Hi all, I am interviewing for a compounding pharmacy technician position and am wondering if anyone here is one and can speak to the duties of the job, math calculations involved, and general overview. Has anyone ever been a retail pharmacy technician and then into compounding? I’m really wanting this job because it’s on the job training and seems like a great company to work for that’s not retail. All feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks and good luck
I’m not a pharmacy technician, but I can try and shed some light.
Compounding pharmacies vary in what they make. Expect to learn how to make capsules, transdermals, suspensions, solutions, suppositories, animal treats, and troches to name a few. Some of these are more difficult to make than others. Some require specialized machines to prepare.
First step of making any compound is to double check the math. If you need to make #55 mL of an 8% solution, how much drug do you weigh out? If you need to make #30; 5mg capsules, how much drug do you weigh out? That’s the kind of math you’ll be doing.
Know what words like QS, triturate, and geometric dilution mean. Know that what you are making is going into another human being or a loved pet. Don’t half ass your compounds.
Recognize that you will be working with powders which are detrimental to your health if you don’t respect them. Wear gloves, hair net, and a face mask even if they are uncomfortable. Know that a surgical face mask does jack to protect you from inhaling powders so weigh and mix your powders under powder hoods.
If you have any specific questions I’d be glad to try and answer them! Good luck with your interview.
I was for 10 years! My location actually preferred untrained pharmacy technicians so they could teach you how they wanted it done. You’ll be fine. Keep a small notebook on hand and always ask questions rather than screw something up
It’s like baking. The pharmacy should give you a formula to follow like a recipe. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully. As far as succeeding in the interview, research the company to try and get a grasp on what type of compounding they do. Sterile vs non-sterile, for example. Also, there are some great instructional videos from University of North Carolina on compounding that you could review prior to the interview as well. They go in depth on some of the techniques you will be using.
Just for some background… I was a compounding pharmacy technician turned retail pharmacy technician turned student pharmacist. I still work at both pharmacies and enjoy them for various reasons. I have little patient interaction at the compounder and focus on the physical side of pharmacy while at retail I still get to interact with our patients, some of whom are more pleasant than others. I’d say if you thrive off of interacting with your patients then compounding may be less exciting to you. Whatever happens, good luck to you! If you have any questions feel free to message me. Compounding is a great field to work in.
I am a pharmacy technician. I worked in retail for about 3 years, 2 of which I was doing a lot of compounding. The chain I worked for sent me to compounding class, but it honestly didn’t teach me much because they try to squeeze everything into 2 days, and there’s just no time to learn and try the techniques they’re showing you. I did most of the learning on the job. My pharmacy manager was always happy to show me how to make things because I always showed an interest in it.
Anyway, the math required is very basic, at least it was where I worked. We had a compounding center that sent us all if the recipes which included all of the measurements and even step by step instructions for how to make everything. The most math I ever really used while compounding was to change the quantity of what I was making. Like if I need 5mg of progesterone for 100 capsules, I need Xmg for 30. (Not that I could make less than 100 capsules with our machine anyway).
We made a lot of creams, capsules, and solutions where I worked, and occasionally we’d make some troches. None of it was particularly challenging, the machines make it pretty easy, and it gets easier/quicker with practice. For the duties, I basically did everything. I choose the products, do any calculations required before measurement, then measure, have the pharmacist check the product/quantity, and then start following the recipe. I occasionally had to order chemicals and also had to clean the equipment once I was finished with it. Sorry my text is a bit disorganized, I’m on mobile and finishing up my break at the moment. Feel free to message me if you want any other details or have questions 🙂
At my compounding pharmacy we use a computer program that gives us weights of raw chemicals and bases and we weigh out each ingredient under a powder hood. There really isn’t that much math, the pharmacist usually makes all of the formulas and adds them into the system for us to then complete. We weigh out ingredients, combine them into creams, suppositories, troches, triturates, injectables, and capsules. We encapsulate powders using a capsule machine. You won’t have to deal with a lot of commercial drugs as we cannot dispense commercially available drugs as it is considered copyright infringement. I can’t speak for retail as I have not worked in a retail setting but I really enjoy the compounding side of the pharmacy.