IV Compounding
Pharmacy Technician

A career as an IV compounding pharmacy technician can be very rewarding and satisfying.

This is an important job that can help to save the lives of sick or injured patients of all ages including newborn babies.

This job requires strong math skills and attention to detail.

Work is usually done in shifts, which cover 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

This job has great potential for job security as demand is expected to increase in the coming years.

Training for this job is completed in a shorter period of time and is less expensive than most other health care related professions.

So, What Exactly Does An
IV Pharmacy Technician do?

Working under the supervision of a registered pharmacist, the technician is responsible for preparing intravenous solutions that contain medications that are given to patients in various health care settings. These IV solutions might contain antibiotics, chemotherapy solutions, narcotics, or nutritional supplements.

The technician reads prescription orders or patient charts and calculates the amount of drug needed to add to a solution to create the dosage required by the patient for the desired effect.

The technician works under orders of a physician with supervision of a registered pharmacist but is still responsible for ensuring he prepares the proper dosage to give a patient.

He needs to understand the medications well enough to recognize errors or misprints. He also needs to be aware of which medications are contraindicated with each other.

The technician must have great attention to detail and be meticulous in his work since a mistake in the amount or type of medication mixed into the IV solution could cause a fatal reaction in the patient.

The technician must also take care to keep his equipment sterile so he does not contaminate the IV solution and cause an infection in the patient.

In addition to mixing IV solutions, the IV compounding pharmacy technician will also be responsible for more mundane but important tasks such as record keeping and labeling of solutions.

He must also properly maintain his equipment and workspace to prevent errors and prevent spread of infection.

The majority of these technicians will be employed in a hospital setting, this would also include day surgery centers and medical centers.

Some might be employed in pharmacies or skilled care nursing homes.

An IV compounding pharmacy technician could be expected to work at all hours in shifts just like nurses and other health care providers.

For example, one of these technicians might be employed in a hospital and prepare chemotherapy solutions for patients on a cancer ward.

Another technician might be employed by a pharmacy to prepare nutritional solutions to distribute to nursing homes.

Yet another may prepare antibiotic solutions for a child who has undergone surgery at an outpatient surgery center.

While it might be possible to secure an entry-level position and gain on the job training, most employers will require state certification before hiring and certainly will require it before allowing a technician to assume full job duties.

The requirements for certification vary from state to state and will most likely include national certification from the PTCB or ICPT.

In addition, certification will be required attesting to training in aseptic technique.

This is supplied by the National Pharmacy Technician Association upon completion of an accredited course.

The cost for this course can run around $600 and this is above and beyond basic pharmacy technician training.

What Kind of Skills Must an IV Compounding Pharmacy Technician Acquire?

For one, the technician must learn aseptic technique, which is another term for sterile technique.

This is very important to ensure that no bacteria or other harmful substances are passed on to patients.

The technician will learn about wearing sterile gowns, masks, and gloves.

He will learn how to properly handle medications so as not to contaminate them.

He will learn proper hand washing technique and how to use laminar airflow hoods. He will also learn how to clean and store equipment to maintain a sterile environment to work in.

The compounding pharmacy technician must also learn medical terminology and extensively study pharmacology so he understands the medications he works with, their benefits, and dangers.

Compounding pharmacological solutions requires instruction in pharmacology math.

This class teaches the various measurements used with medications such as international units and drams and how to convert them.

It teaches how to compute proper dosages and how to determine frequency of administration.

One should be fairly strong in math computation skills before considering a career as a compounding pharmacy technician.

Training to become an IV compounding pharmacy technician is usually done through vocational schools and takes under a year at a cost of a few thousand dollars.

It is important to make sure the school is accredited so the classes will qualify for the certification exams.

It may be possible to take some training online for general classes such as medical terminology and pharmacology. Other parts of the training are best learned in a hands-on environment.

Learning how to operate airflow hoods, how to maintain aseptic technique, and how to physically prepare solutions are examples of practices, which should be learned in a clinical setting and may even be required by some states in order to receive state certification.

A career in this field is a wise choice as the job of pharmacy technician has been listed as one of the top 30 growing career fields in America.

As the baby boomers age and the demand for health care soars in the coming years, there should be plenty of job security for IV compounding pharmacy technicians.

Working conditions for this profession are pleasant, working indoors in a clean comfortable environment. Job satisfaction should be high since this job helps people who need it and can contribute to saving lives.


It may be possible to take some training online for general classes such as medical terminology and pharmacology. Other parts of the training are best learned in a hands-on environment.

Learning how to operate airflow hoods, how to maintain aseptic technique, and how to physically prepare solutions are examples of practices, which should be learned in a clinical setting and may even be required by some states in order to receive state certification.

A career in this field is a wise choice as the job of pharmacy technician has been listed as one of the top 30 growing career fields in America.

As the baby boomers age and the demand for health care soars in the coming years, there should be plenty of job security for IV compounding pharmacy technicians.

Working conditions for this profession are pleasant, working indoors in a clean comfortable environment. Job satisfaction should be high since this job helps people who need it and can contribute to saving lives.

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