The Difference Between Pharmacy Assistant and Pharmacy Technician

The job of a pharmacist is a busy one. In a large pharmacy, they must fill prescriptions, handle the purchasing process, and tend to a range of other tasks. Pharmacy assistants and pharmacy technicians play important roles in helping manage day-to-day operations. If you’re willing and able to pursue additional education and certification, pharmacy technician schools in NYC can prepare you for the responsibilities a technician job requires.

These two titles differ in terms of job duties and salaries. Here is a look at what each one entails, to help you decide what pharmacy school in NYC to attend or what program to choose.

Pharmacy Assistant

As a pharmacy assistant, you typically take on a more junior role. Often referred to as pharmacy clerks or aides, assistants often handle administrative tasks. This is a job you can get right out of high school. Pharmacists are often willing to provide on-the-job training, or employees with seniority might serve as guides as you learn.

Your experience in an entry-level job may go toward future endeavors at pharmacy technician schools NYC students pursue their credentials at. As an assistant, the duties you may perform include:

  • Greeting customers
  • Answering phones
  • Accepting payments
  • Stocking shelves
  • Typing medical labels
  • Helping find over-the-counter medications
  • Managing patient files
  • Placing supply/equipment/pharmaceutical orders
  • Tracking inventory
  • Arranging/packaging shipments
  • Arranging meetings between customers and pharmacists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the salary for a pharmacy assistant ranging from $16,810 to $32,790 per year in 2011. Assistants in outpatient care centers earned the highest wages, particularly in populated areas of California, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Pharmacy Technician

The pharmacy technician certification NYC training leads to prepares you for a more involved role. At this level, you may have clerical duties, but be more involved in filling prescriptions. That means you’ll:

  • Verify customer information on prescription forms
  • Enter data into a computerized database
  • Prepare medications for patients
  • Package and label patients’ medicine

All the while, you’ll be under the supervision of a pharmacist. The skills you learn are developed at a pharmacy school NYC students learning the ropes attend, but some on-the-job training may be provided. Formal training is required, depending on what state you live in, and may be found at a community college or vocational school. Additional duties on the job may include:

  • Accepting customer payments
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Answering phone calls
  • Maintaining inventory
  • Measuring doses per prescriptions
  • Alerting pharmacists of short inventory
  • Consulting with pharmacists on drug reactions and interactions
  • Authorizing refills with physicians
  • Operating automatic drug dispensing equipment

Depending on the program, it can take six months to two years to be qualified to be a pharmacy technician, but pharmacy technician programs NYC prospects have available differ. For example, ABC Training Center offers a program that spans four weeks (on a weekday schedule), or eight weeks (on a weeknight schedule). These options enable you to pursue an education despite having work, family, and other commitments.

The median salary for pharmacy technicians in 2016 was $30,920, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but earnings ranged from $25,170 to $37,780. Government employed technicians may earn even more, while those working in health and personal care stores generally earn salaries on the lower end of the scale.

Pharmacy Technician Training in NYC from ABC Training Center

To work as a pharmacy technician, you don’t need the credentials of a doctor or even a licensed pharmacist. However, specialized training is required in this competitive field. If you want to work toward becoming a pharmacy technician, NYC is the place to be, as ABC Training Center offers a course that leads up to a national certification exam. Register online today or call us at (718) 364-6700.