The basic job of a pharmacy tech is to fill prescriptions while assisting the pharmacist. This can be done in a hospital, in a retail pharmacy or in more of an office environment for one of the fast-growing online drug companies that ship medicines by mail. Basic inventory management is one of the main job duties of the pharmacy technician. Drugs are received from the manufacturer and these shipments need to be verified and then stocked on the shelves for filling prescriptions. Dispensing drugs into containers for patients is another job duty. Pills have to be counted, liquids need to be measured, and medicine containers need to be labeled. All of this requires a certain amount of data entry in order to properly keep track of supplies as well as great attention to details. The amount of customer service required of each pharmacy tech will depend on the location or business type. Many techs are the first line of communication with the patients, handling all but the more complicated matters which get passed on to the pharmacist. This can involve a good deal of interaction with patients on a daily basis. Other techs will find that they spend most of their time handling the medications and payments with little if any interaction with people. A pharmacist may prefer to handle the patient contact as much as possible with techs only filling in when things are very busy. Communication skills are a very important trait for pharmacy techs to have since most contact will be with people who are sick and do not feel well so may be rather cranky. Patience is a MUST for this job! Many vocational schools can help their pharmacy tech students get jobs when their training is completed. Pharmacies will often contact the schools for recommendations on job candidates. It pays to get to know your professors and participate in class so that you get known. The National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam is the next step after training and internship. A certified pharmacy technician can command a higher salary than one who has not taken the exam. The coursework has a good bit of variety including pharmacy terminology and common abbreviations, learning about diseases and how medicines interact with the body, as well as legal and ethical issues. While some of the classes may be challenging, the variety will keep the schoolwork from being too boring. Many colleges will also give an Associate’s Degree for this course which is great for those who never went to or finished college.