About being a pharmacy tech

by Rachel
(St. Louis)

I would like to be a pharmacy technician, but now that I'm reading the book I bought (Concise Review for the PTCB Exam) I realize I don't really know what a pharmacy tech does? I thought I'd need to know pharmacy laws, how to read prescriptions, and do some conversions, but there's A LOT of info in this book. I'm feeling really overwhelmed!

Can someone explain what a pharmacy tech does? Why, do I need to memorize 200 drug names, brand names and classifications? Why do I need to learn which drugs do what if I'm not the doctor prescribing it? I'm just putting it in a bottle and giving it to customers?

I hope someone will help me understand so I can decide if this is really what I want to do! Thanks so much!

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About being a pharmacy tech

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Jan 18, 2012
by: julie

I am a pharmacy tech in a major retail store and there is a lot of information I won't ever use that I needed to know to pass the PTCB test. I did however find learning the top 200 drugs very useful when answering questions of customers. To me, being a pharm tech is being an assistant to the pharmacist. It is a profession that is looked up to. I like the job because I have quite a few tasks to do on a daily basis, so I don't get bored most of the time. I hope this helps

Feb 10, 2012
On becoming a certified pharmacy technician
by: Camille

I am taking an online pharmacy technician course to prepare for certification. I researched the profession extensively before I decided to take the course since it is an investment of both time and money. I wanted to be sure it was what interested me before I made the investment. I want to work in a profession where you have responsibility, variety, help people and make a good, skilled wage. There is also room for improvement and upping your qualifications. I would read up on the duties required by googling the name "pharmacy technician", then decide if it would interest you. I am taking the online course with Allied Business Schools and am enjoying the learning process. They are good mentors. This pharmacy-tech-study.com site is also wonderful for support and camaraderie and it's free. I think what you are referring to is more like a pharmacy assistant who does basic pharmacy tasks at a lower level of expertise. Some retail pharmacies hire people who do not have to get certification within a year. It is my understanding they make considerably less money than someone certified. I looked up stats on the Dept of Labor website. So it's up to you how far you want to take the professional level for yourself and where your interest lye. I hope this helps you decide where to take your questions from here. You can also call Allied Schools (google them also) and they will have a rep talk to you. Good Luck.

Feb 12, 2012
about being a pharmacy tech
by: Jen

I'm a pharm tech in a retail store studying to get my national certification. I use lots of this info in my day to day work, and some of it I'll probably never use in my particular field. This test covers a large scope of what can be a very specialized position. I find knowing the top 200 drugs very helpful when a patient comes up to my window and says "I need my blood pressure pill filled but I cant remember the name of it..." I can look at their profile and usually find it without bothering the pharmacist on duty with which one is for blood pressure. A little motto our district manager told us is "techs do all they can do so the pharmacist can do what they can only do." so having a good understanding of this helps eliminate unneeded questions and interruptions.

Feb 14, 2012
by: ev

I'm a certified pharmacy tech at a hospital pharmacy. To me, learning side effects and brand names vs generic has been very helpful. Nurses come up to the window and ask for a medications and you don't have much time to look it up before showing it to the pharmacist for an "ok". Or, a Doctor calls you and ask do we have this medication in our formulary? so, learn as much as you can!!! it is very important!

Mar 20, 2012
by: Anonymous

The exam has pharmacy math on at least half of it. In real life, a hospital setting is where you will find this really useful to know. To fill an order for an IV you will need to know how much to reconstitute a vial with, and how much to inject into the IV bag. Knowing brand / generic and their classification is very handy. You can use that knowledge to notify the pharmacist if you notice a duplication of therapy such as a prescription for synthroid and levoxyl. Also, you might notice contra-indications such as beta blockers and asthmatics. You might see a presctiption for propanolol and a hfa-proair inhaler, then you would notify the pharmacist. You will not be just "putting pills in bottles." Knowing about these things are helpful in everyday life. I would recommend taking practice tests, and writing down the type of probable that you have trouble with, and then studying that material!! Good Luck!

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