Looking for pharmacy technician jobs? As with any job search, it helps
to have "insider information." Some pros who have been working as
pharmacy techs for many years share their stories here.
By Dewayne Dorman, CPhT
My first duties in a retail pharmacy began after I had been working at Walgreens for 6 months. The store manager had pulled me aside and asked if I wanted to learn to be a cashier in the pharmacy on the weekends.
I was also called back to the pharmacy whenever an extra hand was needed. Within 6 months, I was only working in the pharmacy.
The pharmacy always seemed to have something going on. The rapid pace was tiring, but exhilarating as well.
I moved from cashier to technician in a short period of time. I was given duties in prescription entry at our drop-off window. Other roles included inventory control and, later on, the scheduling of cashiers and technicians.
One Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, I started my shift at 1 pm. The chief pharmacist pointed to the prescription drop-off window station. I was to accept prescriptions and enter them into the computer. I wasn’t to move from that station. By luck, a drug manufacturer sales representative came by offering a pizza. That became my lunch for the day.
Occasionally, a major employer in your service area will change prescription plans. This situation happened to occur to a local school district. The new plan became effective on the first of the month, which happened to fall on a Sunday. Several new customers came in to have their prescriptions filled but did not have the new plan identification card. Events such as this can be very stressful on the entire staff. Low staffing can also lead to stressful times.
A way to get pharmacy technician jobs is by starting with a position in the storefront. This will get you a foothold into the company and learn the systems. Companies will prefer to hire from within before going outside.
Showing initiative and a willingness to assist will go a long way in creating opportunities to advance. Increasing your computer skills will also help. It has taken me a long time to develop my touch typing. But I did learn how to use spreadsheets and databases. This allowed me to move from retail counter to the office desk.
One recommendation to increase your pay is to look for ways to improve processes. For instance, one metric used in retail is the volume of prescriptions filled. If a customer is buying insulin, then ask about contacting the doctor to get a prescription authorization for the insulin, needles, and alcohol swabs.
If the customer is monitoring blood glucose levels with a meter, then request prescriptions for the test strips and lancets. These may or may not be covered through the prescription plan; however, you can save your customers on the sales tax (in most states).
You just added five prescriptions per month to your pharmacy, or 60 prescriptions a year. Perform this for a few customers and this will add up. Make sure you point out to your supervisor how you increased sales for the pharmacy.
Dewayne started his career in pharmacy by working as a cashier, and was then promoted to pharmacy technician. After working in retail for 9 years, he then became a network manager for a cooperative of independent pharmacies. Dewayne met his future wife who worked at one of this company's vendors, then moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and continued in pharmacy in different areas including hospital inpatient, prior authorizations, pharmacy auditing, pharmacy operations, and formulary management. He earned a Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 2006. In 2008, he become an adjunct instructor in the pharmacy technician program for a career college. Dewayne lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and four children. He works from a home office with company-supplied equipment and services.
Click on the links below to read stories about other pharmacy technician
jobs. Learn from these tech's experiences to help you in your career.
Mark Holms in Indianapolis, IN: PO Tech in Institutional Pharmacy