Janet kept up a few shifts at a local pharmacy during the weekends to continue to gain hands-on experience, and accepted an internship at Walgreens upon graduating. Since then, she’s worked her way up to a management position, and is helping aspiring pharmacy technicians get real-world training through the Madison School of Healthcare’s externship program.
Janet talked with Madison about her experience in the field, what employers look for in a pharmacy technician, and other tips for breaking into this growing profession.
Why is the need for pharmacy technicians growing?
The role of pharmacists is changing to be more clinically focused, so the role and responsibilities for pharmacy technicians are also evolving. In the near future, I expect pharmacists will be even more removed from the traditional role of a druggist and will be more focused on patient outcomes and adherence.
[This is largely because] individuals are taking more medication on average than ever before, and more of the population is reaching the age where they are required to take long-term maintenance medications.
For that reason alone, competent technicians are going to be invaluable. We’re going to need more technicians to be able to accurately and efficiently fill prescriptions.
What traits/characteristics are beneficial for a pharmacy technician to have?
Pharmacy technicians need to be hardworking, efficient, knowledgeable, interpersonal, empathetic, and, by far, be capable of fluidity. They have to be able to rise to the occasion at a moment’s notice.
What are some of the important tasks and duties that a pharmacy technician should be prepared to handle?
They handle everything from the time a patient comes in until that patient leaves with their prescription. Processing prescriptions, handling billing, and interacting with providers without error are all part of the job. They also play a key role in inventory management. Most importantly, technicians have to maintain customer satisfaction and retention in a retail setting.
Why is it important to get experience (e.g. training programs, internship programs) when pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician?
It’s beneficial to see if they fit the profession and the profession fits them. I also feel that it makes them far more prepared to be an asset at the very start. They invested time to be there, so hopefully they are sure that this is what they want to do.
What do employers look for in a potential hire?
Ultimately, we are looking for someone we can expect to be a valuable asset 5, 10 or 25 years from now. [Candidates should be] professional, punctual, efficient, and adaptable. We want someone who is coachable and can grow in the role.
Want to read more stories like this?