To be a Pharmacy Technician: 9 Important Skills

How to be a Pharmacy Technician 9 Important Skills

I’ve always been interested in healthcare and helping people. At the start of my practical life, I started looking into “how to be a pharmacy technician”. It seemed like an exciting career where I can make a difference in people’s lives by helping them get the medications they need. But I wasn’t sure what the requirements were to become a pharmacy tech. So I did some research to find out what skills do you need to be a pharmacy technician.

What do you need to be a Pharmacy Technician

Skill 1: Educational Requirements

The first thing I learned is that formal education is usually required to be a pharmacy technician. Many employers prefer candidates who have completed a pharmacy technician training program. These programs are usually offered by vocational schools or community colleges and take 9-12 months to complete. They provide both classroom education and hands-on training.

The coursework typically covers topics like pharmacy law, terminology, calculations, and recordkeeping. Students also learn about different medications and how to assist pharmacists by reviewing prescriptions, measuring medications, and providing customer service. Completing one of these pharmacy technician programs is an important step to becoming a pharmacy tech.

Some states and employers may also require pharmacy technicians to be certified. There are two main national certification exams: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). These certifications demonstrate to employers that you have the knowledge and skills needed to be a pharmacy technician. The requirements to take these exams usually include completing a training program or having on-the-job experience.

So finding a quality pharmacy technician program is essential to getting the education I need to be a pharmacy technician. Making sure the program is accredited and covers key areas like medical terminology and pharmacy law will help prepare me for a career as a pharmacy tech.

Skill 2: Licensure Requirements

In addition to education and certification, pharmacy technicians also need to be licensed in most states. Each state has its own requirements for licensure. Some states require national certification to get a pharmacy tech license. Others may require completing a training program, passing a state exam, or having a certain number of hours of pharmacy experience.

It’s important that I look up the specific licensure requirements for the state where I want to work. Meeting these requirements and getting my pharmacy tech license will allow me to legally practice as a pharmacy technician. The licensure process often includes passing a background check, which is standard for many healthcare roles.

Obtaining proper licensure is a critical step to becoming a practicing pharmacy technician. It shows that I’ve met my state’s standards to provide pharmacy services. Keeping my license current by renewing it regularly is also essential to maintain my career as a pharmacy tech.

Skill 3: Strong Communication Skills

To be successful as a pharmacy technician, I’ll need excellent communication abilities. Pharmacy techs interact constantly with patients, pharmacists, and healthcare professionals. I must be able to listen attentively to understand patient needs, explain medication directions clearly, and communicate effectively with the pharmacy team.

Strong customer service skills are also important. I’ll be assisting patients at the counter and on the phone to answer their questions, take prescription orders, and provide quality care. Having empathy, patience, and a helpful attitude go a long way when working with patients!

So improving my verbal and written communication is key. I can practice by taking phone calls and writing notes. Building these skills will help me thrive as a pharmacy technician where clear communication is a must.

Attention to detail, Accuracy, Math skills, Communication skills, Customer service skills, Ability to work independently and as part of a team, Ability to follow directions, Ability to learn new information quickly

— Skills you need to be a Pharmacy Technician

Skill 4: Organizational Skills

Pharmacy technicians must stay organized to effectively manage prescriptions and medication inventory. From double-checking drug dosages to verifying patient information, attention to detail is crucial. Organization and recordkeeping skills allow pharmacy techs to ensure medications are dispensed accurately.

I’ll need to be able to prioritize tasks and keep calm under pressure, especially when working in a busy pharmacy. Administrative skills like data entry, documentation, and computer competency are also important. Developing organizational habits and systems will help me stay efficient and minimize errors as a pharmacy technician.

Practicing entering patient data, filing records alphabetically, and using pharmacy management software can help boost my organizational abilities. Strong organization and attention to detail help pharmacy techs safely and effectively assist pharmacists and care for patients.

Skill 5: Math and Science Skills

Working in a pharmacy requires mathematical, scientific, and technical knowledge. Pharmacy technicians need a solid foundation in subjects like chemistry, biology, anatomy and physiology, and algebra. This helps when interpreting prescriptions, understanding medications, calculating dosages, and compounding drugs.

Building my math skills is essential to effectively perform the measurements, dilutions, and dosage conversions that pharmacy techs handle. I’ll need to be meticulous when checking measurements and drug quantities. Brushing up on math formulas, chemistry concepts, and medical terms through courses or self-study is great preparation for the mathematical aspects of being a pharmacy technician.

Skill 6: Willingness to Learn

As a pharmacy tech, I’ll be constantly learning new skills and health information. Pharmacy is a field that is continually evolving. Being willing to regularly enrich my knowledge is crucial. This allows me to provide the best care and advice to patients.

