Inside Pharmacy Technician Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Work Environment Makes All The Difference...
Work environment plays a huge role in job satisfaction. I thought being a pharmacy tech would feel like the same job from one store to the next. I loved the first pharmacy I worked in and thought all pharmacies would be similar. So I was very surprised when the next two stores I worked in were all kinds of disorganized and when I when I found myself in a hostile work environment and acting as a glorified cashier in the last place I worked." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Philosophy at I Didn't Take Any Courses To Directly Prepare Me For Being A Pharmacy Tech; I Studied On My Own And Sat For The Exam. I Later Attended The University Of Texas At Austin, But Not For Anything Healthcare -Related. in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"I was surprised how many different avenues this career could take me. I went from your typical "pill counter" to inventory specialist, to automation technician, to team leader, and now serving a role in lead RX admin operations for numerous pharmacies." (Certified Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: , male
School: Studied Cpht at Temple College in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 1999

"Jobs Should Not Be Taken Personally...
I was really surprised when my pharmacist told me one time to always respect whatever his decision was when giving 3-days worth of free medicine because there was no more refills left. I was also surprised that working does not have to be taken personally whatever hurtful things my co-workers or boss say to me." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Pharmacy Technology at Indian River State College in Florida; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"I was surprised that it takes little to no training to work in the pharmacy. As a pharmacy technician, though you may know something about a medication or related health care questions, telling patients this information is not allowed. We must always direct any question a patient has to the pharmacist in charge at the time." (Certified Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Chemistry at University Of North Carolina At Charlotte in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I was surprised to find that being a pharmacy technician meant communicating with nurses, doctors, and insurance companies daily. It is difficult to deal with patients that do not respect you, but showing them proper respect gets them to come back into the pharmacy and that is what really matters." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Pharmacy Operations at St. Louis College Of Pharmacy in Missouri; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"Hospital Pharmacy Setting VS. Pay...
Working as a Pharmacy tech I was surprised how much fun I could have in a hospital pharmacy. I was also surprised that the pay was much less than expected." (Pharmacy Technology; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Pharmacy Technology at Columbus Technical College in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 2009

"Customers Perception Of Pharmacy...
I was surprised at how much some customers under appreciate the work of pharmacists and their technician. Many people do not understand the intricate process of filling a prescription and all the scenarios and issues that can arise. Working in a pharmacy is a hectic and detailed job." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Health And Human Performance at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee; completed Diploma degree in 2012

"Amount Of Memorization Required...
I was surprised at how many abbreviations were necessary to learn. I was also surprised to learn how frequently the generic form of drugs are used in place of the name brand." (Quality Assurance Technician; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Certified Pharmacy Technician at University Of Akron in Ohio; completed Certificate degree in 2007

"Vast Opportunities...
I am surprised with all the additional opportunities that are available to Pharmacy Technicians. You can work in a retail pharmacy, filling prescriptions, or in a hospital pharmacy making IV's. You can also be promoted to a "Technician Supervisor" position." (Pharmacy Technician; 2014)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in New Mexico, female
School: Studied Pharmacy Technician at U.S. Air Force Vocational School in Texas; completed Certificate degree in 1986

"Healthcare Professionals Need A Heart Of Gold...
Individuals working in the healthcare field are surprised at how little the consumer population is educated about over the counter medicines. People working in the healthcare field are surprised at how patient and caring they must be with patients who are sick or elderly." (Pharmacy Technician, Clerk; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Sociology/ Psychology at Newberry College in South Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2003

"It's really all got to do with the kind of people and the geographical area where you work that determines if you're going to like your job. No matter how good you are at your job if you mainly deal with people of a certain ethnic persuasion different than you they will always try to walk over you and you have to stand up for yourself and protect your identity and be confident. Those kinds of people do not want to better themselves and are lazy and don't want you to do better than them. If you are in that situation then get out as soon as you can. I worked as a pharmacy technician for CVS and was the only white person who worked in the pharmacy. Well, let's just say that I was out of that hellhole after 6 months. I worked crap hours that weren't even decent making less hour rate than other techs that were not even PTCB certified. I was definitely discriminated against by my coworkers and boss. The store manager hated my boss and was it ironic that the store manager told me personally to use her as a reference and not the pharmacy manager. 1 month later I started my new full time job with a 10% pay increase at Rite Aid and I absolutely love my job. Some days after working all day long I feel so good that the time just flies by. I am 21 years old and a PTCB Certified CPhT living the good life!" (Certified Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, female
School: Studied PreMed/Biology at Maryville College in Tennessee; completed Associate degree in 2012

"It's a good profession but it's very difficult to land that first job, especially when you received very poor trainning at your school and they do not help you job search. It's a difficult career to get your foot in the door but once you do you will make good money." (Pharmacy Tech; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Health Care at IOT Institute Of Technology in California; completed Certificate degree in 2011

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Pharmacy Intern: "The best part is the satisfaction I get from helping others. Most of the patients really appreciate all the things we do for them. The worst is dealing with the customers who do not appreciate us and come in with bad moods. When they yell at us for things we can't control, like insurance issues, it gets really irritating. You need to have a lot of patience to work in a pharmacy because you are constantly dealing with people." (2011)

Certified Pharmacy Technician {Cpht}: "I love having my own work area, and it's a fun job. There is also so much more to learn, we have a customer service area, data entry, verification. Once I become proficient in one area I can ask to learn another area. I have been at my job 4 months now so I am still fairly new. The only thing I do not like is 3 days a week I have to work 12:30pm - 9:00pm. I would much rather work 8 - 4:30 all five days a week. Once I month I have to work for four hours on a Saturday morning but that is ok because it is overtime !" (2011)

