Pharmacy is a broad field. If you are in this field, you have a wide range of career options available. Which career option you should choose is totally based on your skills, qualifications, and knowledge. With the continuous growth in the healthcare industry, there are many new job positions available.
People often think that entering into the pharmacy field means you have to mess with needles and blood, but it isn’t a complete truth. With the increase in the healthcare sector, there are career options in the pharmacy field in which you do not have to mess with blood and needles. If you are one of those who wants to stay away from such stuff, then you should become a pharmacist assistant or pharmacist technician. Now, let’s take a look at who is a pharmacist assistant and who is a pharmacy technician.
What is a Pharmacy Assistant?
For many people, entering in the pharmacy field is a dream. But, due to their low qualifications and less career training, they think it is not possible for them to enter into this field. In reality, it is possible to enter the pharmacy field without the need for any additional career training.
Pharmacy assistants are referred to as pharmacy aides. Pharmacy assistant is the job position in which you can land an entry-level job without the need for any additional career training, just with a high school diploma. After achieving the entry-level job position as a pharmacist assistant, you would be able to learn from the pharmacists and other experienced co-workers.
Pharmacy assistants work closely with pharmacy technicians. By working with pharmacy technicians, they refer to questions related to prescriptions, drug information, health matters, etc. to a pharmacist.
The best thing about becoming a pharmacist assistant is that it does not require a high-level degree or formal education. You can become a pharmacist assistant with a little formal education. However, to become a pharmacist assistant, you need to have the required skills and knowledge. The work of a pharmacist assistant is to perform different administrative duties and work directly with customers needs to meet their prescription needs.
Apart from this, pharmacist assistants can also be involved in manufacturing medicines when ready-made preparations aren’t available. As a pharmacist assistant, you will also have to work as a part of healthcare teams in hospitals or community pharmacies. Now, let’s talk about what the skills are required to be a pharmacist assistant.
Here are some skills and personal characteristics you will need to have to become a pharmacist assistant:
- Paying attention to detail
- Accurate and methodological
- He/She must be able to understand law & guidelines on medicines
- Must be interested in people’s health
- He/She must be able to explain clearly to members of the public
What is the work of a pharmacist assistant?
Here’s everything you need to know about the work of a pharmacist assistant:
- Taking in & handling prescriptions
- Ordering items
- Dispensing prescriptions
- Generating stock lists and labels
- Receiving, loading, and unloading deliveries
- Delivering medicines to other parts of a hospital
- Selling over-the-counter medicines
- Answering customers’ queries
- Preparing medicines
- Referring problems or queries to the pharmacist
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
The duties of pharmacy technicians are very similar to the pharmacy assistant. The major difference is pharmacy technicians have a few added responsibilities and powers than the pharmacy assistant. If you want to become a pharmacy technician, you would be responsible for handling all the aspects of the prescription fulfillment process and assisting the pharmacist with the day-to-day operations.
Pharmacy assistants do not have signing authority on new and refill prescriptions, while pharmacy technicians have signing authority on new and refill prescriptions. A pharmacy technician is also responsible for the technical aspects of the prescription. He/She is allowed to independently receive the prescription, prepare the drug, and to the final check.
Before the pharmacy technician handles the medication to the patients, the pharmacist makes sure that whether it is appropriate or not. The pharmacist also provides proper counseling on how to use the prescribed medication.
If you want to become a certified pharmacy technician, there is a step by step procedure you need to follow. Depending on where you are joining as a technician, you may need to become certified in order to land a technician job position. You will note that some states require pharmacy technicians to become certified. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that most employers of the states that don’t require pharmacy technicians to be certified they also hire those technicians who are certified.
To become a pharmacy technician, you need to have some set of skills. Here are the skills required:
- Able to read, write, and speak English fluently
- Time management
- Accurate data entry skills
- Attention to detail
- Dedication to excellence and quality
- Strong people skills
- Be a team player
What is the work of a pharmacist technician?
