Is Being a Pharmacy Technician Hard?

Is being a pharmacy technician hard?

In this article...

Being a pharmacy technician is a varied and rewarding career. But if you’re thinking about studying for your PTCB exam, you probably have a few questions, right?

Now – you can find out the benefits of being a pharmacy technician here. But there’s one question in particular that often plays on people’s minds:

“Is being a pharmacy technician hard?”

And it’s a great question. 

After all, it makes sense to check that you’ll be able to cope with the role before you put in all of the work to get your license.

Unfortunately, crystal balls are hard to come by. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! 

So grab your favorite hot beverage and settle in while we look at exactly how hard life as a pharmacy tech can be:

What Challenges do Pharmacy Technicians Face?

Now, before we look at the challenges faced by pharmacy techs, it’s important to establish what pharmacy technicians actually do on a day-to-day basis.

Well, put simply, pharmacy techs help licensed pharmacists to dispense medication to customers and/or health professionals.

OK, that sounds pretty simple. but what does it actually involve?

Well according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, on any given day a pharmacy technician might:

  • Collect all the necessary information needed to fill prescriptions from customers and/or health professionals.
  • Measure and sort medications for prescriptions
  • Package and label prescriptions
  • Organize inventory and alert pharmacists to any shortages
  • Process insurance claims and accept payment for drugs
  • Enter patient data into computer systems
  • Answer phone calls from customers
  • Arrange for customers to speak to a pharmacist when needed

This means that common challenges are likely to include:

Avoiding administrative mistakes

Entering patient data into computer systems, processing insurance claims, and collecting all the necessary information needed to fill prescriptions is important work. And it requires a good eye for detail.

It’s no surprise then that many pharmacy techs consider completing administrative tasks as one of the top challenges they face.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to avoid mistakes. For example, to ensure that you maintain a high level of accuracy in your pharmacy tech career, you could:

  • Try to avoid multitasking
  • Ask questions if you’re not sure how to do something
  • Take regular breaks

And the good news? With practice, you are likely to find that filling in paperwork becomes second nature.

Knowing your Vicodin from your metformin 

In order to properly measure, sort, and package drugs, you need to know your stuff. This means understanding how to identify, handle, and store medications correctly.

I mean, the last thing any pharmacy technician wants is to make a mistake that affects a customer’s health.

Luckily, our PTCB Hero study guide has all the information you’ll need to pass your PTCB test and practice safely once you’ve qualified.

Keeping track of inventory

Pharmacies typically stock a lot of different drugs.  And while this makes sense (people need medication for a lot of different reasons), it can make keeping track of everything kind of tricky.

But don’t worry, with a little practice you’ll be breezing through your inventory checks!

Dealing with difficult customers

If you have spent more than two minutes on social media recently, you’ve probably seen a meme about dealing with difficult customers.

And since many pharmacy techs work in retail environments, the likelihood of running into a ‘difficult’ customer is high.

But on top of the usual bad-tempered folk, pharmacy technicians regularly serve people who are ill, worried, or in pain. And this can have an effect on anyone’s attitude.

So, take a deep breath and remember it’s not personal. And you can always save any stories of truly rude customers to entertain your family later. 

What? Sharing always makes me feel better!

OK, so there are some challenges to consider about being a pharmacy tech. But that’s what makes it interesting! 

And with the right skills, you are unlikely to find the role too difficult.

But what about work stress? Is a career as a pharmacy tech likely to send you running for the hills in need of a break?

Let’s take a look:

Is being a pharmacy technician stressful?

OK, I’m going to level with you: 

Any job can be stressful if you have the wrong employer.

Now I’m not saying that all careers are created equal when it comes to stress. I mean, a firefighter or astronaut is likely to experience more stress than a toll booth attendant on any given day. 

But conditions at work definitely make a difference to overall stress levels.

And while being a pharmacy technician isn’t inherently stressful, a culture of bullying and impossible targets is likely to cause you stress. 

So, before you jump into your first pharmacy tech job, make sure you do the research. 

Websites like Glassdoor are fantastic for gaining an insight into workplace dynamics. And don’t forget, interviews are a chance for you to gauge whether a job is right for you. They are not just an opportunity for employers to decide whether to hire you.

Considering a career as a pharmacy tech? Take our free practice test now!

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones

Michelle is Medical Hero's in-house expert on the PTCB exam and pharmacy technician careers.