Pharmacy Tech: "The best part about being a Pharmacy Technician in the Air Force is that it is never boring. You are always busy and time flies by very fast. The worst part of the job is that you are part of an elite defense team of the United States, which comes with the possibility of deployment overseas. A deployment of 90 days or more can be chaotic and stressful for a soldier that has a family. This must be weighed before applying for a position in the Air Force." (2011)

Certified Pharmacy Technician: "The best part of my job as a Certified Pharmacy Technician is working with and helping people. It is very rewarding to feel as though you have made a difference in someone else's life. The worst part of my job is that at times it can seem very demanding and thankless. Not everyone appreciates you help, time or effort. It can be frustrating but you have to let it roll off your back and move on." (2011)

Pharmacy Technician: "The best part of my career is that I get to help people. I enjoy being responsible for making sure that people get their medications in a timely fashion. It is the best when people express their gratitude for a job well done. I also enjoy being able to get all the work done. If you are very task oriented, this is a good job. It is a great feeling at the end of the day to know that all of the prescriptions are filled." (2011)

Career Background

Pharmacy Technician

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Learn It All...
If you would like to be a successful Pharmacy Technician, you should learn everything you can about being a technician. When assigned a job, don't just ignore everything else that happens around you. You never know when you might be presented with a different opportunity." (Pharmacy Technician; 2014)

"Try To Work In One Place...
Never replace the place where you work just because you encounter hardship. Because if you do, you never know the next place will have more villains." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

"Retail VS. Hospital Setting...
It is best to work in an independent pharmacy in retail if you can't get into a hospital setting." (Pharmacy Technology; 2013)

"Know Your Stuff And Be Kind To Strangers...
To be successful in a career working with the public in healthcare, you should learn to read labels of products commonly purchased by the public. Being successful in the healthcare profession involves a lot of time, hard work, and general caring for people of all ages, of all levels of education, and many diverse needs." (Pharmacy Technician, Clerk; 2013)

"Preparation For Pharmacy Job...
Someone looking into working inside a retail pharmacy needs to be superb at customer service and multi-tasking. Dealing with people's prescriptions is a much different process than going through the drive-thru for fast food. Careers in pharmacy are well-paying, but they do come at the price of being constantly busy and stressed." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

"Personal Life Plays A Part In Your Career...
Keep in mind that your personal life can affect your career in this field. A clean criminal background was required to get hired and maintain my job." (Quality Assurance Technician; 2013)

"Your Pharmacy Needs To Be A Good Fit...
Really study the pharmacies you're considering working in and take stock of the overall working environment. Really evaluate whether you will be a good fit. A job is not just a job; it's where you spend most of your waking hours, and if you are unhappy there, that unhappiness will bleed into the rest of your non-work life." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

"Variety Of Jobs...
There are really many different positions that can be had from being "just" in pharmacy." (Certified Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

"Shadow A Pharmacy Tech...
One tip I would give a student who is interested in being a pharmacy technician is to make sure that it is what you want to do by shadowing for a day. This is a way to make sure that you really want to do this before pursuing it as a career." (Certified Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

"Seek Out Difficulty...
Put yourself in as many difficult situations with customers as you can, it isn't fun, but it will give you experience so you can handle them on the fly. Don't expect someone to show you the ropes, you have to get in there and figure it out yourself, you may need to study up and find work experience opportunities outside of work hours." (Pharmacy Technician; 2013)

"Be Patient With All Customers...
Going to school and taking pharmacy classes is definitely helpful. Learning about the medications you are dispensing is important because many patients ask questions about them and it is helpful if you can answer without having to ask the pharmacist every time. Be patient. Many people come in and get mad because things don't go right. It isn't your fault most of the time and they just yell because they are angry. Just let it go. Also learn the rest of the store because customers always ask about other items in the store." (Pharmacy Intern; 2011)

"Get Certified To Earn More...
I would make sure get certified & registered in the state you are going to work in. You make more money, and I think in some states it is a law. Keep up your continuing education credits also. Every two years you have to prove that you are keeping up with learning credits." (Certified Pharmacy Technician {Cpht}; 2011)

"Present Yourself Professionally...
The key to success as Pharmacy Technician involves always presenting yourself in a professional way. This means getting plenty of sleep so you can be your best. The Air Force will take care of you as long as you follow the rules and have a strong work ethic. The structure in the military is extreme. You are always being watched and evaluated. Be alert and ready for action. Study and practice to become the best at what you do." (Pharmacy Tech; 2011)

"Shadow First...
My main piece of advice is to shadow or observe the job before you become a tech. Retail pharmacy isn't for everyone. Some states have age requirements for working in a pharmacy, but it is something that one could get into after high school and do while they are getting a college education. It is very helpful to be outgoing and optimistic in this career. It will help you reach people better and roll with the punches in the day to day process." (Certified Pharmacy Technician; 2011)

"Study To Be A Pharmacy Tech...
The best thing you can do is to take a course or a pharmacy technician program at your local college. It is not a long course, but it will give you the basics you need to succeed in a pharmacy technician career. It is also a good idea to make an appointment to take your test to get certified. Many places are making it mandatory and pretty soon it will be state mandated. Getting certified is a good credential to have. Also, on the job experience is the best way to truly get good at being a pharmacy technician." (Pharmacy Technician; 2011)