Important Job Skills for Pharmacy Technicians

pharmacist and pharmacy technician looking at medication
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A pharmacy technician needs to have a well-rounded skill set to help patients with their medication needs.

A pharmacy technician assists the pharmacist in running the operation of the pharmacy, interacting professionally with customers and complying with regulatory laws. Pharmacy technicians may find work in a drugstore, grocery store, hospital, nursing home or other medical facilities.

Education and Training

Certification as a pharmacy technician (CPhT) is achieved by passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) and completing several hundred hours of training on-the-job comprising work with different prescription drugs, learning about pharmacy operations and adherence to ethical standards.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) accredits pharmacy technician programs which are available at community colleges and vocational schools. Most certificate programs can be completed within a year or less; associate degree programs usually take two years.

Job Responsibilities

  • Answering patients' questions and troubleshoot medication issues
  • Processing and filling prescriptions
  • Advocating for patients’ compliance with medication guidelines
  • Reporting drugs' adverse reactions
  • Maintaining relationships with physicians
  • Assisting in facilitating communication between the patient and insurance companies, doctors, nurses, and labs
  • Maintaining current notes and paperwork related to the patient’s drug therapy and pharmacy care plan
  • Reviewing medication orders and prescriptions and organizing medications for dispensing; preparing labels; calculating quantities, and preparing intravenous solutions
  • Checking pharmaceutical stock to assess inventory level; placing orders; removing outdated drugs
  • Complying with state and federal laws

What Skills Do You Need to be a Pharmacy Technician?

Important traits range from dependability and integrity to attention to detail and sound reporting skills, supporting their ultimate goal of ensuring that drug therapy is carried out safely and successfully.

Personal Traits

There are a number of soft skills that pharmacy techs must have. Otherwise, the technical skills hardly matter. For example, if you were to fail to listen to your customer and mix two prescriptions, results could be seriously injury or death to the patient. Additionally, technicians that fail to follow directions put their pharmacy manager or the pharmaceutical company in a bad place.

  • Accuracy
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Continual Learning
  • Dependability
  • Detail Orientation
  • Displaying a Positive Outlook 
  • Following Directions
  • Friendly Interactive Style
  • Multitasking
  • Mathematical Proficiency
  • Organizational Skills
  • Proficiency in Languages (especially Spanish and Mandarin)
  • Prioritizing Tasks
  • Problem Solving
  • Stress Management
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Verbal Communication
  • Working Quickly

Task-Related

Insurance, MedPay, and prescription accuracy are examples of industry-specific knowledge that pharmacy techs must master. Being able to understand medical history, read prescriptions, and adhere to billing protocols can be complicated, but it is a key part of pharmacology.

  • Calculating Insurance Coverage for Pharmacy Transactions
  • Checking Prescriptions for Accuracy Prior to Dispensing
  • Contacting Insurers to Clarify Coverage
  • Counting, Pouring and Mixing Pharmaceuticals
  • Entering Medication Histories
  • Filling Prescriptions Precisely According to Pharmacist's Specifications
  • Ordering Supplies

Interpersonal

As a pharmacy tech, you will often be working with customers that are in pain or recently discharged from a medical procedure. If a patient is still a little foggy from anesthesia, you must be able to understand how to direct the customer. Often, you may be employing help from a close friend or family member assisting your customer. Interpersonal skills ensure that customers feel cared for and help customers understand instructions for taking medication.

  • Customer Service
  • Explaining Directions for Prescriptions to Customers
  • Explaining Costs and Payment Options to Customers
  • Identifying Customer Questions and Concerns about Prescriptions
  • Maintaining a Professional Demeanor
  • Learning Medical and Pharmaceutical Terms
  • Preserving Patient Confidentiality
  • Supporting the Appeals Process to Overturn Insurance Denials
  • Referring Questions to Pharmacists

Technical

You must be able to read ingredients on a prescription, which requires a basic understanding of medicine and chemistry. Additionally, you will be using measuring equipment and industry-specific software. Therefore, you must take your technical skills seriously as a pharmacy tech. You are working with chemicals intended to heal the body or manage pain, and it is vital that you follow training guidelines and use equipment that assists you in accurately helping customers.

  • Knowledge of brand and generic drugs
  • Knowledge of medical terms, abbreviations and pharmacy calculations
  • Maintaining Pharmacy Equipment
  • Maintaining Records
  • Monitoring Supply of Drugs
  • Monitoring Prescription Inventory for Expired Drugs
  • Preparing Labels for Drug Bottles
  • Preparing Sterile Compounds
  • Processing Customer Payments
  • Reading and Interpreting Prescriptions and Pharmaceutical Literature
  • Replenishing Automated Dispensing Cabinets
  • Resolving Billing Discrepancies
  • Reviewing Expiration Dates on Drugs
  • Securing Inventory of Drugs
  • Selecting Appropriate Packing Materials
  • Staging Drug Deliveries
  • Software Proficiency: OP Robot and Bar-Code Station
  • Working with the TCG Packaging Machine

Review a Pharmacy Technician Resume Sample Focused on Skills

This is a sample resume written for pharmacy technician. You may simply read the sample below or download the Word template by clicking on the link.

Pharmacy Technician Resume Example (Text Version)

Dana Drugger
123 Deadwood Lane
Canyon, TX 29105
(123) 456-7890
dana.drugger@email.com

PHARMACY TECHNICIAN

Ensuring excellence in customer service and support in retail pharmacy settings

Experienced Pharmacy Technician drawing upon solid knowledge of brand and generic drugs to ensure accuracy in drug dispensing. Keen attention to detail complemented by superb communications skills; fluent in English and Spanish.

Key skills include: Customer Communications / Education • Insurance / Payment Processing • Inventory Tracking / Ordering • Prescription Filling & Quality Control • Medical Records Data Entry / Coding • Maintaining Patient Confidentiality

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

CVC PHARMACY, Canyon, TX
Pharmacy Technician (June 2015 – Present)
Meticulously process and fill prescriptions before educating patients in use and compliance with medication guidelines. Liaise effectively with physicians, labs, and insurance companies; assess pharmaceutical stock levels and remove outdated drugs. Key contributions:

  • Suggested implementation of stringent new processes for monitoring and forwarding patient reports of adverse reactions to authorities and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Trained and mentored new hires to ensure uncompromised compliance with regulatory laws.

WALMART PHARMACY, Canyon, TX
Pharmacy Technician (May 2012 – June 2015)
Reviewed medication orders and prescriptions and organized medications for dispensing; calculated quantities, prepared labels, and prepared intravenous solutions. Responded to patients’ questions, troubleshot medical issues, and facilitated billing processes. Key contributions:

  • Contributed to development of new inventory control system that optimized stock levels and greatly improved efficiency in disposing of outdated drugs.
  • Earned multiple “Employee of the Month” awards.

EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS

AMARILLO COLLEGE, Amarillo, TX
Graduate, Pharmacy Technician Program (ASHP/ACPE accredited program), May 2012

Certification: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Certified

Technical Proficiencies: Microsoft Office Suite • OP Robot • Bar-Code Station

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Relevant Skills to Your Resume: Be sure to highlight your most relevant skills in your resume summary and work history.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: Include the skills mentioned in the job posting in your cover letter.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: Be prepared to share examples of your skills during job interviews.