Here’s everything you need to know about the work of a pharmacist technician:
- Preparation of medications for patients
- Obtaining pharmacist’s approval
- Receiving and verifying the prescriptions
- Stocking and pricing the medications in the inventory
- Completing patient paperwork
- Maintaining the pharmacy’s safety
What are the Pros & Cons?
To understand whether you should choose a pharmacist assistant job position or the pharmacist technician job position, it is essential to understand the different pros and cons of both the job positions.
Pharmacy Assistant: Pros
Here are some major pros of pharmacy assistant job position:
1. Quick Training
The best thing about getting into the pharmacy assistant job position is there will be really quick training. So, if you are looking for a good & quick path in the pharmacy field, becoming a pharmacy assistant is a good idea.
2. Job Satisfaction
The job role of a pharmacy assistant is really rewarding. By becoming a pharmacist assistant, you will be creating a positive impact on other’s lives.
3. Unmatched Variety
The role of the pharmacy assistant involves handling multiple responsibilities, dealing with clients and stakeholders. This job position allows you to be in a meaningful job and provides satisfaction with unmatched variety.
Pharmacy Assistant: Cons
Here are cons of pharmacy assistant job position:
1. Being on the move
As a pharmacist assistant, you will be expected to be always busy and on the move. You will have so many duties and responsibilities. And, you will need to always keep an eye on various activities.
Pharmacy Technician: Pros
Here are some major pros of pharmacy technician job position:
1. Flexible job openings
Pharmacy technicians have wide opportunities in different sectors. They can work in hospitals, retail pharmacies, grocery stores, nursing homes, mail-order pharmacies, etc.
2. Social interaction
As a pharmacy technician, you are going to work with pharmacy aides, pharmacists, doctors, and nurses. And being a pharmacy technician, you will get in touch with patients from different lifestyles and backgrounds, which will help to improve your social interaction.
3. Salary and Benefits
In some cases, becoming a pharmacy technician does not require prior experience. And, getting proper training and certification, you get a good raise in your salary.
Pharmacy Technician: Cons
Here are cons of pharmacist technician job position:
A pharmacy technician can be a lucrative career option, but sometimes it can be really stressful. As a pharmacist technician, you must have proper knowledge about what medication you are prescribing. A minor error in the process may lead to a big worry for the patient.
Salary of Pharmacy Assistant vs Pharmacy Technician
Salary is one of the major factors for any job position. Whether you choose to become a pharmacy assistant or a pharmacy technician, salary & benefits of the job position is something that you consider very carefully.
Basically, the salary of a pharmacist technician is higher than the salary of a pharmacy assistant. Though the tasks in both the job positions are very similar, salary criteria are different because pharmacist technicians have more authority and power as compared to assistants.
The median salary of a pharmacy assistant was $26,120 in the year 2017. On the other hand, the median salary of a pharmacy technician was $31,750 in the year 2017. If we talk about the lowest 10 percent of the pharmacy assistant job position, it is $19,040, while the lowest 10 percent of the pharmacy technician is under $22,000.
And, when it comes to the highest 10 percent of the pharmacy assistant, it is above $44,550. The highest 10 percent of pharmacy technicians make more than $46,980. As salary is one of the most crucial factors, you to consider it carefully before getting into any job position.
Pharmacy Assistant Qualifications
If you are one of those people who want to get into the pharmacy field but don’t have formal education or the Doctor of Pharmacy degree, then you should consider getting into the pharmacy job position that does not require a high level of formal education.
Pharmacist Assistant is the job position that requires very little formal education. To become a pharmacist assistant, you don’t have to go through pharmacy formal education.
If we talk about the qualifications required to become a pharmacy assistant, it is a High School Diploma. With just a High School Diploma degree and on-the-job training, you can easily become a pharmacist assistant.
Though there are no requirements for any other courses to get to this position, it is advisable to complete a postsecondary certificate program. You can also pursue courses in maths, study anatomy & physiology, complete internships, and gain experience. Doing all these can provide a great boost to your pharmacy assistant career.
Pharmacy Technician Qualifications
After the pharmacy assistant, the pharmacy technician is another popular job position out there in the market. Though the duties of pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians are very similar, the thing you need to keep in mind is that pharmacy technicians get more pay as compared to assistants.
