While working in a pharmacy, you can start a career in the medical field.
There are different career choices in the pharmacy, which come with different roles.
Two positions in a pharmacy include a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician.
To know which one is a better fit for you or a better start in the field, you need to understand the difference between the two positions.
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Career Level and Pay
The careers of a pharmacist and a pharmacy tech are at different levels.
Pharmacists need extensive training, while pharmacy techs only need a high school diploma and, in some states, a certification.
Pharmacists supervise pharmacy techs and aides.
With more extensive training and a higher level of responsibility, pharmacists make a higher income than a pharmacy tech.
The median salary for a pharmacist, as of 2018, was $126,120, in a range from $87,790 to $161,250.
Pharmacy techs made a median salary of $32,700, in a range from $22,740 to $48,010.
Pharmacists need a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) after taking two to four years of undergraduate study.
The duration depends on the program.
The degree for a Doctor of Pharmacy typically takes four years.
Upon the completion of the program, you need to pass two exams for licensure and pass the internship, a.k.a. a pharmacist in training.
Some specializations require additional qualifications.
The level of responsibility of a pharmacy tech and a pharmacist is not the same.
However, both handle prescription medications and share some common duties.
The pharmacist is a medical professional trained to understand the way how medications work.
Pharmacists check prescriptions to confirm the amounts and determine if medications can or can’t interact with each other or the health condition in a person’s record.
Then, they fill the prescription, which sometimes involves mixing ingredients for custom medications (compounding).
Pharmacists can also administer flu shots and other vaccines.
While handling medications, technicians can prepare, some prescriptions.
They also pack and label them.
They can organize supplies and medications, informing pharmacists if the inventory is low.
Administrative and Customer Service Duties
The role of the pharmacist also includes supervising pharmacy technicians and aides and guiding pharmacists in training.
Besides, they have some administrative duties, such as keeping records of filling out insurance forms.
Techs are also responsible for some administrative tasks, such as processing insurance claims and entering data into a computer.
Both professionals provide customer service but in different ways.
Techs can’t answer customers’ questions about medications directly and have to refer them to the pharmacist.
Pharmacists can answer them and communicate medication instructions and possible side effects to customers.
Pharmacists can give health advice concerning medical equipment or lifestyle changes.
Pharmacy technicians help customers by answering phone calls, collecting prescription information, accepting payments, and setting up the communication between the pharmacist and customers.
Both professionals have other tasks, which depend on the workplace.
Both pharmacists and pharmacy techs work in pharmacies and help people get the necessary medications.
They work as a team to perform their tasks.
However, both roles have specific duties, which differ from each other.
When making a career choice, consider which role you would be a better fit for and take into account the daily duties, required training, and salary.
Read the full guide: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician