Traits of a Great Pharmacy Technician - How to Become One

Pharmacy Technician2 Comments

Traits of Great Pharmacy Technicians
Being “book smart” isn’t the main quality a pharmacist is looking for in a great technician. Don’t get me wrong—it’s important, but it is minuet compared to other qualities necessary to become a successful pharmacy technician. Something I have learned over my 11 years as a pharmacy technician is that it is harder to teach positive personality traits than to teach someone how to do the job. Knowing these key traits can help you have great success throughout your pharmacy technician career path.

Pharmacy technicians serve hundreds of people every day and encounter a lot of customers, both happy ones and those on the ornery side. Going into this career you need to expect this; however, there are behaviors you can portray that will help you stay positive and help the customers have good experiences with you. The number one thing you need to always have is a smile on your face. If you keep this in mind, you will have a better day and you just might make the customer have a better day too.

I actually prefer the “not-so-nice” customers. I know, sounds crazy. For me though it’s a really great challenge. If I can help turn the person’s frustration and anger around, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something and made a difference in their life. Nine out of ten times you will have that customer leave happy. People who smile under pressure will always be remembered by others. I’ve seen technicians who take the customer’s rudeness personally too often.  You usually don’t know what is going on in this person’s life. Maybe someone close to them just passed away. Perhaps they just found out they have cancer. A lot of times they have been in the ER all night and just want to go home. Having appropriate empathetic responses is important when working in a medical field. Regardless of their situation, being rude back or not showing empathy is really going to backfire. Take the initiative; take that person under your wing and make sure they are well taken care of.

Challenges will arise every day in the pharmacy. What should you do if you are extremely busy and have to tell customers dropping off their prescriptions that there is an hour’s wait? A lot of customers will be okay with this, as long as they receive an accurate time. There is nothing more frustrating to a customer than being told the wait is fifteen minutes when in reality it’s three times that. You will have customers dropping off who are really sick or they have a child with them who is really sick. If they tell you this, please don’t put them behind everyone else. I have seen this too often. It’s one of the most insensitive things you can do. This isn’t a first come, first serve situation; you need to know how to prioritize these customers. Follow every step of the prescription filling process until you know they’ve been taken care of. It’s all about multitasking and managing your time for this to happen efficiently.

It’s inevitable that you are going to work with some people who don’t pull their own weight. Don’t be one of them. Look around and see what needs to be done and do it. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do, and if you don’t know how to do something, ask. Have you ever walked into a pharmacy that has more than one cash register, and there’s a mile long line of customer’s waiting to pickup? You look in the pharmacy and you can see people standing around, technicians talking to each other, while the cashier is rushing around. Go above and beyond your normal duties, even when running the cash register. It really shows you care a lot, not just to your coworkers, but to the customers as well.  Great pharmacy technicians do not wait for someone to tell them what to do, they simply do it.

All in all, if you have a good work ethic, want to help people, and you’re a team player,  you should have no problem becoming a great pharmacy technician. “Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last”-Hamilton Holt

If you have a great work ethic and think a career in pharmacy could be the right fit for you, Career Step’s Pharmacy Technician program can help you build a strong foundation for a rewarding career.

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  1. Ben Gallardo March 14, 2014

    I am a recently trained Pharm Tech. I just got offered a full time job because of those traits you mentioned. Be a go getter and be better than you were yesterday.

  2. Breona July 13, 2014

    This is the exact reason why I love my job!! There are going to be techs that don’t feel the same as you do but make sure you stay positive and do what needs to be done. It will be recognized..

