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What Skills are Needed to Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for pharmacy technicians will increase by 20% before the year 2022, which is faster than average for all other occupations. While the work of a pharmacy technician may appear easy, it actually requires a certain set of skills in order to become proficient. Here are some skills that are very essential for anyone who wishes to become a certified pharmacy technician.

certified pharmacy technicianMath Skills

Having good math skills is essential for any pharmacy technician. Not only must pharmacy techs count and distribute pills, but they must also perform certain other tasks that will require doing math in their head, such as:

  • Weighing medications
  • Calculating dosages
  • Measuring liquid formulas

Attention to Detail

Pharmacy technicians must be extremely accurate when dispensing medications; otherwise, a patient’s health could be in jeopardy. For this reason, technicians must always pay careful attention to detail, even when under a great deal of pressure. Pharmacy techs often check and recheck their work multiple times to ensure accuracy.

Ability to Communicate

During the course of a normal business day, pharmacy technicians will speak with everyone from doctors and other healthcare professionals to patients with disabilities. As such, it is important they be able to communicate well with people from all walks of life, both verbally and in writing. Not only must they communicate well, but they must do so in a way that allows every person to be treated with dignity and compassion. This is especially important when answering questions about certain medications or providing patient education.

Administrative Skills

A good bit of the work performed by pharmacy technicians is administrative in nature. As such, these professionals should be adept at:

  • Updating electronic medical charts
  • Filing insurance paperwork
  • Answering the phone
  • Operating a fax machine, copier, and computer


The majority of pharmacy technicians work in family-owned or chain drugstores, and may therefore perform certain retail functions such as:

  • Stocking shelves
  • Taking inventory
  • Setting up displays
  • Operating a cash register
  • Pricing merchandise

Good Organizational Abilities

The ability to stay well organized is something that can’t be understated. Pharmacy technicians must keep their work areas in order if they are to prevent harmful medical errors from occurring. Having stock well organized reduces the odds of inadvertently dispensing the wrong medication. It also allows technicians to perform their duties in a timely manner, which is something that is especially important when working in a hospital or urgent care clinic.

Effective Time Management

Pharmacy technicians are given very little time to complete their assigned functions, and must often complete them while juggling several other tasks. It is therefore essential for them to manage their time effectively each and every day. Not only that, but they must also be able to set priorities and determine when certain things are more important than others. This is often the case whenever life-saving medications are needed at a moment’s notice.

Medical Knowledge

Pharmacy technicians are not doctors; however, that does not mean they shouldn’t have some basic medical knowledge. In fact, technicians rely on their medical knowledge on a daily basis. Some things that are essential for pharmacy technicians to know include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Systems of the body
  • How drugs interact with one another
  • General disease classifications
  • Basic first aid and CPR

Just because you do not have this medical knowledge does not mean you cannot become a pharmacy technician. The right training program will provide you with the knowledge you need to become successful at this profession. There are numerous training programs to choose from, so if you need help deciding on the right one, please feel free to contact us.