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Pharmacy Technician Q&A and Feedback

Pharmacy Technician Questions, Answers, and Feedback

It has been a few months since we recapped some of the pharmacy technician training and certification questions and answers we have received. Here are some of the ones I think will be valuable:

This one is more feedback and inspirational. Thank you Martin for the update and the great advice: “I’m fairly new to this ‘2nd career’, but I just want to share that OPPORTUNITIES are out there. AND please browse this website- LOTS OF GOOD INFO here, and I appreciate Rob doing this for us. I have been very fortunate to land a good starting job with a BIG company – United Health Group. Their PHARMACY MAIL ORDER business is BOOMING! If anyone out there with some (customer service skills, decent computer/keyboarding skills) and their pharmacy tech license and/or nat’l certification, I highly recommend checking them out. The pharmacy mail-order division is now called OptumRx (formerly Prescription Solutions). I work very good hours (M-F, 7-3:30pm!) in a nice office, with great ergo-nomic work stations, and a good team of people. We help each other do the job here, and non-team players probably won’t last long here (or in any pharmacy environment, for that matter!). They really do want you to do well here, once hired. Plenty of ‘coaching’/training time, and I feel the company rewards you well for the work. Their are also bonus opportunities as they strongly believe in innovation (one of their core values). I am proud to say that I was given a ‘spot’ award for an innovative idea — that will hopefully make all of my team member’s jobs easier (improvement in their computer software we use). This company is nationwide, so do a search on their website (United Health Group), and look for pharmacy operation jobs there. Thanks for reading, Martin in San Diego.”

Question #1: “Hi Rob, I will be starting pharmacy tech classes in the fall at the local community college. My question to you is/// once I am certified, do you recommend working right away or continue with my education to get the Associates degree in pharmacy tech. Once completed, does having an higher education with internship and experience means better pay and position? I also am interested in chemo and nuclear tech jobs. I currently work in a major hospital now as a cardiac monitor tech. Your insight into this profession has been most welcomed…Thank You”

My response: “Hi Angie, I would begin working as soon as you are done. While in the community college program, see if you can do your internship then so that when you are done you can start working. Typically, pay is not increased for an associates, but you are more likely to land a job. For chemo tech, make sure you show you have good attention to detail, and seek out opportunity to work in the IV room. Since you are at a major hospital, see if you can do your internship at the inpatient pharmacy. Nuclear is a different animal. I would gain some sterile compounding experience, then find the nuclear pharmacies in your area. Ask them if you can intern to learn and see if nuclear would be a good fit. The hours are kind of odd, they typically come in in the middle of the night and finish by noon. Best of luck, Rob”

Question #2:“I take my state test for Ohio in two days. I was an electronic assembler for almost 30 years when I lost my job the end of Jan, 2012. I decided I was burnt out in electronic. I was very good at my job, so much so that a company searched high and low for me when they found out I had lost my job! But I decided I wanted a change, complete change. What made me pick this field, I\’m not sure. There have been my times through my path of study I asked myself that same question as I never had Latin or chemistry in school. So I knew nothing when I started my training class, NOTHING! I did work in a clean room environment for the last two years and had to pay attention to detail as I did government work my whole 30 years. So this field seemed like a good fit for me, plus I like helping people directly or indirectly. I say all this to say that I am worried that as a new tech it will be hard to get someone to take a chance on me. Everybody wants experience. How do I get my foot in the hospital door. Any suggestions. I have not had to sell myself in a long time. My rep has always proceeded me. Now I have no rep I have to prove myself again. Thanks for this website and all the info found here.”

My response: “Hi Deena, get an externship. Your hard work and effort you put in will be your interview. In addition, do not be afraid to share what you shared with me. It is okay to say your reputation for doing excellent work was what landed you jobs in the past, and this is new and challenging. Don’t play it down, play it up. Make it a positive, let them know you are excited for this new challenge and willing to work just as hard if not harder. Don’t sell yourself short on experience, you have work experience, so draw upon it when needed during interviews. Best of luck, Rob.”

I hope a review of these great questions provides value to you as you explore a career a a pharmacy technician. We are over 300 on comments on posts, and that is great. Thank you all for the comments and questions. Aloha, -Rob