The Pharmacy Technology program prepares individuals to become pharmacy technicians. These allied health professionals assist and support licensed pharmacists in providing medications and other health care products to patients.
Students will obtain the knowledge and develop the skills needed to perform pharmacy-related
functions and services under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
Students will gain clinical experience in a variety of pharmacy and health care settings.
Students will be prepared to complete the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (CPhT) administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Pharmacy technicians are in high demand in health care and in the pharmaceutical industry. According to the US Department of Labor, job opportunities are expected to be good for full-time and part-time work, especially for those with formal training and certification.
Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014 due to increased needs for pharmaceutical care services and products. With a larger and older population, advances in science, and increases in medication availability and usage, the demand for pharmacy technicians in all practice settings will increase and their role will be expanded. As health care becomes more technically complex, the need for educated, skilled and competent support personnel will become more important.
Federal and state laws and regulations affect the maximum use of uncertified technicians and the requirements for certification. More states and employers are requiring certification as reliance on pharmacy technicians grows in order to increase the quality of the services provided and to decrease medication errors.
Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of pharmacy settings.
- Acute care hospitals
- Medical centers
- Outpatient clinics
- Managed care facilities
- Pharmacy services for health care groups
- Nuclear medicine pharmacies
- Long term care facilities
- Home health care agencies
- Home infusion agencies
- Chain and independent retail pharmacies
- Grocery store pharmacies
- Mail order pharmacies
- Pharmaceutical wholesale companies
- Research laboratories
- Pharmaceutical manufacturers
Role of the Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy-related tasks that a pharmacy technician can perform under the direction of a licensed pharmacist include:
- Receive and screen prescription medication orders for completeness and accuracy
- Receive prescriptions sent electronically from doctor's office
- Review and interpret medication orders
- Process and transcribe medication orders written by prescribers
- Calculate dose and quantity to dispense
- Prepare medication labels, select appropriate prescription container, and affix prescription and auxiliary labels
- Measure, label and package prescriptions
- Utilize equipment such as electronic tablet counters, computerized label printers, compounding equipment and robotic equipment
- Use computers to perform pharmacy functions
- Use pharmaceutical and medical terminology, abbreviations and symbols appropriately
- Compound oral, topical, and parenteral prescriptions
- Establish and maintain patient pharmacy and medical profiles
- Replenish medications for hospital nursing units, emergency kits, and cardiac arrest carts
- Prepare intravenous mixtures for antibiotic therapy, chemotherapy, and total parenteral nutrition (TPN)
- Use aseptic technique in laminar and vertical flow hoods to compound sterile products, including cytotoxic chemotherapy
- Assure pharmacist checks prescription before medication is delivered
- Use drug distribution systems
- Deliver medications to patient care areas
- Filling patient cassettes and automated dispensing equipment
- Complete required documentation and file prescriptions
- Generate appropriate records related to dispensing and distribution
- Prepare insurance claims and reconcile insurance billings
- Purchase, receive, and store pharmaceuticals, devices, and supplies
- Prepare invoices and maintain drug information files
- Monitor expiration dates and control medication, equipment, and device inventory
- Maintain pharmacy equipment used in preparation, storage, and distribution of drug products
- Assist pharmacist in monitoring compliance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and professional standards
- Assist pharmacist in preparing, storing, and distributing investigational drug products and radiopharmaceuticals
- Assist pharmacist in monitoring drug therapy
- Assist pharmacist in identifying patients who desire counseling on use of medications, equipment, and devices
- Maintain confidentiality of patient information
- Understand use and side effects of prescription and nonprescription drugs used to treat common disease states
- Package drugs for automated dispensing per dose, per patient, and per administration period
- Utilize automation and robots to process prescriptions in hospitals for point of care dispensing, centralized dispensing, and controlled substance dispensing and tracking, and in retail pharmacies
Dr. Greg Garris
Program Director, Pharmacy Technology