Skip to content

Working as a Pharmacy Tech in a Hospital Pharmacy vs. Retail Pharmacy

[email protected]

Pharmacy Technicians Work
Most job duties of a retail pharmacy technician are administrative in nature and focus more on customer service.

A pharmacy technician is someone that works to help a pharmacy run more smoothly. They help a pharmacist with job duties around the pharmacy so that the pharmacist can focus on what only they can do. Working as a pharmacy technician can be rewarding work.

Many people think of pharmacy technicians as the people working in a retail pharmacy when you go to pick up your medication. However, there are other types of pharmacy technicians. For example, there are pharmacy technicians that work in a hospital setting. These hospital pharmacy technicians have a slightly different job than retail pharmacy technicians.

Below, you can learn about some of the key differences between a hospital pharmacy technician and a retail pharmacy technician. This could help you determine if you want to pursue either one of these options as a future career. You can also learn more about pharmacy technician school and how it can help you prepare for a great career.

Hospital Pharmacy Technician vs. Retail Pharmacy Technician

There are several significant differences between a hospital pharmacy and a retail pharmacy. This means that a pharmacy technician’s job will be different depending on the location that they are working in. Below, you can check out some of the key differences between working as a pharmacy technician in a hospital versus a retail pharmacy.

  • Purpose of Hospital Pharmacy – A hospital pharmacy works to supply hospital patients and doctors with the medications they need. This type of pharmacy might prepare medications for people before they go into surgery or specific medications for after surgery or treatment. This means there are different types of medications in a hospital pharmacy, and the process is different than a retail pharmacy.
  • Purpose of Retail Pharmacy – A retail pharmacy’s purpose is to provide clients with medications that they will bring home to take over the course of several weeks. This is different from how a hospital pharmacy operates. A retail pharmacy is focused on customer service and helping the patient understand their medication and when to take it.
  • Qualifications for Hospital Pharmacy Technicians – The exact qualifications for working as a hospital pharmacy technician depend on your state and the hospital itself. It is common for hospitals to require a pharmacy technician schooling or certification before someone can work in a hospital pharmacy. This education is often required because someone working as a hospital pharmacy technician needs to have a better overall understanding of medications and medical terminology to succeed in their position. A pharmacy technician school can help someone get those much-needed skills.
  • Unlike retail pharmacists, hospital pharmacy technicians interact with doctors and nurses more than the public.

    Qualifications for Retail Pharmacy Technicians – To work in a retail pharmacy, you do not necessarily need to attend a pharmacy technician school. However, certain employers might require or encourage this type of schooling before they hire someone for this type of work.

  • Job Duties for Hospital Pharmacy Technicians – Another key difference in these two jobs is the actual job duties required from each location. When working in a hospital as a pharmacy technician, you will spend most of your time filling prescriptions. You will also interact more with doctors and nurses than patients. You will fill prescriptions for just a couple of days because many people are not in the hospital long term. You will fill prescriptions for more people, but they will be shorter supplies of medication.
  • Job Duties for Retail Pharmacy Technicians – In a retail pharmacy, many of the job duties are administrative in nature. There is a lot of focus on customer service, answering phones, and billing insurance. Those types of job duties are not as common in a hospital setting as they are in a retail setting. The prescription you fill will also be different in retail than in a hospital. In retail, you will be filling prescriptions to give people medication to last them anywhere from a week to 90 days.

As you can see, there are some differences between working in a retail pharmacy and a hospital pharmacy. However, both of these careers can be fun and rewarding. Also, you can prepare for both of these career options through a pharmacy technician school.

Get Qualified at Pharmacy Technician School

Pharmacy technician school will teach you how to work as a pharmacy technician. This schooling will also give you a background in understanding the human body and how certain medications interact with the human body.

FVI School of Nursing and Technology has a pharmacy technician school that you can attend to prepare for a career as a hospital pharmacy technician or a retail pharmacy technician.

For more information about graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website:

Resources and References:

All nursing programs offered at FVI are approved by the Florida Board of Nursing Professional Nursing NCLEX Code Miramar US70415200 Professional Nursing NCLEX Code Miami US70418900 FVI School of Nursing and Technology (FVI) is licensed by the State of Florida, Commission for Independent Education (CIE) Miami (main) campus License Number: 3441/ Miramar campus License Number: 6010 The Associate of Science programs at FVI School of Nursing and Technology, Miramar, Florida and Miami, Florida are accredited by the Accredited Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). FVI School of Nursing and Technology is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE) ID# 312400 since November 03, 2010

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing logo