A Pharmacy Technician works under the direct supervision of a licensed Pharmacist. Although many Pharmacy Technicians receive only on-the-job training, Pharmacists generally prefer those who have completed an accredited training program and have passed a National Certification Exam.
1. Learn what skills you will need. IF YOU WISH TO GET A JOB AS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN, YOU SHOULD have good communication skills, enjoy working as part of a team, and be willing and able to follow directions exactly. You should also be organized, mentally alert and responsible. You must be physically fit, able to stand for most of the day, and interact with customers in a professional, knowledgeable and compassionate manner.
2. Be aware of the JOB PROSPECTS for Pharmacy Technicians. Prospects are good, especially for those with formal training and certification. If you are interested in this field, it would be wise to get some volunteer experience, preferably in a related medical field. Previous experience working as a Pharmacy Aide would be ideal. While you are in High School, it would be wise to strengthen your math, written, and verbal skills, and to take any related health or science courses available.
3. Understand your duties. As a Pharmacy Technician, you must be meticulous in your DUTIES. You will be handling drugs that have incredible curative potential if properly labeled and administered. Among other things, the Pharmacy Technician receives prescriptions, checks the supplied information, secures the proper medications, counts and packages pills and affixes correct labeling. After the Pharmacist has checked the prescription for accuracy, the Pharmacy Technician may deliver it to the customer. Pharmacy Technicians may also keep patient records, deal with the intake and storage of stock, and perform general administrative duties.
4. Train properly. As mentioned previously, some Pharmacy Technicians may have received only ON-THE-JOB TRAINING, Pharmacists definitely prefer those with more formal education. Although there are no Federal Requirements concerning training for Pharmacy Technicians, more states are beginning to demand it.
5. Get the best training available. FORMAL TRAINING can be taken in colleges, some hospitals, community colleges and the U.S. Military. Formal training covers both academic courses and practical applications. Some students have the opportunity to gain experience in actual pharmacies. Training courses cover, among others, subjects such as, terminology, ethics, pharmacy law, techniques, and record keeping. Depending on the length and complexity of the training taken, graduates receive a certificate or Associate’s degree.
6. Certify. After graduation, Pharmacy Technicians may take the National CERTIFICATION EXAM. If you have been hired for on-the-job training, it may be conditional to your obtaining certification. Under these circumstances, some employers will pay the cost of the certification exam. Though there is still on-the-job training, it is always preferable to get enroll in and graduate from a Pharmacy Technician training program before seeking employment.
7. Be aware of possible work locations. Pharmacy Technicians usually WORK IN independent pharmacies, drug chains, grocery stores, or department stores. A number also work in hospitals, internet pharmacies, or physicians offices. For information about Pharmacy Technician requirements in your area, speak to your local Pharmacist. For training programs, contact your local Community College, Technical College, or Recruiting Officer, if you are in the Armed Forces.