As an aspiring pharmacy technician, you’ve made a smart career decision.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts employment opportunities for pharmacy techs will grow 7 percent from now through the next decade. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations in the United States.
But what does it take to join this profession? What educational training and occupational skills do you need?
Continue reading for a guide on how to become a pharmacy tech.
What Does a Pharm Tech Do?
Pharmacy technicians typically work in pharmacies, where they dispense prescription medication to customers. This involves:
Collecting and reading prescriptions from customers
Measuring medication amounts in accordance with prescriptions instructions
Packaging and labeling prescriptions
Receiving and processing payments from customers
Processing insurance claims
Answering customer questions
Maintaining accurate records of customer information
Taking instructions from pharmacists.
Now that you have a clear picture of the day to day duties of a pharmacy technician, let’s dive into the qualification requirements.
Get Professional Training
A decade or so ago, all you needed to become a pharmacy technician was a high school diploma. An employer would take you through extensive on-the-job training before giving you the job full-time.
Today, though, the job has become more specialized. Employers are looking for people with some professional training.
As such, the first step to becoming a pharmacy tech is to pursue a pharmacy technician diploma or associate’s degree. A diploma takes one year while an associate degree requires at least two years.
Regardless of the program you choose to pursue, you’ll certainly take classes in:
Medical and pharmaceutical technology
Pharmacy sterile and non-sterile compounding
Privacy laws and ethics
Pharmacy billing and reimbursement
Pharmacy management and operations
Pharmacy management software and recordkeeping.
Depending on the program, you may also be required to complete an externship. This is an opportunity to work in a typical work environment and earn real-life experience.
Nurture the Right Occupational Skills
In addition to this education, you also need to possess the right occupational skills.
For instance, you need strong attention to small details to be a competent pharm tech. The job involves reading prescriptions, measuring medications, and labeling packages, all of which require a high level of accuracy. Making a sight error, such as indicating an incorrect dosage, can have deadly consequences.
Since the job involves a lot of interactions with customers, strong customer service skills are a must. You must be able to pay attention to customers’ needs while providing the answers they need.
Other useful skills include: