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Pharmacy Tech

Below you will find sample materials from eBooks from EBSCO and eBook Central recommended specifically for Pharmacy Tech.  

Check the Easiest, Intermediate and Advanced Finding Articles tabs on the Research page of this guide for general health science article databases (Health Policy Reference Center, CINAHL, Consumer Health, Nursing Reference Center, etc.).

In addition to the all-purpose health science databases, you might also want to check the article databases below because they best cover the pharmacy-related legal issues you may need/want to explore.

         

In addition to the websites below, check the Reliable Websites tab on the Research page in this guide. 

Pharmacy Technician Career Information

For more information on the breadth of resources and services available through Career Services, please see the digital flyer linked below!

Click the link below to view/save this document as a PDF.

7 Helpful Tips

  1. Include a strong professional statement at the top of your document and highlight any unique skills and traits that the employer is looking for (i.e. Bilingual; years of experience that can translate to the position; unique skill that helps you to standout) DO NOT USE AN OBJECTIVE STATEMENT. Objective statements speak to what you want. You need to speak to what the employer wants.
  2. Utilizing the O Net tool can help to provide ideas on what skills and qualifications to highlight based on your specific field of study.
  3. Use field-related skills in your Skills/Qualifications section. Stay away from statements such as “Hard Worker, Team Player, etc.” These are easy to say but hard to prove to an employer. Emphasized those healthcare skills that are specific to your profession.
  4. Utilizing the action verb tool can really help you to develop strong accomplishment statement under each position that you have held.
  5. Section Instructions – this will help you to identify what should be written in each area if you are stuck on what to include.
  6. Avoid including “References Available Upon Request” at the bottom of your resume. This is assumed information and takes up valuable space on your document. References are to be put on a separate page and only given to the employer when requested.
  7. Use spell check – always!

Click the link below to view/save this document as a PDF.

Common Interview Questions

More often than not you will likely encounter a variety of standard interview questions no matter what your degree field and it is best to always be prepared; here are some common questions, as well as tips on how you will want to approach an answer, that you may see during your next interview!

Q. Tell me about yourself
A. This is a dreaded, classic, open-ended interview question and likely to be amount the first. It’s your chance to introduce your qualifications, good work habits, etc. Keep it mostly work and career related.


Q. Why do you want to leave your current job? (Why did you leave your last job?)
A. Be careful with this. Avoid trashing other employers and making statements like, “I need more money.” Instead, make generic statements such as, “It’s a career move."

Q. What are your strengths?
A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job and examples of what you have done.

Q. What are your weaknesses?
A. Everybody has weaknesses, but don’t spend too much time on this one and keep it work related. Along with a minor weakness or two, try to point out a couple of weaknesses that the interview might see as strengths, such as sometimes being a little too meticulous about the quality of your work. (Avoid saying “I work too hard.” It’s a predictable, common answer.) For every weakness, offer a strength that compensates for it.

Q. Which adjectives would you used to describe yourself?
A. Answer with positive, work-oriented adjectives, such as conscientious, hardworking, honest and courteous, plus a brief description or example of why each fits you well.

Q. What do you know about our company?
A. To answer this one, research the company before you interview.

Q. Why do you want to work for us?
A. Same as above. Research the company before you interview. Avoid the predictable, such as, “Because it’s a great company.” Say why you think it’s a great company.

Q. Why should I hire you?
A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job, and the good job you’ve done in the past. Include any compliments you’ve received from management.

Q. What past accomplishments gave you satisfaction?
A. Briefly describe one to three work projects that made you proud or earned you pats on the back, promotions, raises, etc. Focus more on achievement than reward.

Q. What make you work hard?
A. Naturally, material rewards such as perks, salary and benefits come into play. But again, focus more on achievement and the satisfaction n you derive from it.

Q. What type of work environment do you like best?
A. Tailor your answer to the job. For example, if in doing your job you’re required to lock the lab doors and work alone, then indicate that you enjoy being a team player when needed, but also enjoy working independently. If you’re required to attend regular project planning and status meetings, then indicate that you’re a strong team player and like being part of a team.

Q. Why do you want this job?
A. To help you answer this and related questions, study the job ad in advance. But a job ad alone may not be enough, so it’s okay to ask questions about the job while you’re answering. Say what attracts you to the job. Avoid the obvious and meaningless, such as, “I need a job.”

Q. How do you handle pressure and stress?
A. This is sort of a double whammy, because you’re likely already stressed from the interview and the interviewer can see if you’re handling it well or not. Everybody feels stress, but the degree varies. Saying that you whine to your shrink, kick your dog are not good answers. Exercising, relaxing with a good book, socializing with friends or turning stress into productive energy is more along the lines of the “correct” answers.

Q. Explain how you overcame a major obstacle.
A. The interviewer is likely looking for a particular example of your problem-solving skills and pride you show for solving it.

