8 signs that a pharmacy technician career could be in your future
Pharmacy technicians are an asset to their community. Providing information to customers, managing medical supplies, and assembling medication for prescriptions, pharmacy technicians along with the pharmacists who oversee them are the face of pharmaceutical needs.
Here are eight signs that a pharmacy technician career is right for you:
1. You’re ready to train for a career you can start soon
With certificate program options lasting around one year (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS))1, you can take the appropriate certification and licensure exams to successfully begin on this career path faster than you may think. In these courses, you will learn1 arithmetic used in pharmacies, record keeping, ways of dispensing medications, and pharmacy law and ethics. Students also learn the names, uses, and doses of medications. Most programs also include clinical experience opportunities, in which students gain hands-on experience in a pharmacy.
2. You’re responsible
You are comfortable representing patient needs. The Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)2 is the standard that mandates privacy protections for individually identifiable health information. Following HIPAA protects the patient and provides a caring, professional environment. There is great responsibility in developing healthier lives and communities. Ensuring the privacy of the patient is an important quality for a pharmacy technician.
3. You pay close attention to detail1
Paying attention to details is crucial to proper patient care3. Providing the wrong medication or dosage to a patient can result in serious health complications. If you become a pharmacy technician who frequently handles customers face-to-face, you will need to be able to multi-task and communicate with the pharmacist while providing detailed care.
4. You have good customer service skills1
Each day and customer offer a different experience. Various circumstances will provide new opportunities to learn. Pharmacy technicians spend much of their time interacting with customers, so being helpful and polite is required of pharmacy technicians in a retail setting. Your critical-thinking and service-oriented skills will allow you to observe and assess each new scenario.
5. You enjoy a hands-on career
Pharmacy technicians typically do the following hands-on activities3:
- Collect information needed to fill a prescription from customers or health professionals
- Measure amounts of medication for prescriptions
- Package and label prescriptions
- Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages of medications or supplies
- Accept payment for prescriptions and process insurance claims
- Enter customer or patient information, including any prescriptions taken, into a computer system
- Answer phone calls from customers
- Arrange for customers to speak with pharmacists if customers have questions about medications or health matters
6. You have math skills
Improper doses of medication can pose serious health risks. Not only are pharmacy technicians responsible for organizing inventory, but they also are responsible for measuring medication for prescriptions3. Properly following measurements and dispensing the medications are of the utmost importance. Focused professionals will use their skills in math to ensure quality measurements.
7. You’re an active listener
Working as a pharmacy technician will require you to be an attentive listener. After concentrating on and understanding a patient’s questions or concerns, you will determine if their situation requires the attention of the pharmacist3. While you are often the face of the pharmacy experience, you will also lend your ear to patients to help them translate their needs to the pharmacist.
8. You’re organized
Pharmacy technicians wear many hats. Answering phone calls, entering customer information in a computer, organizing inventory, measuring medication, and so on requires a pharmacy professional to stay on top of the daily tasks3.
If you have good customer-service, listening, math, and organizational skills, you may be a strong candidate for a pharmacy technician career. Having a certification can give you an edge in a growing job market, and some states require pharmacy technicians to be certified and have formal training1.
Curious about the job outlook for pharmacy technicians? They have a projected job growth rate of 12% between 2016-2026 (faster than average), according to the BLS, and report a national median annual salary of $32,700 per year as of May 20184. This salary may not reflect entry-level pay for pharmacy technicians.
Are you interested in training to become a pharmacy technician? Check out information on Carrington College’s Pharmacy Technology program:
Carrington College offers a comprehensive Pharmacy Technology program that trains students to work as a pharmacy technician. At the completion of the program, graduates will be able to function as a competent assistant to a licensed pharmacist, communicate clearly, and act professionally .
If you’re ready to start working towards a career in pharmacy technology, you can earn an associate’s degree in less than two years or a certificate of completion in as few as nine months at Carrington College.