Pharmacy professionals play a substantial role in quality patient care. The work done by pharmacy technicians helps ensure the effective and safe distribution and use of prescribed medications. Without them, patients could take medications improperly, which could cause mild to severe consequences for the patients.
As an important member of a pharmacy’s team, the role of the pharmacy technician is to keep pharmacies operating efficiently through patient-facing and behind-the-scenes work, from patient consulting to data management. Pharmacy technicians have rewarding jobs and are in steady demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 6% job growth for pharmacy technicians between 2022 and 2032 — double the average growth projected for all professions.
To be successful in this role, pharmacy technicians must have a specific skill set. These core competencies enable them to successfully handle the job’s multifaceted duties with confidence. One important step in developing pharmacy technician skills is to enroll in a healthcare tech training program.
What Is a Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians handle the intricacies of a pharmacy’s operations. This ranges from receiving and filling prescription orders to preparing and maintaining any equipment used in the pharmacy. They also act as patient advocates who answer questions, troubleshoot problems, and are familiar with the challenges of various health conditions. Pharmacy technicians must interact with patients, comply with regulatory laws, and help pharmacists with drug therapy and other care-related tasks, such as billing and inventory management.
Pharmacy technicians are employed by drugstores, grocery stores, hospitals, nursing homes, and other types of medical facilities such as compounding pharmacies. While they don’t have the most physically demanding job in the healthcare field, pharmacy technicians must still be in good shape to handle the many elements the job entails.
Since many employers only hire certified pharmacy technicians, program graduates should plan to obtain certification through an organization such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcareer Association. Additionally, individuals typically must complete several hundred hours of on-the-job training before being allowed to work one-on-one with the pharmacist.
5 Pharmacy Technician Skill Types
Because they help patients with a range of medication needs, pharmacy technicians must have a well-rounded skill set, which includes a mix of hard and soft skills.
1. Pharmaceutical Skills
Several of the competencies associated with the pharmacy technician role directly involve pharmaceuticals, such as understanding prescriptions, being able to calculate prescriptions, and understanding the difference between branded and generic drugs. Others correlate to the operational side of pharmacy management, such as being able to track inventory, maintain equipment, and dispose of expired drugs.
Additionally, pharmacy technicians must understand the legal compliance issues associated with healthcare and pharmaceuticals, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliance. All of these tasks require accuracy, attention to detail, dependability, integrity, mathematical proficiency, and the ability to multitask.
2. Technology Skills
Pharmacy technicians interact with technological systems to complete essential tasks, such as recording patient information, tracking inventory, and handling insurance claims. This requires them to be adept at basic software programs and industry-specific applications, such as appointment-scheduling software. It also requires them to be comfortable with using computers.
3. Administrative Skills
Some of the most important pharmacy technician skills focus on the business side of pharmacy operations. These skills typically have a connection to pharmaceuticals, such as being able to check prescriptions and determine insurance coverage. Other skills focus on operational functions, such as being able to order supplies.
4. Interpersonal Skills
Pharmacy technicians must interact with other professionals and patients. This means interpersonal competencies such as conflict resolution capabilities, professionalism, and customer service skills are essential to job success. These skills are particularly important when discussing critical matters with patients, such as breaking down pharmaceutical costs or explaining medical directions.
5. Soft Skills
The soft skills needed to succeed as a pharmacy technician relate to personal characteristics, and they are at the core of performing the job at an optimal level. These soft skills include communication, critical thinking, detail orientation, organization, time management, and teamwork.
Pharmacy technicians must be able to work flexible hours, pass a drug test, and maintain patient confidentiality, and they should be able to type at least 30 words per minute. The job also has certain physical demands, such as being able to lift, push, or pull up to 10 pounds; sort small tablets; and stand for long periods of time.
Benefits of a Pharmacy Technician Training Program
Enrolling in a pharmacy technician training program can help individuals polish the pharmacy technician skills needed to be successful in the role. A training program can help aspiring pharmacy technicians prepare to enter the healthcare sector, a unique sector that provides individuals with the opportunity to have a direct impact on patients’ health and well-being.
These programs typically offer a mix of classroom and hands-on training, allowing students to gain experience in a controlled setting. Additionally, a training program can help prepare students for certification, which can provide them with further validation of their knowledge and skills and potentially lead to a broader range of job opportunities.
Become a Key Part of Quality Care
A pharmacy technician skills training program will prepare them to perform their jobs at a very high level of proficiency. More importantly, they can make it possible for pharmacy technicians to be a key contributor to quality healthcare delivery. Their work can have a direct and positive impact on patients’ lives, which makes this a satisfying career choice.
Fortis’ healthcare technologist and technician training programs can help guide you toward this remarkable career. We offer pharmacy technician programs at several campuses in Alabama, Louisiana, and Maryland, each designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. Learn how we can help you get started on a career in a great profession.