Now is a good time to be a pharmacy technician in the US.
The BLS has projected that employment of pharmacy technicians will grow by 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. This is as fast as the average growth expected across all occupations.
In this guide, we’ll cover how to get a pharmacy technician job when you’re just starting out.
Job Opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians
If you’re seeking a pharmacy tech job, the good news is that there are plenty of different options. Pharmacy techs work in hospitals, retail pharmacies, compounding pharmacies, and care homes, as well as in other settings.
10 Essential Tips for Getting Your First Pharmacy Technician Job
Know What’s Required of You
The first step on your journey to securing a pharmacy technician position is to work out exactly what the requirements are for this role.
This isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds, as the requirements differ from state to state or employer to employer. Gaining a PCTB certification could be mandatory before you begin operating. Though some states — such as Colorado — have no certification requirements for pharm techs, that doesn’t mean an employer in Colorado won’t still require it.
Master the Essential Skills
As a first-time pharm tech, you might not have any real-world experience in a pharmacy setting unless you completed an on-site externship, such as those offered by UMA as part of its pharmacy technician program.
If you’re wondering how to get a pharmacy technician job without experience, mastering essential skills before applying is a large part of the answer.
Depending on where you’re aiming to work, essential skills could include:
- Data entry
- Retail skills
- Insurance knowledge
- Customer billing
- Compassion and patience
If you can hone these skills ahead of your application and demonstrate you know how to work in a pharmacy, even if you’ve never done it before, this can raise your profile in the eyes of potential employers. However, if you’ve completed a pharmacy technician education and certification, your chances might be better.
Demonstrate Great Customer Service Skills
Customer service skills will provide a significant boost to your pharm tech resume, given that the role tends to be customer- and patient-facing.
Whatever situation you find yourself in, as a pharm tech you’ll be required to remain calm, patient, and positive.
Fortunately, these skills can be developed in almost all walks of life prior to selecting this profession, so try to gain experience in client-facing roles.
Gain Relevant Experience
Relevant experience isn't always a prerequisite to becoming a pharmacy technician, yet like in any competitive industry, getting experience can significantly support your bid to land a job.
One way to gain this experience if you're starting out, is by choosing a pharm tech program that includes an on-site externship, such as those offered by UMA.
Take Pharmacy Technician Training
Pharmacy technician training is a prerequisite in many states but pharm techs in those states where it isn’t mandatory should still look to complete an educational program.
Why? Because the knowledge and experience offered by pharm tech programs will be invaluable to future employers and could put you head and shoulders above other candidates who have not completed one.
UMA has an online associate degree that provides a solid educational platform and preparation from which to pursue entry-level roles.
Pass the PTCE
The PTCE is an exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
Passing the exam will make you a certified pharmacy technician, and tells employers that you know your stuff, thereby enhancing your career prospects.
Furthermore, being certified in this way is often a requirement of working as a pharmacy technician in your state.
Take a Job Readiness Class
Job readiness classes are specifically designed to prepare you for applying for new positions.
You'll learn how to dress appropriately for your interview, as well as how to conduct yourself professionally, and come across positively.
Network, Offer to Volunteer, and Keep Your Ear to the Ground
Network with people in the industry and be on the lookout for any other opportunities that'll help you land your first pharmacy technician job.
Consider joining professional bodies such as the National Pharmacy Technician Association and attend conferences and networking events.
Leverage the Power of the Internet
There are three main ways to leverage the internet on your search for a pharm tech job:
In terms of the research phase of your application, it’s worth performing a search for “pharmacy tech resume sample' in order to check that you’ve included all the relevant information and structured your own pharmacy technician resume appropriately.
Prepare Your Answers to Interview Questions
Interview preparation is instrumental when it comes to how to get a pharmacy tech job.
Conduct research into typical pharm tech interview questions so you can over-prepare your answers and help calm your nerves on the big day!
Time to Start Applying!
The outlook for pharm tech jobs is positive but remember that you’ve chosen to enter a competitive field.
Give yourself an advantage by ensuring you’re well-prepared to become a pharmacy technician ahead of your application and interview.
Keep these tips in mind and you should have everything you need to pursue your first job as a pharmacy technician. Good luck!
If you’ve not completed the relevant education yet, click here to learn about UMA’s pharmacy technician program and how we can help you.