What to Know Before Applying For a Pharmacy Technician Job
by Tiana McGee, CPhT
Imagine yourself wearing a white smock or fancy-designed scrubs in a pharmacy and standing tall and confident, preparing medication for a patient who always looks for you to wait on them. Or imagine speaking with physicians and nurses in the most professional language. All the while working with the coolest and most detailed pharmacist ever. That sounds like a dream job, right? Let’s stop daydreaming for a second and realize that before you experience any of this, you’ll first need to fill out an application, and there it is; the bubble has burst.
Now many will not find joy in filling out job applications. Along with the application process? Whew! That can be a bit much. Makes you wonder why an employer would take a resume but still request a 10-page application containing the same information. Is it worth it? Many times, the answer is yes. So, before you start, ensure you know some worthy information about that “dream job.” In this blog, I’ll give you five things you would want to know before applying for a pharmacy technician job.
- Know the skills and responsibilities required to be a pharmacy technician within a particular career path.
- All pharmacy technicians mostly perform the same duties in different practices. Yet, how that wide range of tasks is carried out in each setting will differ. For example, in retail settings, a technician must operate a cash register accurately, yet in an institutional pharmacy, no cash registers exist, but medication crash carts do. Remember to look at the demands of the position and know exactly what the daily activities will look like. This will enable you to get an idea of how your workflow day will be.
- Know the pharmacy licensing and certification requirements within the state you would like to work in.
- It would be pretty dreadful to find out you didn’t have the authorization to work as a pharmacy tech. Find out what credentials are required in the state where you’d like to work. Find out if a license or a certification is needed or both. Most states only require a license to work, with accreditation being required later. Many place certification as the primary credential, and then a handful of states don’t regulate pharmacy technicians.
- Know more about the company you’re applying to and not just their name.
- Of course, we’ve all visited the neighborhood retail pharmacy, usually because it’s convenient. We may even know someone who had a baby at the hospital within the community. However, how much about those companies do you know? Find out the goals and direction of the business. Investigate how they treat their patients and what they do to promote health and care. Find out their reputation within the community; if it’s not good, what is their plan of action to correct it? Working for a respected employer could mean a lot for you in maintaining employment.
- Know the salaries associated with the position at starting, mid, or advanced level.
- This is a big one! Be realistic about what level you are as a pharmacy technician and if your skillset will match the pay scale from what is being offered. If you are starting, please don’t expect a top-level salary; you need to gain experience and grow. On the other hand, if you are an experienced pharmacy technician with excellent references behind your name, negotiating your pay is the right thing to do. If you know your worth and can back it up, consider the scope of the job, the setting, and your mastery of those skills required.
- Know the career potential within the company and the field.
- Pharmacy has different career avenues, so make sure you know what options you have so you can grow. Set up a 1-year plan, a 5-year plan, and even a 10- year plan. Always have a goal in mind of where you would like to be. Maybe it’s being promoted or branching out into a different setting. It could even be a different role within healthcare, with pharmacy as a stepping-stone.
With these five things to know before applying for a pharmacy technician job, you are starting your career on the right foot. Of course, these are not exclusive, but they are super important. Having a solid foundation in the direction of your career will increase your confidence in landing that dream job. Now, all you have to do is nail that interview; but that’s for another blog.