The pharmacy technician is the job position that requires a High School Diploma. If you have completed your High School Diploma, you are eligible to become a technician. However, having a degree is not enough; you need to have the required skills for it.
To become a pharmacist technician, you can complete a postsecondary education program, though it is optional (but can be beneficial). To get the position and start working, you need to complete the on-the-job training for the technician job position. Depending upon the state laws, you may gain on-the-job training without enrolling in a postsecondary education program.
Depending upon your state laws, you may require certification. Even though certification is not required in all the states, but the majority of employers prefer hiring pharmacy technicians who are certified. Hence, to become a technician, you should get certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). And, pharmacy technicians need to pass the recertification exam every two years.
Differences Between Pharmacy Assistant & Pharmacy Technician?
Are you confused about whether you should go with the pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician career option? If yes, here we have explained the major differences between pharmacy assistant & pharmacy technician job position. Let’s understand the major differences with the consideration of different factors:
1. Education Requirements
Let’s start by understanding the education requirements to become a pharmacy assistant and pharmacy technician. If we talk about formal education, both the job positions have the same set of criteria. Neither the pharmacy assistant nor pharmacy technician requires you to have high-level formal education in most of the states.
Pharmacy assistants don’t require any type of licensing or certification, while pharmacy technicians do require to be certified in some states. To be a certified technician, you need to take an exam by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
2. Job Description
Some duties of the pharmacy technician and the pharmacy assistant are very similar. But, if we talk about the responsibilities of both of them, technicians have more duties & responsibilities as compared to assistants. In most of the pharmacies, you will find that pharmacists and technicians supervise the assistants.
Normally, the duties of pharmacy assistants include handling the administrative side of the pharmacy, counting of medication/labeling bottles, stocking the pharmacy shelves, running the cash register, answering phone calls, etc. The duties of pharmacy technicians include preparing prescriptions, reviewing prescription information, measuring medications, labeling bottles, providing medications to customers, etc.
3. Job Growth
Pharmacy is a broad field. No matter whether we talk about pharmacy assistants or the pharmacy technicians, the job growth in both positions is really good. The reason why both of them have great scope is that the demand for pharmacy services is increasing day by day. The pharmacy technician is estimated with a 12% growth from 2016 to 2026.
Another major difference you will see between the assistant and technician job position is their salary criteria. Whether you choose to become a pharmacy assistant or a pharmacy technician, salary & benefits of the job position is something that you consider very carefully.
The median salary of a pharmacy assistant was $26,120 in the year 2017. On the other hand, the median salary of a pharmacy technician was $31,750 in the year 2017. If we talk about the lowest 10 percent of the pharmacy assistant job position, it is $19,040, while the lowest 10 percent of the pharmacy technician is under $22,000. And, when it comes to the highest 10 percent of the pharmacy assistant, it is above $44,550. The highest 10 percent of pharmacy technicians make more than $46,980. As salary is one of the most crucial factors, you to consider it carefully before getting into any job position.
5. Regular Tasks
Both pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians have a bit of different salary, job descriptions, and education requirements; their regular tasks are also different. Talking about regular tasks in the pharmacy assistant job position, it includes monitoring inventory, providing customer service, greeting customers, data entry, stocking & organizing inventory, etc. The regular tasks in the pharmacy technician job position include reviewing prescriptions, answering patient questions, package drugs & supplies, inventory monitoring, preparing medications, etc.
These are the major differences between the pharmacist assistant & pharmacist technician job position.
If you are confused about whether you should get into a pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician job position, you should understand their major differences. The duties of pharmacy technicians are very similar to the pharmacy assistant. The major difference is pharmacy technicians have a few added responsibilities and powers than the pharmacy assistant.
To become an assistant or technician, you will need very little formal education. Depending upon the state and pharmacy you are applying to, the certification & specialization requirements, and salary criteria may differ. Here we have explained the major differences you need to know about the pharmacy assistant & pharmacy technician.