Q&A session with Beth M, a pharmacy technician who works for a Walgreens in Dallas, Texas.
Q: How long have you been a pharmacy technician?
A: Let’s see…I guess I have been working here for about 3 years now. Before coming to Walgreens, I worked in a hospital as a pharmacy technician for about 2 years. But, when I moved to Dallas, I took a job with Walgreens. So, altogether, I have been doing this for about 5 years now.
Q: What type of training did you have to become a pharmacy technician?
A: I completed a 2-year program at Everest Institute in Austin. I thought it was pretty cool that I could complete a program in that short amount of time because I always thought that going to school meant spending at least four years in college. Heck, if I wanted to become a pharmacist, I would have to spend 6 years going to school!
Q: What do you like best about your job?
A: I like that I get to help people every day. Many people don’t think of this job as being one that is about helping people, but people are always coming in and looking for help with selecting the right over-the-counter medicine. It makes me feel good when I get to help them choose the right medicine or when I know I did something to help my customers improve their health.
Q: Describe your typical day on the job.
A: Well, there really is nothing typical about my day because it is not like we work on a set schedule and we don’t make appointments or anything. So, I really just have to take what comes at me each day. We have a drive-through pharmacy, so I have to listen for people who are coming through the drive-through. If someone shows up, I might have to take a prescription from them or give them the prescription they are picking up. I also have to make sure we have all of the necessary contact information so we can call the customer if we have any questions when filling out the prescription. When I am not helping out customers, I am doing things like counting out pills and helping the pharmacist get the prescriptions ready for the customer.
Q: What traits do you feel are necessary to be successful as a pharmacy technician?
A: You really need to have good communication skills and to be a patient person. Many people who come to the pharmacy are sick or they are frustrated about their insurance. So, customers can sometimes be a bit short-tempered and can take those frustrations out on us. You have to learn not to take things personally. You also need to be able to work under pressure, because we sometimes get slammed with many prescriptions all at once and customers don’t want to have to wait a long time to get the medication they need.
Q: Would you recommend this career to someone else?
A: I definitely would. I really enjoy coming into work every day and I think the pay is pretty good.
Q: What is your next career move, if any?
A: I really don’t have any plans to take my career someone else. A lot of people ask me if I plan to become a pharmacist some day, but I really don’t have an interest in going back to school for four more years. Besides, the pharmacists have a lot of responsibilities that I really don’t want to take on. So, I am pretty happy with where I am at right now.
Think you might be interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician? Check out our list of schools in Texas offering pharmacy technician training.