Q. Where do you see yourself five years from now?
A. Explain your career-advancement goals that are in line with the job for which you are interviewing. Your interviewer is likely more interested in how he, she or the company will benefit from you achieving your goals than what you’ll get from it, but it goes hand in hand to a large degree. It’s not a good idea to tell your potential new boss that you’ll be going after his or her job, but it’s ok to mention that you ‘d like to earn a senior or management position.

Q. What qualifies you for this job?
A. Push your skills, experience, education and other qualifications, especially those that match the job description well. Avoid just regurgitating your resume. Explain why.

Q. Why did you choose your college major?
A. The interview is likely fishing to see if you are interested in your field of work or just doing a job to get paid. Explain why you like it. Besides your personal interest, include some rock-solid business reasons that show you have vision and business sense.

Be sure to practice your interview skills before you have to use them.

Log in to Hiration and use the Interview feature to continue to work on your interview skills!

Click the link below to view/save this document as a PDF.

Pharmacy Specific Interview Questions

Most pharmacies go through a range of standard, or common, interview questions during the interview process however more and more they will inquire as to knowledge and skills gained through education and training specific to the pharmacy field standards.

Here are some common pharmacy questions, as well as tips on how you will want to approach an answer, that you may see during your next interview!

Q: What are the record keeping procedures that a pharmacist have to do?
A: The record keeping procedures that a pharmacist have to do

  • Storing pharmacy files
  • Patient records
  • Inventories and update system files
  • Registries of poisons and controlled drugs

Q: Why do you want to work at a pharmacy as opposed to a healthcare facility?
A: I like face to face customer contact and dispensing medication is something that I enjoy. Working at a pharmacy provides me an opportunity to do both.

Q: What are the factors that need to be considered in drug storage?
A: Storage temperature, light, and sanitary conditions are the three basic factors that need to be considered while storing any drug.

Q: What are the steps to be followed when filling a prescription?
A: The prescription is read and thoroughly understood first. Then the items required are carefully measured and mixed in the prescribed amounts. The prescription is then inspected by a licensed pharmacist before being handed over to the patient.

Q: Which pharmacy related software have you used before?
A: Indicated pharmacy specific software you’ve used either during an internship, virtual lab, etc. Also note that you’re very tech savvy and quickly pick up / adapt to new software

Q: Define prescription medicine.
A: Prescription medicines are those drugs or medicines that cannot be dispensed or sold without the written prescription of a qualified and certified medical practitioner and that too only in limited amounts.

Q: Explain; can a controlled substance prescription be refilled?
A: Controlled substance prescription can be refilled for up to five times in a 6 month span; schedule type V can be refilled as directed by a physician, while type II cannot be refilled.

Q: What are the non-medication related responsibilities of a pharmacy technician?
A: Responsibilities include dispensing drugs, storing medicines, labeling them, stocking them to date and filling relevant inventories.

Q: What do you do to avoid boredom while having to perform repetitive task each day?
A; Medicine mixing and getting percentages right is very important and the repetitive task can go wrong due to boredom; I take short breaks now and then to refresh myself and have a track record of always preparing exact compositions based on the given prescription.

Q: What have you learned from mistakes on the job?
A: Make the mistake small, well intentioned with a positive lesson, for example, would be working too far ahead of colleagues on a project and throwing off coordination.

Q: How do you go about storing inventories of drugs?
A: On receiving the stock I study the expiry dates and temperature requirements very carefully and then store the drugs accordingly in appropriate storage sections, placing the ones with lesser remaining expiry period in the front of the shelves.

Q: Outline the steps you follow when you receive a prescription order.
A: On receiving a prescription I determine the components required and their quantities. I then measure these out and create the mixture while paying a lot of attention to detail. I also check for any special medicinal requirements mentioned by the prescribing doctor and ascertain the expiry date of each component I add. The prescription is then checked and verified by the senior pharmacist for component accuracy and given out to the customer.

Be sure to practice your interview skills before you have to use them.

Additionally, brush up on those Common Interview Questions as many pharmacies will incorporate them into their interview process!

Log in to Hiration and use the Interview feature to continue to work on your pharmacy interview skills!

Click the link below to view/save this document as a PDF.

Boards of Pharmacy

Getting familiar with your State Board of Pharmacy and the requirements to work as a Pharmacy Technician in your state will be important as each state has their own requirements.

  • Some states need you to sit for and pass the certification exam (PTCE)
  • Some states require you to pass their own state exam
  • Some states require that you register with your individual state board of pharmacy
    • This includes an application process as well as a fee
  • SOME STATES REQUIRE ALL THREE; and all are separate and individual tasks that need to be completed

Get to know what your state requires by researching the information on your state's Board of Pharmacy website. You can find links to each Board's website on the page linked below.