  3. Vivian October 07, 2014

    I’m looking into possibly becoming a Pharmacy Technician. Your article has helped me a lot! Thank you for what you do smile

  4. Girl August 10, 2015

    Being a pharmacy technician isn’t the easiest job to hold. It’s very challenging but rewarding when u finally have it all together.  multitasking, typin scripts,  dealing with insurances and rejects and really knowing ur medicines r the key.  I’ve been working at Walgreens pharmacy for five months now and I still don’t have it all down. I don’t even have the top 200 drugs memorized. It’s def not easy but if u work hard it’s very rewarding

  5. olusola olumide December 22, 2015

    hello i just started a pharm tech job at medplus pharmacy…..its not easy at all when customer comes around to ask for drugs in medical terms.i guess furstrated because at times the drugs are in front of me but because of a diffrent name in medical terms makes it not essy to locate…
    customers even stigmatize me by not been friendly but only to the pharmacist.
    am a g4radute of entrepenurail studies…....i hope i am appreciated the more though i have thwe oppurtunity of meeting the big wigs of nigerias

  6. Mimi December 22, 2015

    I’ve been a pharmacy technician for 8 months now.  It’s very hard. I forget the medicines because I work part time. Sometimes I don’t pay attention to detail and compared to my senior pharmacy technician, I’m awful. Any suggestions? I’m a full time student so it’s hard to put time in for studying meds

  7. Instructor Susan Tuckett December 28, 2015

    Give yourself some more time!  Eight months sounds like a long time, but it’s really not if you’re only working part time.  The senior tech has probably been working there for years so it’s not fair to compare your skills to her/him.  Hopefully soon you can work full time as a technician and really master all there is to learn.

  8. Christopher Prince Jr July 30, 2016

    The biggest threat to an upbeat , customer service oriented tech , is your very own colleagues especially if they see too much star power in you. Those personalities one has to deal with everyday , not just in and out like a customer

  9. mimmi August 12, 2016

    I’ve been a pharmacy technician at Walgreens for almost a year now. Recently, I transferred into a different store because I had to move. The new store manager is very judgemental. My previous manager was always nice and if I had any questions he would answer them.  My new manager scares me…I cant ask him for advice or guidance regarding insurance rejections because I get weird and annoyed looks from him. Just a very bad vibe.

    I know ive been with the company for almost a year now and I should know more than I do…It just makes me sad and very stressed. I compare myself to the other technicians and they all seem to know more than I do. They probably have worked as techs longer and worked more hours than me.

    Being a pharmacy technician is def a tough job specially if your manager isnt willing to help you learn.

  10. Career Step August 16, 2016

    Hi Mimmi,
    Thanks for reaching out to us!
    With transferring into a new store, it is always going to take some time to ‘fit in’ and to feel comfortable.  Continue to ask for help and advice because that’s how you’re going to learn.  Also, it’s not fair to compare yourself to the other techs in the store because, as you said, they have much more experience than you.  Soon it will be you with all the experience and you’ll find yourself mentoring brand new technicians.

    Best of luck!

  11. Tylor August 17, 2016

    I have an interview today for PT at Walgreens. Reading this article was really inspiring! Im still nervous but i think ill have a different perspective going into this interview. Thanks so much, God bless!

  12. Career Step August 18, 2016

    Hi Tylor,
    We are so glad this article was helpful—best of luck with your job interview!

  13. Jennifer January 27, 2017

    I have been looking into schools to become a pharmacy technician but i think instead i want a bachelors degree before i start any program. From experience, any advice? Or which major looks best or should i aim for before i join the program.
    Please and thank you

  14. Career Step February 06, 2017

    Hi Jennifer!
    Thank you for your question! We would encourage you to click the links featured in the above post or contact our team of Academic Advisors directly at 1-800-411-7073 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with any questions you might have. Hope you have a great week!

  15. Julie March 04, 2017

    Do you have any tips for speeding up my prescription filling process? I’ve worked for 3 months in a retail pharmacy, and I’m very accurate when I can take my time, but when several prescriptions need to be filled at the same time, I get stressed & make mistakes. Thanks.

  16. Dot March 28, 2017

    Julie, filling speed takes time and practice. In pharmacy accuracy can mean life or death.  Don’t rush or pressure yourself. Get practice when it’s not real busy and when it is busy, step aside and utilize your skills elsewhere. No matter what, don’t rush and risk potentially fatal mistakes. No stress, in Latin stress means “choke”



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