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Technicians on the Rise in Retail Pharmacies

August 11, 2009 | Alberta

As pharmacists are taking an increasingly active role in the drug therapies and counseling of their patients, a large portion of their practical duties are being performed by pharmacy technicians.

The occupational group that Pharmacy Technicians belong to is expected to grow by 2.2 to 3.2 per cent by 2011. This growth will result from a combination of new positions as well as employee turnover, which is expected to increase over the next five to ten years as the “Baby Boom” generation retires.

Pharmacy technicians must be well-trained. They need to have a basic understanding of human anatomy, physiology and the effects that various pharmaceuticals have on the body. They must also have a broad knowledge base about prescription medications including generic and brand name pharmaceuticals, drug classification, administration, common dosages and side effects. In addition, pharmacy techs must be familiar with pharmacy laws and regulations.

CDI College offers a 49-week Pharmacy Technician diploma program to train students for successful careers in a growing health care field.

Under the supervision and direction of a pharmacist, pharmacy technicians carry out a wide range of tasks, including preparing medication for dispensing, compounding and pre-packing pharmaceuticals as well as preparation of aseptic products and drug distribution. They may also be responsible for maintenance of patient records, inventory control and third-party billing.

Most pharmacy technicians are employed by retail pharmacies where they may be required to perform customer service duties, handle inquiries over the telephone and assist patients with non-prescription related concerns. However, hospitals and medical centre pharmacies also employ technicians. Some even find employment with health insurance companies, third-party billing centers, pharmaceutical companies, drug wholesalers and pharmacy supply companies.

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