Pharmacy Technician Toolbox

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Pharmacy technician schools can provide techs with the basic knowledge and technical savvy they need to perform their jobs effectively, but employers consider more than just a candidate’s training. There are many other qualities that make an excellent technician. Pharmacy techs must be friendly, cooperative and have a strong attention to detail, for instance, and administrative tasks are common. They must also be able to stand for several hours a day and keep their cool under pressure. Here are some of the professional and personal skills and qualities that serve pharmacy technicians well.

Job-specific knowledge.
The duties pharmacy technicians perform can vary by state and employer, but most rely on a similar set of professional skills. These including knowing how to:

  • Read, verify and manage patient prescription requests
  • Properly dose and fill prescription orders
  • Use and maintain laboratory equipment and tools
  • Store prescription and over-the-counter medications properly
  • Track inventories
  • Maintain a safe, sanitary environment
  • Find, review and relay drug safety information, including potential interactions
  • Keep records in accordance with patients’ privacy rights
  • Communicate with pharmacists, insurance companies, patients and healthcare providers
  • Bill and collect payment for prescription orders

General workplace skills.
Pharmacy technicians often need other workplace skills that are not industry-specific. Among them:

  • Strong customer and personal service skills
  • Clerical and administrative know-how
  • Using computers, software, printers and related equipment
  • Organizing, planning and prioritizing work
  • Working well independently and in a team
  • Communicating with colleagues, supervisors and other work groups

Personal aptitudes.
Like most professionals, pharmacy technicians can benefit from having a number of seemingly more innate skills and qualities. These include:

  • Service orientation
  • Excellent time management
  • Multitasking
  • Active listening
  • Strong reading comprehension
  • Excellent critical thinking and problem solving
  • Time management and organization
  • Social perceptiveness

Personal qualities.
According to O*Net OnLine, it is often helpful for pharmacy technicians to have the following qualities and characteristics:

  • Near vision
  • Clarity of speech
  • A warm disposition
  • Self-control
  • Dependability
  • Personal initiative
  • Problem sensitivity
  • High tolerance for stress
  • Adaptability
  • A cooperative nature

More key resume-builders.
Formal training can give some pharmacy technicians an edge over lesser trained career competition, but there are other ways candidates can set themselves apart. Among them:

  • Certification
  • Graduation from an accredited program
  • Membership in educational and professional organizations
  • Practical experience via labs and externships
  • Continuing education courses, especially to maintain certification
  • Participating in extracurricular and community service activities
  • Personal and professional recommendations from former employers, instructors and other qualified contributors
  • Work history and experience

Future pharmacy technicians who want to get a better sense for the field’s demands and requirements can look for pharmacy internships or entry-level jobs as cashiers in retail clinics. Interested in taking the first steps toward a career as a pharmacy technician? Consider online pharmacy technician courses to help you break into this fast-paced, exciting field!