• 24 September 2021
  • 7 min read

Retail and Hospital Pharmacies: Understanding The Difference As A Pharmacy Tech

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder
    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 0
  • 124
“Although the duties are, on the whole, similar, there are differences in terms of salary, working hours and other conditions.”

In Ireland, Pharmacy Technicians generally work in either retail or hospital settings. In fact, many would prefer to work in a hospital pharmacy due to the better salary and benefits on offer. Although the two roles involve similar duties, there is a difference. As a Pharmacy Tech, you can begin your career in a retail pharmacy and then, after having obtained a few years’ experience, you will be ready to work in a hospital pharmacy.

Topics covered in this article

Academic Qualifications

Duties

Purpose

Salary

Working Hours

Skills Required By All Pharmacy Technicians

Conclusion

Academic Qualifications

If you want to become a Pharmacy Technician in Ireland, you will need to obtain the appropriate academic qualifications.

For example, you must have your leaving certificate.

You will then need to study for a higher certificate in science at any of the following universities:

● Athlone Institute of Technology

● Bray Institute of Further Education

● Carlow Institute of Technology

● Technology University Dublin

You can also opt to take a distance learning course, courtesy of the Irish Pharmacy Union.

In addition to academic qualifications, you will also need to possess personal skills that will be useful in your chosen field:

● Strong communication skills

● Good at listening

● Detail-oriented

During your studies, you will participate in externships or job placements.

You should use these opportunities to build connections and network with people in the healthcare industry.

Retail Pharmacy Technicians

You can become a pharmacy technician in Ireland by taking a one- or two-year course which combines academic learning and hands-on training.

After completing this programme, you can apply for a role in most retail pharmacies.

Hospital Pharmacy Technicians

Once you have successfully completed the pharmacy technician programme, you should study for a bachelor of science certification.

This will take a year to complete but it will improve your skills and also your prospects of being hired in a hospital pharmacy.

Healthcare Jobs at Healthcarejobs.ie

Progress Your Career. Search 1000s of Healthcare Jobs

Search Jobs

Duties

As a Pharmacy Tech, your primary duties will generally be the same whether you work in a hospital or a retail shop.

However, there is a difference, as explained below.

Retail Pharmacy Technicians

Most pharmacies in Ireland use computerised systems to fill prescriptions.

Your task will be to read the prescription and then input the information on the system or scan the original paper version.

The Pharmacist will review the information to ensure its accuracy and to avoid any potential drug interaction problems.

Your other duties will include:

● Interacting with patients with regard to their prescriptions

● Operating the cash register for the medicines and other items sold in the shop ● Processing the insurance claims for the patients

● Stocking the shelves and keeping inventory records

● Filing paperwork

● Cleaning the shop and other miscellaneous duties

Hospital Pharmacy Technicians

In a hospital environment, instead of dealing with customers or patients, you will often be interacting with Doctors, Nurses and other healthcare professionals. Nevertheless, you will still have similar duties as your retail counterpart and you will devote most of your time to filling prescriptions.

Purpose

Retail Pharmacy Technicians

Your main purpose in a retail pharmacy is to provide patients with their prescribed medication that they can take home.

Your focus is to provide a high-quality service and to help them understand their medicine, how much to take and when.

Hospital Pharmacy Technicians

In a hospital pharmacy, one of your duties will be to supply the patients and doctors with their required medication.

For example, you may be asked to provide a drug that is necessary before or after surgery.

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Do you have any questions for Matt?

Ask below

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

In essence, hospital pharmacies store and supply drugs that are different from those offered by retail pharmacies.

Salary

The average salary of a Pharmacy Technician is higher than the median national wage.

Meanwhile, a hospital position offers more benefits, both financially and career-wise.

In addition, you may be able to obtain even better pay and benefits depending on your training, experience and skills.

Working Hours

Most retail pharmacies are only open during specific business hours.

However, this is not the case with hospital pharmacies where you may be expected to work:

● Overnight shifts

● Weekends

● Public holidays

You may even be called in during a busy period or to fill in when someone gets sick.

Why are hospital Pharmacy Tech positions on the increase in Ireland?

In Ireland, retail or community pharmacies outnumber hospital pharmacies by 25 to 1.

However, many retail Pharmacy Techs are leaving their positions to work in a hospital setting.

There are several reasons for this:

1. Many consider the hospital role to be a step up in their career.

2. Hospital pharmacy techs earn more as it is one of the highest paying jobs in Ireland’s healthcare industry.

3. The number of retail and hospital pharmacies in Ireland is on the increase.

4. There are more career opportunities in hospitals compared with retail pharmacies.

Furthermore, although both hospital and retail Pharmacy Technicians fill prescriptions and provide the required medications, those working in a hospital don’t have to engage with customers.

If you are not comfortable interacting with the public, a hospital position may be your ideal option.

Skills Required By All Pharmacy Technicians

Notwithstanding the fact that retail and hospital Pharmacy Techs differ in a variety of ways, particularly with regard to their responsibilities and work environment, they still require the same basic skills, including:

● Being able to adapt to certain situations or issues

● Excellent organisation and communication skills

● Quick-thinking and good at problem-solving

Your working hours may be long and exhausting, which is why you will need both physical and mental stamina.

Moreover, whether you are working in a retail or hospital pharmacy, it is essential that you show empathy and care for your customers.

This will enable you to provide an efficient and high-quality service.

Conclusion

Pharmacy Technicians can choose to work in either a retail or hospital setting.

Although the duties are, on the whole, similar, there are differences in terms of salary, working hours and other conditions.

For instance, hospital pharmacy techs don’t interact with customers as often as those in a retail shop and they also usually enjoy a higher salary and better career options.

The typical career path for a Pharmacy Technician is to work in retail for a few years before progressing to a hospital position.

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

Do you have any questions for Matt?

Ask below

---------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ----------

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

See all of our Pharmacy jobs

380 jobs currently available

Search Jobs

Care Professionals Helping One Another

We pay people like you to contribute, so that everyone can share. Learn & never miss out on updates & career advice. Join to support our mission.

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

  • 0 Comments
Want to get involved in the discussion
Sign In Join