Pharmacy Technicians professionals in Connecticut are on a roll. They are an integral part of the buoyant healthcare industry, and are witnessing a surge in employment opportunities. Also, as pharmacies are omnipresent and spread across both urban and rural areas, it becomes possible to find a job closer to home. Average salaries are upwards of $30,000 per annum and the profession is expected to require 20% more technicians every year for the next decade. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Govt.)
Pharmacy technicians work under the direction of licensed pharmacists and assist them in dispensing drugs as well as carrying out related activities. Majority of the jobs are with pharmacies and drug stores. Moreover, jobs can also be available at hospitals, grocery stores and ambulatory healthcare services.
Some important duties include:-
- Managing inventory of medications, drugs and supplies at the store
- Labeling and organizing the inventory items for error-free and easy access
- Handle clients on-phone and in-person, answer questions, and help them with their requirements
- Measuring, mixing, preparing, labeling and storing medications wherever applicable; including intravenous medicines in case of hospitals and clinics
- Dispensing medication under supervision
- Collecting payments and processing insurance claims wherever necessary
- In hospitals, taking rounds and administering prescribed medicines as scheduled
The work is usually centered in a single location and does not require strenuous physical activity. This makes the profession attractive to both genders and job-seekers of all ages and backgrounds.
Many pharmacies are open 24×7, and so the work may require rotational shifts, as well as working on weekends and public holidays (based on the employers’ requirements).
The entry barrier is fairly low, making this attractive profession accessible to a large number of Americans. A high school diploma or GED is the minimum requirement to enter the profession in most states including CT. Beyond this, on-the-job learning can do the needful.
With an increase in regulation, elaborate laws, and insurance processing requirements in the healthcare industry, an increasing number of employers prefer trained persons who have attended a structured training program in a classroom setting where they have acquired the professional skills, ethics and understanding of relevant laws. Pre-employment background and criminal checks may also be conducted. This reduces employers’ risk and makes it possible for the employee to work independently right after induction.
Licensing and certification is not mandatory for pharmacy technicians to work in Connecticut. It is recommended that certification may be obtained at some stage of employment, as it increases chances of promotion, better work opportunities, and rise in salary. Some employers such as large hospitals or government health centers may mandate certification. Certification can be obtained from either of these two agencies – (1) Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or (2) National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Both agencies have their respective eligibility and re-certification criteria that must be adhered to.
A pharmacy technician needs various skills to carry out the regular duties. Some of the important skills required include:-
- Customer oriented approach, as the majority of the work requires handling customers and fulfilling their requirements. Some of them may be anxious or shy while asking for their medication as it discloses their illness, and such cases should be handled with warmth and friendliness.
- Diligent, as the work does not allow for errors or mistakes to occur in filling prescriptions, storing, labeling or dispensing medication.
- Good arithmetic, as the work requires counting, mixing, making packets, and also handling cash and insurance claims.
- Clerical skills, to manage the paperwork and communication with government agencies, clinics, hospitals and insurance companies