I look forward to taking courses and seminars to keep my knowledge current. Reading pharmacy publications and studying new medications, treatments, and regulations will help me stay up-to-date. A curiosity to keep learning throughout my career will keep me at the top of my game as a pharmacy technician.

Skill 7: Teamwork Abilities

Pharmacy technicians work closely alongside pharmacists, nurses, and doctors. Having strong teamwork skills allows me to collaborate effectively with the healthcare team. I’ll need to clearly communicate issues, ask questions when needed, and ensure smooth pharmacy operations.

Being able to work independently when required is also important. Pharmacy techs must take initiative to complete tasks accurately and efficiently sometimes without direct supervision. But being accountable and knowing when to ask for help contributes to productive teamwork.

My people skills like cooperation, patience, and reliability will all be valuable assets as a pharmacy technician. Working cohesively with the pharmacy and medical staff leads to better care and outcomes for patients.

Skill 8: Accuracy and Precision

To avoid potentially harmful medication errors, pharmacy technicians must work with precision and accuracy. Carefully entering patient data, measuring medications, and doing quality assurance checks ensures I get things right the first time. Double checking my work helps prevent mix-ups that could impact someone’s health.

I’ll need to be observant and mindful when preparing prescriptions and dosages. Following procedures meticulously and never cutting corners maintains the pharmacy’s safety standards. Having solid technical skills along with good judgment keeps patients safe and gives doctors and pharmacists confidence in my abilities.

Skill 9: Ethics and Confidentiality

High ethical standards are crucial as a pharmacy technician. I will be trusted with sensitive patient information and have access to prescription medications. Integrity and honesty are essential to earn that trust and uphold professional principles.

Strictly following privacy laws like HIPAA is required to protect patient confidentiality. I must also adhere to pharmacy regulations and display responsible behavior. Having genuine compassion and care for people will guide me to make ethical choices.

Completing ethics training ensures I understand appropriate conduct as a pharmacy tech. Accountability, maturity, and high moral standards are prerequisites for this vital healthcare role.

To be a Pharmacy Technician – At a Glance

EducationMost pharmacy technicians have a high school diploma and complete a formal training program. Common programs include: 
– Pharmacy technician certificate (9-12 months)
– Associate’s degree in pharmacy technology (2 years)
CertificationVoluntary national certification shows proficiency. Top exams are:
– Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCB)
– Exam for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT)
LicensureMajority of states require pharmacy techs to be licensed. Must meet requirements like: 
– Completing a training program
– Passing a state exam
– Background checks
SkillsKey skills needed include:
– Communication abilities 
– Organization
– Detail-orientation
– Math and science aptitude
– Teamwork
Continuing EducationMany states mandate ongoing CEU credits to maintain pharmacy tech license. Keeps knowledge current.
Work ExperienceSome states allow work experience to qualify for license. 500-1000 hours of supervised pharmacy work common.
Drug TestingPre-employment and random drug tests typical for pharmacy techs handling medications. Ensures responsibility.

For Further Reading

Pharmacy Technician Degree Required

If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, you might wonder if a degree is required. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a degree to start a career in this field. Many pharmacy technicians enter the profession with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training. However, obtaining a pharmacy technician degree can enhance your knowledge and skills, making you a more competitive candidate in the job market. Pursuing a degree can also open up opportunities for career advancement and higher salaries.

Pharmacy Technician License Facts

Before working as a pharmacy technician, it’s important to understand the facts about pharmacy technician licensure. Licensing requirements vary by state, and it’s crucial to comply with the regulations set by your state’s pharmacy board. This article on pharmacy technician license facts provides comprehensive information on the steps involved in obtaining a pharmacy technician license, including the educational requirements, background checks, and examinations. By familiarizing yourself with these facts, you can ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria and successfully acquire your pharmacy technician license.

Transfer Pharmacy Technician License

If you’re a licensed pharmacy technician planning to move to a different state, you might need to transfer your license to continue practicing in your new location. The process of transferring a pharmacy technician license involves meeting specific requirements set by the new state’s pharmacy board. Understanding the necessary steps and documentation is crucial to ensure a smooth transition. To learn more about how to transfer pharmacy technician license, visit the article for a detailed guide on the process.

Pharmacy Technician Certification

Obtaining pharmacy technician certification is a valuable step towards advancing your career and showcasing your expertise. Certification demonstrates your commitment to professionalism and ensures you possess the necessary knowledge and skills to perform your duties effectively. The article on pharmacy technician certification delves into the importance of certification and provides information on various certification programs available for pharmacy technicians. Explore the benefits of becoming a certified pharmacy technician and learn how to boost your credentials in the field.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Duration

If you’re considering pursuing pharmacy technician certification, you may be curious about the duration of the certification process. The length of time it takes to become a certified pharmacy technician can vary depending on several factors, such as the program you choose and your availability for studying and preparing for the certification exam. The article on pharmacy technician certification duration outlines the typical duration of certification programs and provides insights into the different options available. Discover the certification path that suits your needs and start your journey towards professional recognition.

