Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists as they fill prescriptions. Along with measuring and dispensing medication to patients, pharmacy technicians are responsible for inventory and may handle billing as well. The skills that a pharmacy technician will need include inventory control, general customer service and data entry.
Whether you want the freedom of working from home or a higher-paying career, you will be able to use your pharmacy technician skills in many new roles. Here are some of the best pharmacy technician career options.
1. Pharmacy Buyer
A pharmacy buyer is also known as a pharmacy purchasing agent or pharmacy purchaser. Your job will be to ensure that the right amount of inventory is purchased for your employer. To do this, you will need to manage orders for drugs and medical equipment from the wholesalers. The pharmacy buyer role will require skills that you use every day as a pharmacy technician. For example, you will learn which medications to purchase in high volumes which you only need to stock in small amounts. Other skills that you will need as a buyer include the ability to work as part of a team and to analyze data. You must be able to interact with staff and to use purchasing database systems.
2. Customer Service Representative
The focus of your job as a customer service representative will be to ensure that the customer has a positive experience. The customer service skills that are essential for work as a pharmacy technician will serve you in pretty much every other retail job. The inventory or services that your employer offers may be different from those of a pharmacy but the requirements of the job will be the same. In customer service positions, you will be required to interact with customers in person, on the phone and via email. Customer service representatives will need to be able to provide accurate and timely information while being polite and friendly. Employers may find the technical skills that you gained on the job as a pharmacy technician useful. Most customer service jobs will not require you to seek additional training.
3. Radiology Clerk
If you would like a change from working with pharmaceuticals, work in the radiology field might be a good option. As a radiology clerk, you will work in a healthcare facility’s radiology department. You will handle clerical duties specific to your department like recordkeeping and direct interaction with patients. A radiology clerk shares important skills with a pharmacy technician including an understanding of medical terms and being able to work with medical records. Your experience as a pharmacy technician will also help when communicating with insurance companies and entering records into your employer’s computer system. Soft skills like the ability to work well as a part of a team and an eye for detail will also be valuable.
4. Patient Care Technician
If you want to take your medical career to the next level in terms of being more hands-on with patients, a patient care technician job might be perfect for you. Patient care technicians support medical staff including nurses and doctors as they care for patients. The job involves roles from other healthcare fields like phlebotomy and respiratory care. Patient care technicians will observe patients and catalog their needs to ensure their comfort. In some facilities, a patient care technician may also take patient calls to answer questions and solve problems. As a patient care technician, you may be required to use pharmaceutical and pharmacological knowledge that you gained as a pharmacy technician as well as interpersonal skills. You will be required to take a short training course and be certified.
5. Medical Assistant
A medical assistant can have different responsibilities depending on the environment in which they work. Unlike pharmacy technicians who will usually work in pharmacies, a medical assistant will work in clinics and physicans’ practices. As a former pharmacy technician, you will have an advantage since you will have experience interacting directly with patients and communicating with medical professionals. You won’t have to be certified to become a medical assistant but you can benefit from a training course as this can open up new opportunities. Your experience as a pharmacy technician should be sufficient for many employers.
6. Pharmacy Intake Coordinator
Getting a prescription filled at a busy pharmacy can be a confusing process, especially for patients who may be ill and anxious or confused. When you take on the role of a pharmacy intake coordinator, you will be helping these individuals. Your job will involve ensuring patient eligibility, obtaining patient contact information and preparing patient paperwork. Your experience working in a pharmacy environment and coordinating with other medical professionals will be useful in this role.
7. Patient Services Coordinator
Your role as a patient services coordinator will require you to perform a wide range of duties that include greeting patients as they enter your employer’s offices and verifying their insurance information. You may also be in charge of collecting copayments. Patient services coordinators answer the phones and schedule appointments. Many of your skills as a pharmacy technician will be valuable in this job including proficiency with medical terminology and an ability to work in a customer service role.
8. Patient Advocate
When you take on the role of patient advocate, your job will be to help patients navigate healthcare settings to get the services they need. For example, a part of your job may involve helping patients to get essential medications. You may contact insurance companies to expedite solutions to billing issues and you may assist with identifying care problems. Knowledge of pharmaceuticals will be valuable here as well as interpersonal skills and an understanding of patients’ options as they relate to financial assistance. Depending on your employer’s needs, your qualifications and experience as a pharmacy technician may make you a preferred candidate for this job.
9. Pharmacy Delivery Driver
Do you enjoy driving and have a good driving record? The position of pharmacy delivery driver might be a great option for your second career. You will be responsible for delivering medications to pharmacy customers within the service area. Elements of your pharmacy technician role will be important for this job as well. You should be proficient with paperwork and have solid interpersonal skills since you will be interacting with customers when making your deliveries.
10. Medical Biller/Coder
Medical billers submit insurance claims to insurance companies and payers. Medical billing and coding is a great second career option for many people in the healthcare industry including pharmacy technicians. The position requires only a few months of training and many employers will view your pharmacy technician experience as an asset. Your experience will give you a headstart when it comes to understanding medical terms, which is an important requirement for being a medical biller/coder. The job will require you to review a patient’s bills, check eligibility and use billing software to transmit claims. Good data entry skills will be necessary and you should be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Medical billers can work from home and some even freelance, which means that the job can offer far more freedom than the typical pharmacy technician position.
11. Dental Assistant
Your job as a dental assistant depends on what your employer requires but it will usually involve some elements of patient care combined with administrative duties. You will be responsible for keeping patient records and for billing. You may also be required to prepare patients for procedures. How much dental work a dental assistant is allowed to perform varies from state to state. Your customer service experience along with your experience in the healthcare industry will make you a valuable addition to the staff in a typical dental office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there remote pharmacy tech jobs (i.e. from home)?
Absolutely. You can work as a remote pharmacy tech and while you won’t be performing in-person transactions, you will still be responsible for other aspects of the job such as taking calls from customers and providing answers to questions. You will also have to coordinate with medical facilities and physicians’ offices. There are other jobs like medical biller/coder that you can perform from home and that can make use of your skills and qualifications as a pharmacy technician.
Will you need to be licensed or certified for all of the alternative career paths listed above?
No. While certification can be useful, in many cases you will learn via on-the-job training. One example of this is the medical assistant position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Being qualified as a pharmacy technician can provide you with an avenue into a variety of alternative careers. The ones listed above are just some of the more common pharmacy technician career options. The healthcare field is sustainable and continually growing, which ensures that your skills will always be useful within it. They can get you employed elsewhere as well since customer service and data entry abilities are useful in so many other industries.