Schools Training

A Closer Look at Pharmacy Technician Practices

17 MAY 2012
Career Path : Healthcare

Pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician involves more than just filling bottles behind the counter. Much like how doctors rely on their team of nurses, pharmacists look to their technicians for support and to help them ensure that daily responsibilities are carried out properly and smoothly.

Taking on the role of a technician demands vast knowledge of pharmaceutical practices and the industry at large. Typical responsibilities of pharmacy technicians include:

  • Assisting pharmacists in preparation and distribution of pharmaceuticals in both public and private practices.
  • Advising on the regulations and methodologies regarding prescriptions.
  • Advising on the many uses and classes of available drugs and medical devices.

With these responsibilities in mind, it becomes clear that a pharmacy technician must undergo extensive training before launching his or her career. Many schools offer the necessary programs needed to become a certified pharmacy technician. The bulk of such programs will include courses on industry-specific essentials, including calculations, legislation, retailing, and equipment and devices.

While much of such programs focus on healthcare-specific topics and pharmacy fundamentals, the program will also consist of courses that zone in on topics that are not as obviously related to the field. For starters, the program will likely include courses on community engagement and active citizenship. The purpose of implementing these types of courses in the curriculum is to encourage future technicians to be actively involved in community matters and to stay up-to-date with social issues that affect their local communities.

This emphasis on community involvement may be surprising at first, but it is vital that pharmacy professionals develop the proper skills in order to build a strong rapport with their clientele. Like any other member of the healthcare industry, pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in maintaining an open dialogue between healthcare professionals and the public. With so many advancements happening in the prescription and non-prescription drug industries, it is important for pharmacists to be at the forefront of any new developments that their clients should be aware of.

Another unassuming class that health science colleges will likely include in the pharmacy technician curriculum is a course on natural health products (i.e., herbal medicine). Studying alternative medicine may seem counter-intuitive at first, seeing as how it is in direct opposition to the pharmaceutical industry. However, it is crucial that pharmacy professionals understand all types of healthcare treatments in order to be confident in their abilities to suggest (or discourage) particular prescription drugs to their clients. Being well-versed in all realms of medicinal products, both prescription and natural, will ensure that a pharmacy professional knows the options that are out there for people to choose from.

With courses on community involvement and alternative medicine, it is clear that schools of health science are offering well-rounded professional training for future pharmacy technicians.