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Retail pharmacies employ a host pharmacy personnel to fill the retail pharmacist jobs required to run a pharmacy. Pharmacists usually manage the pharmacy, and they are assisted by pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides. Each role has a distinct set of tasks, depending on the pharmacy. Retail pharmacist jobs include positions in the back of the pharmacy, preparing prescriptions for customers, and positions working in the front of the pharmacy. Retail pharmacist jobs in the front of the store entail working directly with customers and assisting customers through the purchase of over the counter medications as well as prescription medications customers need to fill.
Retail pharmacists usually divide their time between dispensing medications, answering patient questions, and performing the administrative and managerial tasks required to run a retail pharmacy and direct the pharmacy staff. Some retail stores may have a store manager who oversees the administrative duties in the pharmacy department, but many pharmacists serve in that managerial role for independent stores. A retail pharmacist may be responsible for the financial tasks and billing as well as hiring and leading the pharmacy staff. They may deal with insurance companies, doctors offices, and pharmaceutical vendors.
Pharmacy technician positions comprise a bulk of retail pharmacist jobs. Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists in preparing prescriptions and dispensing medications. This entails tasks such as counting pills, mixing medications, selecting appropriate containers, labeling bottles, and managing inventory. Pharmacy technicians receive the prescriptions from the patients or doctor's offices, verify accuracy of the information, and prepare the prescriptions accordingly. They also answer customer questions and may work at the cash register and answer the phone as well. Pharmacy technicians are responsible for all aspects of preparing medications, but the filled prescriptions are always checked by a licensed pharmacist before they can be distributed to the customers.
Pharmacy aides are not allowed to prepare prescriptions because they do not generally go through the extensive training required for pharmacy technician positions. Retail pharmacist jobs with this title are typically front of the house and administrative positions. The pharmacy aides work with the pharmacy technicians to assist customers and often work as the cashiers in a retail pharmacy. They may manage inventory of the over-the-counter medications and medical supplies by ordering or stocking the shelves, answer the phones, and perform other clerical duties as directed by the pharmacist. This might include tasks such as maintaining patient profiles or preparing health insurance claim forms.
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