Pharmacy

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board offers a national certifying examination. Successful completion of this voluntary exam leads to the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). The Florida Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists and the Florida Pharmacy Association support mandatory certification of pharmacy technicians. Certified Pharmacy Technicians are required to participate in continuing education in order to maintain their certification.

Salary
The average hourly wage for pharmacy technicians is $13.69. Salaries vary greatly between retail pharmacies, hospitals, home health agencies, and mail order pharmacies.

Educational Programs
Diploma
Florida Memorial University
Fortis College
Henry W. Brewster Technical Center
Med Vance Institute
Pinellas Technical Education Center
Technical Career Institute
Technical Education Center Osceola

Certificate
D.A. Dorsey Educational Center
Florida Metropolitan University
Miami-Dade College
Pensacola Junior College
Westside Tech
William T. McFatter Technical Center
Winter Park Tech

Certificate/Diploma
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Miami Lakes Education Center
Sarasota County Technical Institute

Associate Degree
ATI Health Education Centers
National School of Technology
Rasmussen College

Professional Associations
American Association of Pharmacy Technicians
American Pharmacists Association
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists

Pharmacy technicians perform routine tasks under the supervision of licensed pharmacists to perform technical and clerical duties in the systematic operation of the pharmacy.

Their duties may include, but are not limited to: compounding (measure/weigh/mix) medicinal drugs; preparing and labeling medicines; filling bottles and vials with the correct quantity of medicine; issuing medicines to the customers; maintaining inventory; keeping patients' medication profiles on specified records, forms, or computerized systems; collecting, organizing, and evaluation information for direct patient care, medication review, and department management.

Pharmacy technicians must be aware of the necessity for aseptic technique, cleanliness, orderliness, and accuracy in the work areas. They also should be alert, observant, attentive to details, and able to follow written and oral instructions.

Pharmacy Technician

Areas of Specialization
These areas include, but are not limited to: prescription processing and filling, intravenous compounding, including TPN and Chemo, procurement and inventory management of medications and supplies, and drug utilization review.

Work Environment
Pharmacy technicians are employed in hospitals, home health care agencies, mail order pharmacies, retail pharmacies, pharmacies that supply medications for assisted care living and nursing home facilities, hospice pharmacies, HMO pharmacies, and nuclear pharmacies.

Job Outlook
The number of pharmacy technicians employed in Florida in 2006 was 19,524. It is projected that in 2014 there will be 25,074. This represents an annual average growth rate of 2.8 percent.

Length of Training/Requirements
Although high school graduates can receive on-the-job training to become pharmacy technicians, state and national trends indicate a need for graduation from a formal training program. The length of these programs ranges from six months to two years and results in a certificate, diploma, or associate degree. The program includes courses in pharmaceutical mathematic procedures (weights, measurements, and conversions), organizational structures in pharmacies, safe, ethical, and legal pharmacy practice, drug classifications, pharmaceutical nomenclature, drug strengths/dosages, warnings and side effects, pharmacy operation procedures, aseptic techniques, preparations of chemotherapeutic agents and total parenteral nutritions, computer literacy and keyboarding, and clinical practicums in both retail and hospital settings. The curriculum consists of three occupational completion components. The first component prepares graduates as basic healthcare worker (industry title). The second component prepares graduates as community pharmacy technicians to work in community-based retail pharmacies. The third component prepares graduates as pharmacy technicians to work in retail pharmacies, hospitals, home health agencies, mail order, and pharmaceutical companies. Students may elect to complete one of the three or all components, depending upon their career objectives.

Advancement
Most pharmacies have three different classifications of pharmacy technicians. The non-certified tech has least responsibility/experience and is the lowest paid in most cases. The certified tech has more responsibility/higher pay. Finally, a senior tech is certified, has more experience, more expertise, more responsibility and the highest pay of these three classifications.

Licensure/Certification
No state license is required at this time. However, the job-related activities of pharmacy technicians are regulated by the Florida Department of Health, Board of Pharmacy.



Updated: 2009