Unlike pharmacists that require 4-year college degrees, pharmacy technicians do not need any formal training to start work in pharmaceuticals. In fact, many technicians learn their skills on the job. Training can take several weeks or months, but they gain critical skills for accurate and pleasing customer service in either a hospital or retail setting.
Starting Out Simple
One of the largest parts of being a technician is customer service. Along with a pleasant smile and voice, you need to know how to operate the cash register and internal computer system. Because these are integral parts of a technician's day, the training often starts here. Technicians receive clients, pull their prescriptions and check them out. You may also need to answer phones. Many clients call to place prescriptions, making it critical to have good listening skills translated down onto a notepad. For the first few days, you may just help customers at the counter and on the phone. Schools cannot provide this experience in any classes.
Once the pharmacist feels you are ready, you start shadowing them for other job requirements. For example, you'll need to call particular doctors to verify a continued refill for a customer. There may be calls to insurance companies for payment needs. The pharmacist also shows you the physical inventory. Because you already understand the computer aspect of inventory, you now have another level of comprehension as you look through all the medications. You'll learn to fill prescriptions, according to the doctor's orders. Accuracy with pill counts is critical for this particular part of the job.
Gaining School Experience
Although on the job training is crucial for technician success, you may have a better career outlook if you add in programs and certification from a community or vocational school. For example, many vocational schools offer one-year programs. While you work at the pharmacy as a trainee, you gain textbook knowledge to back up your skill set. You can go even farther and earn a two-year degree, or associate's. Mixing experience with schooling only makes you more valuable to the pharmacy.
On the job training for a pharmacy technician position is a perfect way to enter the field. If you are not sure about committing to this career, the experience will give you the answer. Pharmacy technicians must care about their clients' health to maintain an accurate prescription count. Helping people is a core part of a technician's day.