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Pharmacy Technician

Job title:
Pharmacy Technician

Job description
* Assist the pharmacist in the preparation and dispensing of medicines and in the running of the dispensary; customer service
* Provide advice to customers on common health problems and suitable treatment
* Provide sales advice on non-medicinal products; administration and stock management;
* Maintain up-to-date knowledge of current best practice and participate in appropriate training on a regular basis.

NCEA Level 2 Maths and English. Science is desirable but not essential. 
" Excellent communication and mathematical skills
" Attention to detail. 
Required to achieve the National Certificate in Pharmacy (Technician) Level 5.

Training costs
To achieve the National Certificate in Pharmacy (Technician) Level 5: training is on the job through The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand. Trainees complete a series of modules leading to the National Certificate.
The cost is approximately $2200.

Full-time training can be done through one of three training providers - Academy Group (NZ) in Auckland and Christchurch; Auckland University of Technology, North Shore or Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, Tauranga.
The course includes work experience and the cost varies between $2700 and $6000.

Location of job
Mostly within a dispensary located either in a community or hospital pharmacy. 

Career path
Pharmacy technicians work in both community and hospital pharmacies. The roles vary considerably with progression possible down a number of routes in both areas. 

Community technicians - dispense medicines; carry out medico packaging; deliver medico packs to patients homes and local rest homes and advise on use and how to take medicines; manage the dispensary; assist the pharmacist with screening tests for blood glucose and blood pressure, and other in-pharmacy patient services. 

Hospital technicians - dispense medicines for both hospital in-patients and out-patients, prepare cancer treating medication and nutritional solutions; participate in clinical trials; manage and order pharmacy stock, keep ward medicine cabinets topped up and deal with medication for patients being discharged.

In addition, there are opportunities for pharmacy technicians within industry:

Pharmaceutical companies, production and marketing of medicines; Government agencies, pharmacy professional and advocacy bodies as well as training and development and medical publishing.

Some pharmacy technicians elect to go on to university to gain a Bachelor of Pharmacy to become a pharmacist.

Salary range
The starting salary for a pharmacy technician in training is around $13.50 per hour rising to between $15 and $20 per hour once qualified. There are many opportunities to develop knowledge and expertise and an experienced pharmacy technician can earn more than this.

Other careers this profession could lead to
The skills developed by pharmacy technicians can be applied across a wide range of areas particularly management, training and teaching, as well as other areas of the health sector.

How to increase your chances of successfully entering this industry
Talk to your local pharmacist and/or get a part-time job in a pharmacy.

Other places to source information about this job
Pharmacy Industry Training Organisation (PITO)