Pharmacy technicians prepare, dispense prescribed medicines, and manage drug inventory and billing insurance claims. If you are passionate about health care, medication research, helping others and seeing the impact you can have on helping improve patients’ lives, then becoming a pharmacy technician might be the right job for you. This guide will help you understand detailed information related to this job, and give you tips to prepare your resume. Now, let’s take a look at some of the resume examples.
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Job duties of a pharmacy technician
There are several duties that pharmacy technicians need to perform as their everyday tasks. Some of these duties are:
Receiving prescriptions from customers and doctors.
Preparing medicine by measuring and dispensing precise medication amounts.
Typing prescription details to create labels for packaging.
Accepting fees and dealing with cash transactions.
Maintaining inventory records and handling any shortage or excess stock.
Processing patients’ insurance claims.
Resolving and answering customer complaints and queries.
Pharmacy technician median salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians earn a median wage of $35,100 annually as of May 2020.
Top skills for a pharmacy technician
Getting a job as a pharmacy technician is highly competitive, so you need a stand out resume. These are the few skills that will make you more appealing to employers:
- Knowledge of pharmacy information systems: The use of technological tools helps prevent errors, manage inventory and track patient records and prescriptions. Pharmacists use information systems to dispatch drugs more efficiently and record patient information for future reference.
- Inventory management expertise: Managing inventory is essential for any pharmacy technician. These professionals increase efficiency and productivity by anticipating required treatments, removing outdated or expired medication and placing appropriate purchase orders.
- Competent at insurance billing: Pharmacy technicians deal with patients and health insurance providers constantly. They must learn to file claims and bills to these companies to receive their due compensation.
- Organizational skills: When they are not filling prescriptions or preparing and dispensing medicine, pharmacy technicians manage their inventory, tend to customers and look up insurance claims. They constantly juggle different tasks, so they must have a well-developed and organized system in place.
- Customer service skills: Empathy and politeness are two critical traits in pharmacy technicians. Like many health care professionals, you are constantly in between patients and insurance companies. It is your responsibility to listen to both sides and reach a consensus on the best course of action for both.
- Interactive proficiency: Another critical skill is the capacity to communicate information to customers effectively. Pharmacy technicians must sometimes explain how to effectively administer the medication they are dispatching and this requires you to be patient and understand the people you treat. If a person is not aware of administering their treatment correctly, it could lead to an overdose or an underdose and lead to health complications or even death.
Pharmacy technician education and certifications
DegreeTo work as a pharmacy technician, you must have graduated high school and have received a postsecondary education program accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). ASHP accredits pharmacy technician programs with a minimum of 600 hours of training.
Although not compulsory, a postsecondary training program will offer more insight into math, law and ethics used in pharmacy. These courses will also help you better understand the systems that govern the preparation and dispensing of medicines. Vocational schools and community colleges such as Clover Park Technical College, Cleveland Clinic and Renton Technical College offer ASHP accredited programs.
LicenseEach state has a different requirement for a pharmacy technician license, so you must communicate with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to understand a state’s requirements. Some states like Arizona or California have licensure requirements, while others like Pennsylvania or Colorado have no prerequisites.
CertificationWhile not mandatory, employers value certified pharmacy technicians over other professionals with no certificates. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offer this certification.
The Certified Pharmacy Technician certification (CPhT) from PTCB requires candidates to complete a recognized education program and have a minimum of 500 hours work experience. Likewise, the NHA also offers an exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). To be eligible to apply for this certification you must have completed a pharmacy education program within the last five years or have a minimum of one year of work experience with at least 1,200 hours of supervised pharmacy-related work in the past three years.
To keep their credentials, pharmacy technicians must renew their certification every two years by continuing education of at least 20 hours, including one hour in pharmacy law and one hour in patient safety.
Pharmacy technician resume-writing tips
After learning about the duties, skills, education and certification required of a pharmacy technician, all you need to do now is write an exceptional resume capable of intriguing the recruiters. Here are some tips for writing a great resume:
- Highlight your certifications: In some states, pharmacy technicians must be certified. It is necessary to mention your CPhT or ExCPT so that you may be eligible for recruitment. Even in states where certification is not mandatory, including certifications in your resume can make the recruiters prioritize your candidacy.
- Organize your skills: Focus on technical skills like inventory management or expertise in filling and dispensing prescriptions and soft skills such as communication or problem-solving skills. Instead of just mentioning these skills, it is more beneficial to provide details, as they can help the recruiters understand if you possess these skills.
- Quantify achievements: In the work experience section, you can flaunt your achievements and showcase your value to recruiters. Quantifying your achievements and results is necessary to prove your effectiveness and efficiency at work. If you write about your inventory management skills, then mention the percentage reduction in dispensing errors or your proficiency in handling insurance claims; you can write the number of claims resolved. Although not all your experiences can be presented in numbers, you should quantify as many as possible.
- Incorporate keywords: Many organizations use applicant tracking system (ATS) to scrutinize candidate resumes. Including keywords in your resume can help you get past an ATS. The best way to find and incorporate the right keywords is to look for them in the job description provided by the employer or study the information available on the company website. As a pharmacy technician, do not forget to include crucial keywords such as pharmacy information software, filling prescriptions or inventory monitoring.
What is the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacy assistant?
Pharmacy technicians work directly with customers by filling, preparing and dispensing the prescribed medicine. They are responsible for measuring, labeling and packaging medications. A pharmacy assistant cannot prepare or measure prescriptions; they are mainly responsible for answering phone calls or handling cash registers.
Where can pharmacy technicians work?
Being a health care support job, pharmacy technicians can work in various health care fields, like hospitals, nursing homes, retail pharmacies, assisted-living facilities, mental hospitals and other related health care fields. Some of the top organizations that hire pharmacy technicians are CVS Health, UnitedHealth Group, Costco Wholesale, Express Scripts, Walgreens and many others.
What are the advancement opportunities for a pharmacy technician?
A certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) has more career advancement opportunities. They can become a pharmacy technician supervisor, who instructs and manages other pharmacy technicians, the head of hospital pharmacy technician, or a director pharmacy technician. They can also become specialized pharmacy technicians in a specified field such as clinical, consultancy, compounding or home care pharmacy. With further education and training, a pharmacy technician can go on to become a pharmacist.