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Getting Started as a Pharmacy Tech

If you are attentive to detail, have good math, language and customer service skills and are a high school graduate, consider a position as a pharmacy technician. Learn to prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist as you gain experience in a field with job opportunities across the country.

Pharmacy tech positions may appeal to you because of the number of available positions, the schedule flexibility and the chance to get in on the ground floor and work your way up. Pharmacy tech positions can be full-time, part-time or as needed, and you may have the option of day, evening or even overnight hours at some locations. With a national certification and experience, you can easily find employment as a pharmacy tech in organizations across the United States.

Pharmacy technician is an entry-level career position, and while you should be able to find a position almost anywhere you relocate, your growth opportunities are limited without furthering your education. You may want to investigate other types of positions in the medical field and possibly work as a pharmacy tech while you obtain additional education or training. As a pharmacy tech, your tasks may include the following:

  • Providing service to physicians and patients via telephone, computer and in person
  • Verifying patient insurance
  • Learning medical terminology, read medication orders and prescriptions, prepare labels and calculate quantities
  • Assembling intravenous solutions and other pharmaceutical therapies
  • Understanding infection control policies and procedures
  • Learning inventory procedures and money handling skills

You may find pharmacy tech positions in businesses like the following:

  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Drug stores
  • Retail pharmacies
  • Specialty pharmacies
  • Online pharmacies
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets

Make sure to investigate opportunities with Military Spouse Employment Partnership employers who are interested in hiring military spouses to fill open positions. Make sure to let the following partners know you’re a military spouse if you apply for a position with their organization:

Although paid training programs and certifications for pharmacy techs are available, several major chains provide no-cost training programs and sponsor your certification as part of your employment. Military Spouse Employment Partnership employer Walgreens Co., Member of the Boots Alliance, with more than 7,500 locations, is an example of an organization that offers training and certification assistance to qualified pharmacy tech hires including the following:

  • Ongoing one-year orientation
  • ASHP Accredited Pharmacy Technician Training Program
  • Review classes, study materials and exam sponsorship to obtain the national PTCB Certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board
  • Free online courses to gain continuing education credit hours recognized by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education

Next steps

If you are considering a career as a pharmacy technician, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO website. Take the Strong Interest Explorer and Myers-Briggs assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path. Investigate whether you are eligible for My Career Advancement Account Scholarship assistance and use the Scholarship Finder to see if money is available to help fund any classes or certifications you might need.

Professional organizations and networking

Consider joining a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies and possibly continue your education through workshops and conferences. Networking with other professionals in your industry may help you find the connections you need to obtain an interview at your new location. They may give you more information about the field and suggest other networking contacts, which could lead to job openings.

Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career. Joining an association can assist you in forming the network connections you may need to find employment.

Call 800-342-9647 and speak with a career coach for assistance with choosing a school, finding scholarship funding, searching for a job or overcoming challenges.

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