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Getting Started as a Pharmacy Technician

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 technician positions may appeal to you because of the number of available positions and schedule flexibility. The 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 technician in organizations across the United States.

Pharmacy technician is an entry-level career position, and while you should be able to find a position in many locations, 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 technician while you obtain additional education or training. As a pharmacy technician, your tasks may include the following:

  • Providing service to physicians and patients via telephone, computer and in person
  • Verifying patient insurance
  • Learning medical terminology, reading medication orders and prescriptions, preparing labels and calculating 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 technician 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 companies and organizations that are committed to hiring military spouses to fill open positions. Search for open positions with hundreds of partner employers, that may include the following:

Although paid training programs and certifications for pharmacy technicians 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, with more than 7,500 locations in all 50 states, is an example of an organization that offers training and certification assistance to qualified pharmacy technician hires.

Next steps

If you are considering a career as a pharmacy technician, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Take the Strong Interest Explorer and Myers-Briggs self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with this career path. Investigate whether you are eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship 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.

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

Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 and speak with a SECO career coach for assistance with choosing a school, finding scholarship funding, searching for a job or overcoming challenges. You can also use the Live Chat feature on MySECO for additional guidance.

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