10 Steps On How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Ireland
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Ireland
Being a pharmacy technician can be a rewarding job, but it takes time. Keep reading for 10 ways to become a pharmacy technician in Ireland.
Did you know that there are over 1500 pharmacies in Ireland? Each one employs pharmacy technicians to assist in the daily running of the business. Pharmacists rely on their technicians to assist customers and fill orders.
The average salary of a pharmacy technician is nearly 29 000 €. That’s well over the median salary of Ireland.
If you have the right skills, training, and experience you can be a successful pharmacy tech. But, you must have the drive and ambition to get there. It’s not a get-rich-quick career or a walk in the park.
Skilled pharmacy technicians get rewarded with good pay and respect in the community. If you’re ready to start this journey, keep reading. Here are the ten steps to becoming a pharmacy technician.
1. Do You Have What It Takes?
To start, you must have your leaving certification, also known as a high school diploma. Since this career requires further education, you must have graduated high school.
Then, you need to have the right skills. Are you good at dealing with customers? Are you driven?
Pharmacy technicians work with the public quite a bit. They must have strong communication skills and be good at listening. Attention to detail is also very important.
The road to entering this career can be challenging. You must be ready to study hard, work hard, and give it your all. In the end, you’ll have a rewarding and respected career in the health field.
2. Talk to Employed Pharmacy Technicians
To get a better sense of this industry, talk to established pharmacy technicians. Your family likely has a pharmacy they regular go to; ask one of the techs if they could sit down with you. It could be over the phone or on their coffee break.
It’s important to ask the right questions at this meeting. Before you go through all the work and training to be a pharmacy technician, you need to be sure it’s right for you.
Ask them what the hours are like. What challenges do they face in their position? What makes the job rewarding?
You should find out the path they took to become a pharmacy tech. Which program did they attend? Do they recommend one path over another?
Get a better sense of the daily life of a pharmacy technician. If after you still want to pursue this goal, proceed to the next step.
3. Find a Program
Ireland has a handful of superb pharmacy technician programs in post-secondary schools. But, you must decide if you want to do a one-year or two-year program.
The Institute of Technology Carlow has an excellent two-year program. In this program, you get a mix of academic learning and hands-on practice. It includes a six-month placement at a local pharmacy.
AIT also has a two-year program that offers a placement in the second year. While this program prepares you for a job right away, it’s also the bases for further schooling. Some graduates go on to pursue a Bachelor of Science.
The Bachelor of Science certification is only one year in total. It aims to further recent graduates’ knowledge in the field. These students have even stronger job prospects and skills.
When choosing a school and a program, there a few things to look for. Make sure the school has accreditation recognized by all pharmacies in Ireland. Check that the program has both in class and on-the-job training.
4. Take Part in an Externship
It’s crucial that you take part in an externship, or job placement, during your studies. This will give you a taste of what it’s like to be a real pharmacy technician. You may realize it’s harder than you thought or requires more of a certain skill.
During your placement, try to take in every moment. Take every opportunity you can to learn from the employees.
Show the externship pharmacy that you’re a hard worker and care about the customers. Building a strong rapport with them will come in handy later. As you’ll learn, connections and networking are crucial in this line of work.
5. Network in the Industry
The more people you know in the industry, the more opportunities you’ll have. If you made a good impression on your externship pharmacy, they might offer you a job. Or, they could recommend you to another pharmacy that’s hiring.
You should also make an effort to network with your professors. Your teachers have connections to the pharmaceutical industry that you can use. Try to make a good impression on everyone you meet on this journey.
When there are industry events or lectures happening, attend them. Even if it isn’t required for your education, try to go. These are excellent places to network and learn more about your field.
6. Learn from Successful Mentors
If you want to have a successful career, listen to the advice from your mentors. You may have one professor or employer you connect with well. They could give excellent career advice or life advice.
Make it a habit to always learn from others.
Being a know-it-all will not do you well as a pharmacy technician. It’s a field that’s always changing and innovating. You must be open to learning from others, even your peers.
Consider making coffee meetings a regular part of your month. Interview successful pharmacy technicians as well as pharmacists. Ask them what makes a great pharmacy tech.
7. To Specialize or Not to Specialize
Once you’ve graduated from your program, you must decide if you want to specialize. You don’t have to do this now; you could work for a few years and decide later.
But, if you know you want to specialize in a certain type of care, why not start now?
Pharmacy technicians have the options to specialize in many fields. They include:
- Nuclear pharmacy
- Health information systems
- Laboratory work
It could also be beneficial to your career if you understand some accounting topics. Since you’ll be working both with customers and in the backend of the business, many types of skills are helpful.
Decide which type of specialization interests you, if any. Remember you can always do continuing education later once you have some experience.
8. Stand Out to Employers
How can you stand out from other pharmacy technician graduates applying to the same jobs? By getting joining well-respected boards in the industry. And, by volunteering your time.
For example, the National Association of Hospital Pharmacy Technicians offers student memberships. Members attend an annual conference and adhere to the organization’s high standards. Having this membership on your resume looks great to employers.
The Irish Association of Community Pharmacy Technicians is another prestigious group. Not only do you get access to industry events, but you can connect to all the other members in your field. It’s great for building connections and putting on a resume.
The knowledge you gain as a pharmacy technician is not common to most of the world. Your skills and background are hugely important, especially in less-developed countries. Consider volunteering your time abroad; it looks good on a resume and it makes you feel good.
9. Apply to a Pharmacy
Once you’re ready to start applying to pharmacies, use all your resources. All the connections and networking you’ve done in the past few years come to fruition now.
Decide what pharmacy setting you want to work in. Some prefer hospital pharmacies, others prefer the community setting. You could even work in a mail-order pharmacy filling digital orders.
From your conversations and experience in your placement, you might have an idea of where you want to be. If not, rest assured you can always change your mind and switch settings later.
When applying, be as professional and authentic as you can. Write a strong cover letter and resume, and follow up after applying. Introduce yourself to the employer so they can put a face to the application.
10. Be Open to Learning
Even after you’ve secured a job, remember that your education isn’t over. You should always be learning from your peers, customers, and bosses.
The pharmacy world is always evolving and advancing. Health care, in general, is a dynamic industry. This isn’t a job that you can zone out and become blasé about.
When further education opportunities come up, take them. Attend conferences and events. Diving into your career will only boost your knowledge and value to employers.
Are You Ready to Become a Pharmacy Technician?
Becoming a pharmacy technician is no small feat. Those who are successful have devoted themselves to learning and training.
If this is the career path for you, follow the steps above. Although it may take some work, pharmacy technicians have a rewarding career. Besides the good pay, there are always ways to further your career and grow.
You’re in for an exciting and enriching career as a pharmacy technician. To stay ahead of the curve, keep up to date on the healthcare industry’s news and trends. You never know when a new skill or connection can help your career.