Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists to help prepare and give out prescription medication. They take prescriptions over the phone and in person, work with health professionals and customers, help mix medicines, count pills, measure medication, label and give instructions for medicine, and help take payments.
A typical pharmacy technician job description is as follows
- Act as a patient advocate by ensuring that the patientʼs prescribed drug therapy is followed as prescribed
- Meet patientsʼ medical, social, and personal needs related to their pharmacy care plan
- Coordinate patientsʼ prescribed pharmacy care with their healthcare providers to ensure that drug therapy is successful
The pharmacy technicianʼs primary responsibilities
- Answer patient questions and troubleshoot/resolve them promptly.
- Understandthe various challenges of specific diseases.
- Assist patients with their drug therapy and pharmacy care issues.
- Processnew and refill prescriptions
- Promotepatientsʼ drug compliance.
- Report all drug adverse events.
- Establish and maintain good relationships with physician/healthcare practices.
- Assist in streamlining communication with the patient, insurance companies, pharmacist, nurses, lab and other healthcare-related parties.
- Accept the full responsibility for the patientʼs pharmacy care plan.
- Work as part of a team to provide support to other members of the healthcare team.
- Maintain current notes and paperwork related to the patientʼs drug therapy and pharmacy care plan
- Coordinate responses and resolutions with appropriate internal and external parties. Perform all tasks in a safe manner that is consistent with corporate policies as well as state and federal laws
While a formal education is not required to become a pharmacy tech in the state, you may want to complete a post-secondary program for a few reasons. It will give you some basic background knowledge to help you do the job better and be ready for training on the job. A good program will also make you more appealing to employers and give you an advantage over other candidates.
Here are some educational options in Oklahoma:
Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City. This program meets twice a week in the evenings for about two months and costs just $700. The cost includes three textbooks and 50 instructional hours. You must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll.
Tulsa Community College, Tulsa. In Tulsa, you can complete this program to earn a certificate in pharmacy technology. The coursework includes traditional classroom learning as well as hands-on technical training. This program admits high school students who are at least 18 years old and who have only three credits left to complete.
Meridian Technology Center, Stillwater. Both high school seniors and adults can enroll in this Stillwater program. It is more involved than other programs and includes 600 hours of instruction. Tuition is $1,800.
Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster offers an affordable online Pharmacy Technician training program.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual average salary for a pharmacy tech in the U.S. is $32,700. In Oklahoma, the average in 2018 was $30,790 per year and $14.81 per hour. The techs earning the most in the state made more than $41,990 that year.
Pay varies according to the work location, type of facility and size. For example, a pharmacy technician may make $7,000 more, annually, working for a larger hospital or acute care center.
Growth and Outlook
The demand for pharmacy technicians is high throughout the country. Across all states, the projection for growth in careers for this kind of position is 12 percent between 2016 and 2026. For Oklahoma, that growth is expected to be a little less but still strong at nearly eight percent.
There are pharmacies everywhere, although you will find more opportunities in denser population centers around Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman and Lawton. Look for jobs in grocery stores and drug stores, hospitals, nursing homes and other residential care facilities.