Pharmacy Technicians Need a Degree

While a degree is not always a requirement to become a pharmacy technician, having a formal education can significantly benefit your career prospects. A degree equips you with comprehensive knowledge of pharmacy operations, pharmaceutical calculations, and medication safety, among other essential topics. This article on why pharmacy technicians need a degree explores the advantages of earning a degree as a pharmacy technician, making you a more competitive candidate in the job market and opening doors to advanced roles within the pharmacy field.

Get Pharmacy Technician License

Obtaining a pharmacy technician license is a crucial step towards starting your career in this field. To become a licensed pharmacy technician, you must meet specific requirements set by your state’s pharmacy board. This informative article on how to get pharmacy technician license provides detailed information on the steps involved in obtaining a license, from completing the required education and training to passing the licensure exam. Familiarize yourself with the process to ensure a smooth and successful journey towards becoming a licensed pharmacy technician.

Pharmacy Technician License Online

If you’re interested in pursuing a pharmacy technician license, you might wonder if it’s possible to complete the process online. While some aspects of pharmacy technician education and training can be done online, the licensure process typically involves certain in-person requirements, such as exams and background checks. To understand the limitations and possibilities of obtaining a pharmacy technician license online, read this insightful article on pharmacy technician license online. Learn about the online resources available and how they can contribute to your career development.

Cost of Pharmacy Technician Certification

When considering pharmacy technician certification, it’s essential to understand the associated costs. The article on cost of pharmacy technician certification provides a comprehensive breakdown of the expenses involved in pursuing certification, including exam fees, study materials, and potential additional costs. By evaluating the costs associated with certification, you can plan your finances accordingly and make informed decisions about your career advancement.

Pharmacy Technician Education

A solid education is crucial for a successful career as a pharmacy technician. This article on pharmacy technician education explores the educational pathways available to aspiring pharmacy technicians, including formal degree programs, vocational training, and online courses. Learn about the topics covered in pharmacy technician education and discover the various options for acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for this profession.

Pharmacy Technician Qualifications

Understanding the qualifications required to become a pharmacy technician is essential when embarking on this career path. This article on pharmacy technician qualifications provides an in-depth overview of the qualifications and traits that make a successful pharmacy technician. From educational requirements to personal attributes, learn about the key qualifications that employers seek in pharmacy technician candidates.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam

The pharmacy technician certification exam is a crucial step towards achieving professional certification in this field. This exam assesses your knowledge and skills in various areas related to pharmacy practice. To prepare for the certification exam, it’s essential to understand its format, content, and study resources. The article on pharmacy technician certification exam provides valuable information on the exam structure and offers tips for effective preparation. Familiarize yourself with the certification exam to increase your chances of success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What degree do I need to be a pharmacy technician?
Formal pharmacy technician education is usually required. This typically involves completing a training program that takes 9-12 months. Many employers prefer applicants who have an associate’s degree or certificate from an accredited pharmacy technician program.

Do pharmacy technicians need to be certified?
Certification is recommended as it shows you have the knowledge and abilities to be a pharmacy tech. The two main national certification exams are the PTCE and ExCPT. Some states mandate certification for licensure. Major pharmacy employers often require certification as well.

How long does it take to become a certified pharmacy technician?
Completing a pharmacy technician certificate program takes about a year if you attend full time. This provides the education needed to be eligible for certification. You can then take one of the national certification exams. The whole process of training and getting certified can be done in 12-18 months.

What qualifications do you need to work in pharmacy?
The minimum requirements are a high school diploma or equivalent and on-the-job training. However, most pharmacy technicians complete a training program or associate’s degree. Having an accredited pharmacy tech certification is highly recommended. Communication skills, attention to detail, ethics, and teamwork abilities are also essential.

Is being a pharmacy tech hard?
The role does involve complexity when learning medical terms, pharmacy procedures, calculations, and medications. But a quality training program along with determination and focus will set you up for success. Practicing math, technical skills, and communication can help you thrive as a pharmacy technician.

Do pharmacy technicians get drug tested?
Yes, most pharmacy employers require pre-employment and random drug testing for pharmacy technicians. Drug tests are standard for healthcare roles with medication access to ensure a safe environment. Pharmacy techs must demonstrate responsibility and integrity when handling prescription drugs.

How long does pharmacy technician training take?
A pharmacy technician certificate or training program takes approximately 9-12 months to complete. Some accelerated programs



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