Pharmacy Technician Toolbox

Originally published on AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org

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!