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Pharmacy Technician vs Psychiatric Technician

Pharmacy Technician vs Psychiatric Technician

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Key Points:

  • Pharmacy Technicians assist pharmacists; Psychiatric Technicians work with mental health patients.
  • Pharmacy Technicians typically earn higher wages than Psychiatric Technicians.
  • Pharmacy Technician jobs are more widely available than Psychiatric Technician positions.
  • Both roles require in-person training, but Pharmacy Technicians may have more online course options.
  • Pharmacy Technician training is generally less expensive and shorter than Psychiatric Technician training.

In today's blog post, we will be exploring the differences between two medical professions - pharmacy technicians and psychiatric technicians. Both professions play a crucial role in the healthcare field, but their job descriptions, education and training requirements, and career outlooks differ significantly. If you're considering a career in healthcare and are unsure which path to take, this blog post will help you make an informed decision.

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What is a Pharmacy Technician and Psychiatric Technician?

Pharmacy Technician:

A pharmacy technician is an essential member of the pharmacy team who assists pharmacists in dispensing medications to patients. They work in various settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Some of the key responsibilities of a pharmacy technician include:

  • Receiving and verifying prescriptions
  • Counting, measuring, and packaging medications
  • Labeling prescriptions
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Assisting customers with their medication needs
  • Managing inventory and ordering supplies

Psychiatric Technician:

A psychiatric technician, on the other hand, is a mental health professional who provides care and support to patients with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. They work under the supervision of psychiatrists, psychologists, and registered nurses in psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, and outpatient facilities. Some of the key responsibilities of a psychiatric technician include:

  • Assisting patients with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Monitoring and documenting patients' behavior and vital signs
  • Administering medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals
  • Leading group therapy sessions
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families
  • Assisting in crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques

Difference between a Pharmacy Technician and Psychiatric Technician

While both pharmacy technicians and psychiatric technicians work in the healthcare field, there are several key differences between the two professions. Here are some of the main distinctions:

  • Job Focus: Pharmacy technicians primarily focus on medication dispensing and management, while psychiatric technicians focus on providing mental health care and support to patients with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.

  • Work Environment: Pharmacy technicians work in various settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. Psychiatric technicians primarily work in psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, and outpatient facilities.

  • Patient Population: Pharmacy technicians serve a diverse range of patients, including those with chronic illnesses, acute conditions, and those seeking over-the-counter medications. Psychiatric technicians primarily work with patients who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.

  • Responsibilities: Pharmacy technicians are responsible for receiving and verifying prescriptions, counting and packaging medications, and assisting customers with their medication needs. Psychiatric technicians are responsible for providing direct care to patients, administering medications, and leading therapy sessions.

  • Supervision: Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists, while psychiatric technicians work under the supervision of psychiatrists, psychologists, and registered nurses.

Pharmacy Technician vs Psychiatric Technician: Job Description

Pharmacy Technician:

A pharmacy technician plays a crucial role in the pharmacy team by ensuring the accurate and timely dispensing of medications. Some of the key job responsibilities of a pharmacy technician include:

  • Receiving and verifying prescriptions from patients or healthcare professionals
  • Counting, measuring, and packaging medications
  • Labeling prescriptions with patient information and dosage instructions
  • Maintaining patient records and insurance information
  • Assisting customers with their medication needs and answering their questions
  • Managing inventory and ordering supplies
  • Adhering to legal and ethical guidelines in medication dispensing

Psychiatric Technician:

A psychiatric technician provides care and support to patients with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. Some of the key job responsibilities of a psychiatric technician include:

  • Assisting patients with their daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Monitoring and documenting patients' behavior and vital signs
  • Administering medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals
  • Led group therapy sessions and recreational activities
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families
  • Assisting in crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to develop patient care plans

Pharmacy Technician vs Psychiatric Technician: Education and Training

Pharmacy Technician:

To become a pharmacy technician, one typically needs a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states may require pharmacy technicians to complete a formal training program or obtain certification. These programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, and online institutions. The duration of the training program may vary, ranging from a few months to a year. Some key areas covered in pharmacy technician training programs include:

  • Pharmacology and medication terminology
  • Pharmacy law and ethics
  • Medication dosage calculations
  • Prescription processing and insurance billing
  • Pharmacy operations and inventory management
  • Patient communication and customer service skills

Psychiatric Technician:

To become a psychiatric technician, one typically needs a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states may require psychiatric technicians to complete a formal training program or obtain certification. These programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, and psychiatric hospitals. The duration of the training program may vary, ranging from one to two years. Some key areas covered in psychiatric technician training programs include:

  • Psychology and mental health concepts
  • Psychiatric medications and their side effects
  • Therapeutic communication and counseling techniques
  • Crisis intervention and de-escalation strategies
  • Patient observation and documentation skills
  • Group therapy facilitation and activity planning
  • Legal and ethical considerations in psychiatric care

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Pharmacy Technician vs Psychiatric Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

Pharmacy Technician:

The demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow in the coming years, driven by factors such as an aging population and increased access to healthcare services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $34,020 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $49,130.

Psychiatric Technician:

The demand for psychiatric technicians is also expected to grow in the coming years, as mental health awareness and access to mental health services increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of psychiatric technicians is projected to grow 6 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for psychiatric technicians was $35,870 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $64,830.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a pharmacy technician or a psychiatric technician ultimately depends on your interests, strengths, and career goals. If you enjoy working with medications and providing customer service, a career as a pharmacy technician may be a good fit for you. On the other hand, if you have a passion for mental health care and enjoy working directly with patients, a career as a psychiatric technician may be more fulfilling.

Both professions offer rewarding opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others and contribute to the healthcare field. Whichever path you choose, proper education and training, as well as a commitment to ongoing professional development, will be key to your success.

Dreambound's educational programs cater to aspiring individuals seeking diverse opportunities. Gain a more comprehensive understanding of the potential within these two vocations by exploring further details at:

Blessed Joy Amarga
Written by
Blessed Joy Amarga

Blessed Joy Amarga is part of the Growth and Sales teams at Dreambound. She helps bring in new leads, increasing the number of people at the top of the sales funnel, and supporting the team in creating graphics to boost social media engagement. Blessed is also a Licensed Architect. Outside work, she enjoys traveling and exploring new places for her vlog.

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