Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pharmacy Technician: Job Description and Career Information

A pharmacy technician assists pharmacists in daily operations and is directly involved in

  • Receiving and dispensing prescriptions in compliance with the laws 
  • Communicating with patients 
  • Entering prescriptions into database
  • Making clients understand about their the usage and dosage of medicines 
  • Maintaining inventory 
  • Contacting physicians regarding prescriptions (whenever necessary) 
  • Maintaining proper storage for drugs
  • Verifying accuracy of prescriptions
  • Correctly labeling and packaging drugs
  • Answering questions referring to medications and health matters
  • Checking in the orders, processing and delivering them

Apart from retail drug stores, the professionals are also employed with nursing homes, hospitals, schools and other healthcare organisations. Additional duties may include delivering medications to patients, working closely with the nursing staff, maintaining assigned work areas and ensuring that the patients are given medications in the right amount. However, their exact job roles and responsibilities vary depending upon the employment, job title and area they work. 
Career Prospects
The pharmaceutical industry is rapidly growing with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Considering the decreasing life expectancy rate, environmental conditions, hectic lifestyle, demographic factors and aging baby booming generation, there is an increased demand for the healthcare professionals.
Additionally, increasing number of healthcare facilities and retail drug stores are opening doors to many career opportunities for pharmacy technicians. However, they need to have hands-on-experience with formal education of minimum two years to enter the industry. 
Despite a major shift in the industry, the employers are not ready to compromise on any aspect when it comes to hiring pharmacy professionals. They are keen on hiring people who 
  • Have undergone a formal education
  • Have hands-on-experience
  • Possess effective communication and interpersonal skills
  • Are able to handle busy/stressful situations
  • Are comfortable with working on a computer
  • Are enthusiastic, professionals and courteous
  • Are excellent team plays
  • Are ready to work flexible hours
  • Can maintain confidentiality of patient details and store business
  • Are well versed in industry standards, laws and legislation
  • Have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Possess knowledge about store operations, inventory management, accounting and pharmaceutical calculations

A post-secondary pharmacy technician course can prepare you to work in healthcare, particularly pharmaceutical industry. It provides you with in-depth knowledge and skills necessary to grab job opportunities and build rewarding career.

Many colleges in Canada offer post-secondary pharmacy technician programs. But not all are accredited. The pharmacy technician program at Centennial College is accredited by the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs. Besides, there is a hands-on practical laboratory experience along with the opportunities for work experience in community, hospital and corporate environments. 
The program typically runs for two years and covers a wide range of subjects including business ethics, pharmaceutical calculations, community practice theory, professional practice and drug programs, community pharmacy dispensing, home healthcare and non-prescription drugs, compounding, pharmacology, aseptic techniques, anatomy and physiology and pharmacy management. It combines classroom learning, hands-on-laboratory, and community practice and field placement. 

To enroll in this program, you will need:
  • Secondary school diploma or equivalent
  • English Grade 12 C or University or equivalent
  • Mathematics Grade 11 M or 12 C or University or equivalent
  • Science Grade 11 M or 12 C or University or equivalent in at least one subject (biology, chemistry, physics or exercise science)
  • Minimum 75 % scores in each required subject
  • Canadian English or French language proficiency

Additional requirements include:
  • Annual clear police check with vulnerable sector screening
  • Complete a recognised course in CPR
  • Complete a course in Standard First Aid
  • Completed pre-clearance health form from a physician
  • Undergo a mask fit testing provided by the college you’re applying with

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