What Do Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Aides Do?
Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, assisting them in providing medication to patients. Their duties may include ordering, stocking, preparing, and packaging medications. Pharmacy technicians receive written or electronic prescriptions or refill requests and they field phone calls from physicians or patients about prescriptions. They verify the accuracy of information on the prescription and may prepare the medication by counting or measuring or mixing the drug. They also prepare prescription containers and labels.
The responsibilities of pharmacy technicians as well as the number of pharmacy technicians that a pharmacist can supervise vary by state. In New York, pharmacy technicians can assist pharmacists in filling prescriptions and a pharmacist can supervise up to two pharmacy technicians.
Pharmacy aides perform administrative duties in pharmacies. Pharmacy aides work closely with pharmacy technicians. Aides are often clerks or cashiers who primarily answer telephones, handle money, stock shelves, and perform other clerical and administrative duties. Pharmacy aides may also assist pharmacy technicians with maintaining patient records, processing insurance claim forms, and taking inventory of prescription and over-the-counter medications.
In general, pharmacy technicians perform higher level and more complicated tasks than pharmacy aides, although their roles frequently overlap and definitions for each may vary by state.
For more information about pharmacy technicians, go to: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm.
Where Do Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Aides Work?
The majority of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides work in retail pharmacies, including chain and independent drug stores, and pharmacy departments within hospitals, grocery stores, department stores, and retail stores. A small number of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides work at mail-order or online pharmacies, clinics, and pharmaceutical wholesalers.
What Do Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacy Aides Earn?
According to the 2018 BLS, the average salary for full time pharmacy technicians nationwide was $34,020, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that pharmacy technicians in New York also earned an average annual salary of $34,020, (entry level-$24,030, experienced- $39,010).
According to the 2018 BLS, the average salary for full time, pharmacy aides nationwide was $29,190, varying by specialty and geographic region. Average annual salary also varies greatly across New York State, depending on location. The NYSDOL reports that pharmacy aides in New York earned an average annual salary of $30,590, (entry level-$22,410, experienced- $34,670).
Supply and Demand
Between 2014 and 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of pharmacy technician jobs in New York will increase by 12.7%. Nationwide, the BLS projects an increase in pharmacy technician jobs by 9.3% faster than the average for all occupations during the same time period.
In addition, the BLS projects that between 2014 and 2024, the number of pharmacy aide jobs in New York will increase by 7.6%, and projects the number of pharmacy aide jobs will increase nationwide by 0.3%.
Increased demand for pharmacy technicians is attributed to their role in filling prescriptions. The growing number of older adults — who use more prescription drugs than younger people — will spur demand for pharmacy technicians. In addition, as scientific advances bring treatments for an increasing number of conditions, more pharmacy technicians will be needed to fill a growing number of prescriptions. Pharmacy aide positions may increase along with pharmacy technician positions as aides do the many administrative tasks in a busy pharmacy, such as answering phones, stocking shelves, and collecting payments for prescriptions.
For more information on projections of pharmacy technicians by New York State labor regions click here.
New York Education and Licensure Requirements
Individuals interested in a career as a pharmacy technician or a pharmacy aide should have a high school diploma.
Most pharmacy technicians are trained on the job, but employers favor applicants who have formal training, certification, or previous experience. Strong customer service skills also are important. Some pharmacy technicians attend postsecondary education programs offered at many community colleges and vocational schools and earn certificates. These education programs typically last one year or less and cover a variety of subjects, such as arithmetic used in pharmacies, recordkeeping, ways of dispensing medications, pharmacy law, and ethics. Pharmacy technicians may also learn the names, actions, uses, and doses of medications. Some pharmacy technicians may become supervisors, may move into specialty positions or into sales, or may study to become pharmacists.
Prospective pharmacy technicians with experience working as an aide in a community pharmacy or volunteering in a hospital may have an advantage. Employers also prefer applicants with experience managing inventories, counting tablets, measuring dosages, and using computers. In addition, a background in chemistry, English, and health education may be beneficial.
While pharmacy technicians in over half of the states are registered, licensed, or certified, there are no such requirements in New York. The New York State Office of Professions is considering a plan to regulate pharmacy technicians.
Most pharmacy aides are trained on the job. Employers prefer applicants with previous experience and strong customer service skills. Prospective pharmacy aides with experience working as cashiers may have an advantage when applying for jobs. Employers also prefer applicants with experience managing inventories and using computers.
Pharmacy aides begin their training by observing a more experienced worker. Pharmacy aides need spelling, reading, and mathematics skills. Successful pharmacy aides are organized, dedicated, friendly, and responsible.
Education Programs in New York (subject to change)
|New York Institute of Medical Careers
67-09 Woodside Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
45 W 34th St.
New York, NY 10001
|New York Medical Career Training Center
36-09 Main Street 5th Floor
Flushing NY 11354
500 8th Ave, 5th floor
New York, NY 10018
|Franklin Career Institute
5323 Fifth Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220
|New York City College of Technology
City Tech Continuing Studies Center
25 Chapel St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201(718) 552-1170
|Onandaga Cortland Madison BOCES
110 Elwood Davis Rd.
Liverpool, NY 13088
|Alliance Computing Solutions
36-60 Main St.
Flushing, NY 11354