What Skills Does a Pharmacy Technician Need?

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When you pick up a prescription from your local pharmacy, the person handing it over is probably a Pharmacy Technician. But taking care of you is only one of the tasks they have. To be a Pharmacy Tech, you need to be excellent at customer service and also know a lot about patient confidentiality rules around medications. You need good attention to detail, follow through, basic computer know-how, solid math skills, and the ability to stay calm even when it’s very busy. Check out the skills you need to be a Pharmacy Technician:

Communication and Interpersonal Skills

As a Pharmacy Technician, you engage with customers face-to-face, over the phone, and even at the drive-thru window. You need to listen closely, act professionally, and be pleasant and approachable. You need to know how and when to answer customer questions and when you need to pass along info to the pharmacist. For example, if a customer asks you to define a technical term on their prescription or asks if you have a particular brand in stock, those questions are safe to answer. But if a customer asks about potential side effects or your opinion on a particular brand, you need to refer them to the pharmacist.

Customer Service

Communicating well is one aspect of good customer service. You also need to consider who your customers are, what their needs are, and how you can solve their problems. Sometimes that’s as simple as handing over a prescription once you’ve verified their personal information. But sometimes they may be nervous or scared about their health. A friendly smile, a calm demeanor, and a bit of empathy can go a long way to making them feel just a little bit better. Make sure to ask if they have any questions for the pharmacist or if there’s anything else you can assist with. Customers appreciate it when you go the extra mile.

Attention to Detail

To work with medication is a serious responsibility, and it requires great attention to detail. One mistake, such as the wrong amount of medication, improper instructions, or a mislabel of the bottle’s contents, could have dire consequences for the patient. Always double-check the dosage and proofread the label before you hand it over to the customer. Catching a human error could save a life.


You need some basic math skills to work as a Pharmacy Technician. Much of your day will be spent dispensing medications, which requires you to know fractions, percentages, and metric conversions. For example, while pills are typically measured in milligrams, liquids are usually measured in milliliters, and both of those may need to be converted into teaspoons or ounces for the customer to understand. You may also need to work the cash register, so you need to be able to quickly count money and make change.

Computer Skills

Prescriptions are sent electronically, correspondence may be done through email, and medical records are electronic. While you no longer need to decipher a doctor’s bad handwriting, you will need to have basic computer skills to handle incoming prescriptions. After a prescription is filled and picked up, you need to update the patient’s medical record with accurate information about the prescription. Each day, you might also need to answer incoming emails from customers or your organization, or you might need to respond to incoming queries through your pharmacy’s website.

Medical Terminology

To understand prescriptions sent by doctors, or to understand some of the words used by the pharmacist, you need to know some basic medical terminology. A good medical vocabulary can enhance your understanding of anatomy and physiology, symptoms, and diseases, and it could come in handy if you decide to work in a medical facility where you might interact with doctors and nurses face to face.

Do you already have some of these qualities? Maybe a career as a Pharmacy Technician is one you should explore. Connect with Charter College today. We offer a Certificate in Pharmacy Technician program that can prepare you for entry-level work in pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, and pharmaceutical companies. Our program is offered in a blended learning format for flexibility and convenience. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to learn more.