If you’re looking for an in-demand career path that offers the opportunity to help others, consider training to become a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians provide customer service in retail and hospital pharmacies, filling prescriptions under the direction of a pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians will portion out pre-prepared medications and compound custom medications.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings for pharmacy technicians are projected to grow 7% over the 2018-2028 period, adding up to 31,500 jobs nationally.[i] This growth rate is faster than the 5% overall job opening growth rate for all occupations.[ii]
It takes a certain kind of personality to pursue pharmacy technician roles successfully. Here are five of the most important qualities you should have if you want to train for this career path.
Attention to Detail
Ensuring the safety of customers is the most important part of a pharmacy technician’s job. Keeping customers safe means sweating the small stuff when it comes to filling prescriptions or compounding medications. Giving a patient the wrong medication can be more than an inconvenience—it could harm them.
Today’s medical system also involves detailed record keeping, and pharmacy technicians will often help with filing, entering data, or making records of inventory. In addition to helping keep the pharmacy organized, records are often required by law.
If you are the sort of person who takes the time to read all the instructions before filling out a form or who creates detailed packing lists before going on a trip, you may have the detail-oriented mindset necessary to succeed as a pharmacy technician.
Good Customer Service Skills
Pharmacy technicians work directly with the public, processing prescriptions and handling payment for medications. They need to be able to listen to customers’ needs or concerns, offer service with a smile, and stay calm when working with someone who is upset. Pharmacy technicians in hospital settings will work with nurses and other practitioners in a busy, potentially stressful environment, which makes the ability to stay focused, calm and pleasant even more important.
If you are known in your current job for being the person who goes above and beyond to solve problems for others and whose positive, helpful attitude—or cool-headed, reliable professionalism—makes everyone’s day, you may have the right qualities for this aspect of the pharmacy technician role.
The pharmacy technician role is at its core a support role. In addition to serving customers, pharmacy technicians’ job is to ensure pharmacists can carry out their duties efficiently. That may mean filing paperwork, serving customers, calling practitioners to clarify a prescription, or taking inventory.
If you are the kind of person who contributes constructively to group projects or works well within a structured system of command, you are probably already a good team player.
An Aptitude for Math and Technology
You don’t need to be Albert Einstein when it comes to math skills in order to successfully train for a role as a pharmacy technician. You do need to be comfortable working with numbers. In the pharmacy technician training program at Altierus Career College, we teach two classes in Medical Calculations, so you’ll learn applied mathematics skills you need to know to pursue pharmacy technician jobs. However, it does help if you already have an aptitude for things like keeping a budget, maintaining spreadsheets, or even solving sudoku puzzles.
In addition, pharmacy technicians work with various computer software programs to track prescriptions, payments, and customer records. To succeed as a pharmacy technician, you should also be comfortable learning and using new software programs.
An Appetite for Learning
Finally, the field of medicine changes constantly. To pursue a career as a pharmacy technician, you should have a genuine interest in medicine and be willing to continuously learn about it.
Your learning can begin with formal pharmacy technician training. At Altierus Career College, our 8-month Pharmacy Technician training program covers anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, healthcare law, insurance procedures, and much more. If you feel you have most of the qualities we have listed above and are interested in training to become a pharmacy technician, find out more about our program today.