Pharmacy technicians help prepare and distribute medications to customers or other healthcare professionals. While working at different companies and different settings can alter responsibilities the most common tasks (as provided by Onet) include:

  • Receive written prescription or refill requests and verify that information is complete and accurate.
  • Prepack bulk medicines, fill bottles with prescribed medications, and type and affix labels.
  • Answer telephones, responding to questions or requests.
  • Maintain proper storage and security conditions for drugs.
  • Assist customers by answering simple questions, locating items, or referring them to the pharmacist for medication information.
  • Price and file prescriptions that have been filled.
  • Establish or maintain patient profiles, including lists of medications taken by individual patients.
  • Order, label, and count stock of medications, chemicals, or supplies and enter inventory data into computer.
  • Receive and store incoming supplies, verify quantities against invoices, check for outdated medications in current inventory, and inform supervisors of stock needs and shortages.
  • Mix pharmaceutical preparations, according to written prescriptions.
  • Operate cash registers to accept payment from customers.
  • Clean and help maintain equipment or work areas and sterilize glassware, according to prescribed methods.
  • Prepare and process medical insurance claim forms and records.
  • Transfer medication from vials to the appropriate number of sterile, disposable syringes, using aseptic techniques.
  • Supply and monitor robotic machines that dispense medicine into containers and label the containers.
  • Restock intravenous (IV) supplies and add measured drugs or nutrients to IV solutions under sterile conditions to prepare IV packs for various uses, such as chemotherapy medication.
  • Compute charges for medication or equipment dispensed to hospital patients and enter data in computer.
  • Deliver medications or pharmaceutical supplies to patients, nursing stations, or surgery.
  • Price stock and mark items for sale.
  • Maintain and merchandise home healthcare products or services.
     

Most pharmacy technicians work within retail pharmacies within grocery or general merchandise stores however there are a variety of areas that individuals can work as a pharmacy technician such as:

  • Retail Pharmacy
  • Hospitals / Clinics
  • Pharmacy / Healthcare Call Center


Each of these settings within pharmacy have their own unique nuances but it is encouraged for candidates to become familiar with all aspects of the industry as there are functions about each that may be appealing.

Generally, out of all the settings working as a pharmacy technician can provide, it is hospital and clinic pharmacies that generally require more experience prior to moving into those environment; so not only is retail pharmacy one of the most common work environments pharmacy technician works in, it is generally the starting point for most pharmacy technicians breaking into the workforce.

Do research on pharmacy technician careers, standards, and what you need to be successful in your market by looking using research sites such as:

Bureau of Labor Statistics https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm AND https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292052.htm

Onet https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-2052.00

Additionally become VERY familiar with what it takes to work as a pharmacy technician in your state by becoming familiar with your state board of pharmacy and it’s requirements!

*TIP FOR SUCCESS look to gain experience – if possible in your market – before you graduate. Reach out to local pharmacies and inquire about shadowing, internship / externship / trainee programs, etc. to help you expand your knowledge and skillset!
 

Suggested Job Titles

With little sway in titles within this aspect of healthcare, employers may title their roles differently, so it is important to get an idea of what is common in the industry. Additionally, it’s good to be familiar with them when searching job boards to ensure you don’t miss out on an opportunity!

  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Pharmacy Clerk
  • Pharmacy Cashier
  • Pharmacy Aide
  • Pharmacy Assistant
  • Medication Administrator
  • Mail Order Technician
  • Pharmaceutical Call Center
  • Pharmacy Cashier

Here are more articles from our School of Helath Sciences Blog:

Job Sites

There are many job search sites out there for people to tap into in their search from the general job search sites to industry specific sites as well as pharmacy specific staffing agencies.

General Sites
https://www.indeed.com/
https://www.ziprecruiter.com/
https://www.simplyhired.com/

Rasmussen Sites
https://rasmussen-csm.symplicity.com/
https://www.liquidcompass.com/institutions/rasmussen

Pharmacy / Healthcare Specific Sites
https://www.ashp.org/menu/careerpharm
https://www.rxcareercenter.com/
https://go.inpharmacyjobs.com/
https://www.ihirepharmacy.com/
https://ahspharmstat.com/
https://www.healthecareers.com/
https://careers.ptcb.org/

Applying online is only the first step in the job search path. It is important that this is not the ONLY step that you take.

Be sure that:

  • Your resume is updated, polished, and speaks to your skill set within the pharmacy field! Check out Hiration's pharmacy technician templates and the resume resources here in the guide! Submit your resume via the review center to Career Services for review / feedback!
  • Follow up directly with the pharmacy after you apply, even go in and try to speak with the pharmacy manager, to let them know you applied and give them a copy of your resume. Show them your excitement and interest in the role!
  • Are your state requirements set? Be sure this is taken care of by looking into your state board of pharmacy requirements!
  • Network! Get away from the computer and get in front of people who work in the pharmacy field!

Professional Associations

Professional associations provide individuals with an important aspect needed for today’s working professional; a network. Belonging to a professional association goes much beyond that it provides you with

  • Visibility / Networking
  • Professional Growth / Development
  • Relevance / in the know about industry trends and changes
  • Ability to gain alterative perspectives

Here are just a few professional associations related to the pharmacy industry:

NPTA – National Pharmacy Technician Association

AAPT – American Association of Pharmacy Technicians