the role of a bridal consultant, the basics of operating a bridal consulting business, and how to build your professional image.
  • Etiquette, Traditions, and Customs. It’s important to become familiar with wedding customs and traditions. In this course, you’ll learn rituals and traditions from around the world and ethnic customs.
  • Starting Your Business. You’re new to the bridal consulting world. In this course, you’ll learn how to start your own business, how to manage your money, and the legal requirements you’ll need to get started.

Your career will be hard but rewarding work. You’ll witness the impact you’ve had as you watch the bride and groom celebrate their special day with loved ones and guests.

Tie the knot with a career you enjoy

As a wedding planner, you’ll be busy helping couple’s dreams become a reality, all while starting your own business and traveling and coordinating events. Your work will be unpredictable, but exciting! With an 11% expected job growth by 2026, now is the time to become a wedding planner.

When you enroll you’ll also receive a one-year membership to the Association of Bridal Consultants® (ABC). With the membership, you’ll have access to workshops, conferences, and networking opportunities.

Walk down the aisle towards your happily ever after with a career as a wedding planner. Take the first steps towards making nuptial dreams come true by calling an Admissions Advisor at 1-888-230-4013.

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Life Hacks Trust Us, People Care What You Wear to Work

You’ve probably heard the saying, “look good, feel good.” It’s true, especially when you’re saddling up for a new career adventure. Looking good means you feel better about yourself and you stand a little taller. You want to feel confident going into an interview and then at work once you land a job!

Then, you start the job and for a few weeks you dress your best, alternating between your nicest tops, polos, and pants. But before you know it, you’re comfortable and your job isn’t so new. You fall back into old habits and start wearing your comfiest yoga pants and hoodies. You may feel relaxed, but your outfit tells your boss and coworkers that you have low drive and opportunities in the workplace may pass you by. Don’t make this mistake! Here’s why you should put some pep in your step with your style choices at work.

Look good, feel good, do good.

You may not realize that what you wear and your job performance go hand in hand, but think about it: When you feel good about yourself you project good out into the world, and ultimately, your work space. If you’re confident about the way you look then you’ll be more confident in yourself and the work you do. According to an article published by NPR, a study found that wearing formal clothing makes employees think more like a leader.

But what if your workplace is more laid back? Maybe you don’t need to wear a suit to the office every day. That’s fine, too. Just make sure what you’re wearing is neat, fits well, and is stain free. Don’t wear anything with holes in it, make sure your hair is done, and you look presentable. Also remember, a positive attitude can go a long way! Looking like a professional – and acting like one – is the first step towards success.

Dress for the job you want.

Has anyone ever told you “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? Remember this saying as you get ready for work. If you look like you don’t care then your bosses, coworkers, and customers are going to assume you don’t care, too.

You should treat every day like it’s an interview, a Forbes article advises. Since you’re more than likely being evaluated by your peers at any given time, it’s important to dress your best to show you’re serious about your role.

If you work somewhere where you’re required to wear a uniform, it’s probably easier for you, right? Wrong. If you work in retail or the service industry, it’s equally important to put effort into what you look like. While you may have to wear a uniform, you should make sure that it’s stain and wrinkle free without any frays or tears. Make sure you’re well-groomed and any non-uniform parts of your outfit are crisp and professional.

People care what you wear.

Trust us, your coworkers, bosses, and even customers care what you wear. Whether you like it or not what you wear on the outside has a lot to say about the person or worker you are. Putting some effort into what you wear can go a long way. You may not get a promotion right away for wearing a blazer to work every day, but you will build your self-esteem and be more comfortable with yourself. This is equally as important as career growth.

Even if no one says this to you, your managers are evaluating your appearance each day. Dressing in a way that impresses them, or even better, impresses their superiors, means a lot. Each day is an opportunity to put your best foot forward and put a little extra time into you. When you show yourself some love, it shows. Not sure where to begin putting yourself together? All skills can be learned. Check out our Personal Style Career Program to learn more about how to package yourself like the gift you are.

Believing in yourself and being comfortable with who you are and in what you wear is the key to furthering your career journey. Take the time to make sure your clothing choices reflect that you’re hardworking and ready for opportunities that lie ahead.

 
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