What’s the difference between a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician? If you’re a customer, both jobs may look pretty much the same. Both people work behind the counter. Both handle and dispense prescription drugs. Both often provide instructions, answer questions and may even work the cash register.
There are many differences between the two professions. Big differences. Here are some of the most important ones:
Pharmacy technicians can usually complete their training in about a year. Pharmacists must usually invest at least six years in a college education.
Pharmacy technicians need to know the routine, day-to-day particulars of their job. This usually includes taking orders, filling prescriptions, preparing labels, etc. They also should have some knowledge of how the most popular prescription drugs work and interact. In addition to this practical knowledge, Pharmacists study biology, chemistry and biochemistry, among other advanced subjects.
A pharmacy technician’s typical day can include accepting prescriptions, talking with doctors’ offices, filling orders, preparing labels, and dispensing prescription drugs. They may also stock shelves, pay bills, process payments and perform other administrative duties. Pharmacists check completed orders to make sure they are correct, prepare any customized medications, and advise patients on a drug’s proper use. They may also advise physicians on the proper medications to treat a patient’s condition and issue warnings when they foresee the danger of possible drug interactions.
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for the quality of the work they perform. Pharmacists, on the other hand, are responsible for the quality of their technicians’ work as well as for the overall professionalism of their pharmacy’s operations.