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Pharmaceutical industry

With the pharmaceutical industry booming, the role of the pharmacy technician has become an essential part of the healthcare setting. Job opportunities for the technician are predicted to be excellent, especially for those who are nationally certified or have past work experience.

The primary task of the pharmacy technician is to assist the licensed pharmacist in dispensing medication and other medical products to patients. Dynamic communication skills are a plus for the pharmacy technician, as they are expected to constantly interact with others on a daily basis. Technicians carry out other common duties such as, counting pills and weighing, pouring and mixing medicine. They also prepare prescription labels and keep patient profiles and insurance forms in proper order.

A majority of pharmacy technicians receive on-the-job training, however, employers do prefer those who have received education and certification. Pharmacy technician education programs require classroom and lab work in numerous fields. A few of these include: medical and pharmaceutical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy techniques and pharmacy law. Another prerequisite for graduation is for technicians to learn medication brand names and generic names, doses and uses.

Most states are now requiring that technicians become nationally certified. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (www.ptcb.org) gives the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination numerous times during the year at various sites nationwide. Those who successfully pass the exam will be designated Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Once certified, technicians must recertify every 2 years by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

Due to the increased use of medication, and the demands of a larger and older population, employment of the pharmacy technician is anticipated to develop more rapidly than normal by the year 2012. Top job opportunities are expected for both full and part-time work, with an increase in salary. Technician responsibility will also continue to grow as the pharmaceutical and health industries in general expand worldwide.