Dreambound
Blog

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician vs Surgical Technician

Pharmacy Technician vs Surgical Technician

Want personalized recommendations?

Let's match you to the right program

Talk to Skipper
coach

Key Points:

  • Pharmacy Technicians assist pharmacists; Surgical Technicians support surgeons in the operating room.
  • Pharmacy Technicians typically earn higher salaries than Surgical Technicians.
  • Both careers have good job prospects, but Pharmacy Technician jobs are more widely available.
  • Both careers require formal training, but Pharmacy Technician programs can be completed online or in-person, while Surgical Technician programs are usually on-campus.
  • Pharmacy Technician training is generally less expensive and shorter than Surgical Technician training.

Healthcare is a rapidly growing industry, and there is a constant demand for skilled professionals. Pharmacy technicians and surgical technicians are vital members of healthcare teams, although their roles are quite different. Understanding the responsibilities and requirements of each profession can help individuals make an informed decision about which path to pursue.

Article continues after recommendations

Recommended for you

What is a Pharmacy Technician and Surgical Technician?

Pharmacy Technician:

A pharmacy technician is responsible for assisting pharmacists in dispensing medications to patients. They work in various settings, such as hospitals, retail pharmacies, and long-term care facilities. Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in ensuring that patients receive the correct medications and dosages. Their duties include:

  • Counting and packaging medications
  • Labeling prescriptions
  • Managing inventory and ordering supplies
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Communicating with healthcare professionals and patients

Surgical Technician:

A surgical technician, also known as a surgical technologist, works in the operating room alongside surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Their primary role is to assist during surgical procedures, ensuring that the operating room is prepared and sterile. Surgical technicians are responsible for:

  • Preparing the operating room and sterilizing surgical instruments
  • Assisting with patient positioning and draping
  • Handing instruments and supplies to surgeons during procedures
  • Maintaining a sterile environment during surgery
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs during surgery

Difference between a Pharmacy Technician and Surgical Technician

While both pharmacy technicians and surgical technicians work in the healthcare industry, there are significant differences between these two professions. Here are some key distinctions:

  • Work Environment: Pharmacy technicians typically work in pharmacies, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities where medications are dispensed. Surgical technicians, on the other hand, work exclusively in operating rooms.
  • Patient Interaction: Pharmacy technicians have more direct patient interaction compared to surgical technicians. They may answer questions about medications, provide medication counseling, and process insurance claims. Surgical technicians primarily interact with patients before and after surgery, but their main focus is on assisting during surgical procedures.
  • Scope of Practice: Pharmacy technicians are responsible for medication-related tasks, such as dispensing and packaging medications. Surgical technicians are involved in surgical procedures, assisting surgeons and other healthcare professionals.
  • Job Duties: While both professions require attention to detail and accuracy, pharmacy technicians focus on medication management, inventory control, and customer service. Surgical technicians, on the other hand, focus on surgical procedures, ensuring the operating room is sterile, and assisting surgeons during surgery.

Pharmacy Technician vs Surgical Technician: Job Description

Pharmacy Technician:

Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare system by ensuring that patients receive the correct medications. Their job duties may include:

  • Receiving and verifying prescriptions
  • Counting and packaging medications
  • Labeling prescriptions accurately
  • Managing inventory and ordering supplies
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Answering patient questions about medications

Surgical Technician:

Surgical technicians are essential members of the surgical team, working alongside surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists. Their job duties include:

  • Preparing the operating room for surgery
  • Sterilizing surgical instruments and equipment
  • Assisting with patient positioning and draping
  • Handing instruments and supplies to surgeons during procedures
  • Maintaining a sterile environment during surgery
  • Monitoring patients' vital signs during surgery

Pharmacy Technician vs Surgical Technician: Education and Training

Pharmacy Technician:

To become a pharmacy technician, individuals typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. While formal education is not always required, many employers prefer candidates with postsecondary pharmacy technician training programs. These programs can be completed in as little as six months and provide a comprehensive understanding of pharmacy operations, medication management, and customer service skills. Some states may also require pharmacy technicians to be certified, which involves passing an exam.

Surgical Technician:

Becoming a surgical technician usually requires completing a postsecondary surgical technology program. These programs are often offered by community colleges or vocational schools and can take anywhere from nine months to two years to complete. Surgical technology programs include classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience. Upon completion, graduates may need to pass a certification exam to become Certified Surgical Technologists (CST).

Get courses selected just for you

Try our powerful search engine

Try it now

Article continues after recommendations

More recommendations for you

Pharmacy Technician vs Surgical Technician: Career Outlook and Salary

Pharmacy Technician:

The career outlook for pharmacy technicians is promising, with a projected job growth rate of 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This growth is attributed to the aging population and increased demand for prescription medications. The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $34,020 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $49,130.

Surgical Technician:

The demand for surgical technicians is also expected to grow, with a projected job growth rate of 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, according to the BLS. This growth is driven by advancements in medical technology and an aging population requiring more surgical procedures. The median annual wage for surgical technologists was $49,040 in May 2020, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $71,400.

Final Thoughts

Choosing between a career as a pharmacy technician or a surgical technician depends on individual preferences and interests. Both professions offer rewarding opportunities to contribute to the healthcare industry. Pharmacy technicians have more direct patient interaction and focus on medication management, while surgical technicians play a crucial role in surgical procedures. It is essential to consider the job duties, educational requirements, career outlook, and salary when making a decision. Ultimately, individuals should choose a career path that aligns with their skills, interests, and long-term goals in the healthcare field.

Discover Dreambound's program accessibility across various locations. For detailed insights into the two vocations, their requirements, and joining procedures, explore the following blogs:

Vduani Martinez
Written by
Vduani Martinez

Vduani Martinez is a part of the Growth team at Dreambound. She creates and fixes workflows and automation to guarantee seamless operations. On top of that, she manages databases to ensure all information is up to date. Vduani is a licensed Electronics Engineer who loves coffee and is a travel enthusiast. Out of the office, she enjoys going on road trips and discovering new cafes and restaurants.

Share this post: