14 Pros and Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician

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When we are sick or in pain, most of us go to the doctor.

They will typically give us one or more prescriptions to help us on the road to recovery.

In order to get our medication, we usually go to a pharmacy.

Once there, we are usually met by a pharmacy technician.

This is the person that supports the pharmacist, assists customers, and ensures that the pharmacy department is kept organized and tidy.

Specific duties of a pharmacy technician include sorting pills, restocking, labeling containers, giving patients their medicines, collecting payments, data entry, and communicating with patients, doctors’ offices, and insurance companies.

To become a pharmacy technician, you must attend a specialized program.

This may be a certificate program or a 2-year school to obtain an associate’s degree.

Technicians can work in a variety of settings, including retail pharmacies ( in large stores or supermarkets), neighborhood pharmacies, nursing homes, vet offices, and clinics.

In order to be good at this job, candidates should be organized, alert, have good communication skills, and have a pleasant personality.

The average pharmacy technician in the United States makes about $36,000 per year.

If you’re thinking about a career as a pharmacy technician, read on for a list of pros and cons that could help you decide.

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1. Short Training Period

The role of pharmacy technician is a great one for people that want to work in the medical field, but don’t want to spend years taking classes, studying, and spending tons of money.

There are 2 roads to becoming a pharmacy technician.

The first involves completing a certificate program at a technical school.

This usually takes 12 months or less.

The second choice would consist of attending a 2-year college and getting an associate degree.

2. Get Trained Online

Another training related pro, is that there are many online programs that can prepare you to start working as a technician just as quickly, but at your own pace.

Online courses are great for people who may be working other jobs, or have children to care for.

It allows for flexibility in studying and completing assignments.

You can also take the “classroom” with you anywhere you go.

3. Steady Income

As soon as you graduate, you can start earning money.

You’ll have money to pay your bills, save for something you need or want, and not have to stress over when or where your next dollar will come from.

4. Clean Environment

This may not seem overly important, but let’s face it, nobody wants to work in a dusty, unorganized mess.

Working in a pharmacy will guarantee that the conditions are pristine and orderly.

Pharmacies must comply with OSHA standards and not only keep sanitized conditions for the safety of workers, but for customers as well.

5. Job Stability

 Being a pharmacy tech means you will never be at a loss for work.

Provided you are competent at the tasks, you are pretty much guaranteed a job.

The position of pharmacy technician is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States.

It’s expected to grow by 5% by the year 2031.

People will always need medication for everything from the flu and ear infections to diabetes and heart conditions.

Even as more people are getting prescriptions online, there are actual people behind the screen that need to fill them.

6. Socially Active

If you’re a person that likes to chat and meet a consistent flow of acquaintances, being a pharmacy technician could be right for you.

You’ll get to meet new customers each day.

Some are very friendly and like to have a quick chat or even make a joke or two.

You’ll also have the opportunity to work closely with colleagues like the pharmacist and other technicians.

If you work in a retail environment, you’ll have a plethora of co-workers with whom to connect.

It’s a chance to make friends and build relationships inside and outside of work.

7. Personally Rewarding

As a pharmacy technician, you’ll have the opportunity to help people.

After all, when people are sick or hurt, all they want is to take their medication and feel better.

It can be a great feeling to know that you are part of a team that is helping others get on the road to recovery.

Seeing someone smile or say thank you for helping can often be much more rewarding than other jobs. 


1. Repetitive Work

While there’s nothing wrong with doing the same thing all day, every day (a paycheck is a paycheck), the fact is, repetitive work is not for everyone.

We all have different levels of tolerance for boredom and the mundane.

Pharmacy techs do important work, but it’s pretty much filling bottles, labeling, grabbing the bag from the bin, ringing up the customer.

You may restock, tidy up, and do some other tasks, but if you have a desire for a job where there is something new and exciting each day, this job is not that.

2. Challenging Customers

You must always remember that you work in a pharmacy, and many people you will encounter simply don’t feel well.

They may be cranky, irritable, and have little patience if there is an issue (and even if there’s not).

 It’s not pleasant, but you need to remain calm and try to keep a smile.

Other times, customers may blame you if there is an insurance issue or the medication is more than they thought.

Even though it’s not your fault, they may blame you and expect you to fix it.

3. Stressful

Working in a pharmacy can be quite stressful at times.

It’s fast-paced, with a constant flow of customers (not to mention the drive-through).

This is especially true during cold and flu season.

You need to ensure that medication is kept in stock and available to customers.

It’s vital that the correct pills are chosen, and everything is labeled properly.

When entering information into the computer, there is no room for error.

 Let’s not forget having to call customers, doctor’s offices, and deal with insurance companies.

One mistake could lead to a patient not getting the medication they need, or worse, receiving the wrong prescription.

Nothing could be worse for a pharmacy technician than having a customer take the wrong medication.

4. Physically Demanding

The daily routine of being a pharmacy technician can be physically exhausting.

You’re on your feet all day.

Often, you’ll need to lift boxes, reach up, bend down, and rush from one station to another.

There’s very little downtime.

If you’re not up to these physical demands, you may not be cut out for this career.

5. Having To Work Weekends, Nights, And Holidays

Many pharmacies are open 24/7, including many holidays.

So, being a pharmacy technician means you’ll have to be OK with working odd hours, including weekends and at night.

You may end up missing out on family time, celebrations, and fun with your friends.

This is especially true if you’re new to the profession.

Eventually, if you stick with it, you’ll gain seniority, and the hours will improve.

But, like many other jobs, you’ll have to establish yourself first.

6.  You Will Be Around A Lot Of Sick People

One big drawback for many people is that people obviously come to get medicine because they are sick.

Often, it may be something contagious like the flu or an upper respiratory infection.

Worse, some people may not practice basic hygiene like covering when coughing or sneezing.

They may not have washed their hands either.

So pharmacy techs are exposed to all of this.

Something as simple as touching money that the customer touched can cause the spread of disease.

It’s very important for technicians to take proper precautions (like masks) and sanitize regularly.

7. Low Pay

One of the biggest complaints from pharmacy technicians is that their salary does not reflect the amount of work that they do.

The average technician starts at around $17 per hour.

Many feel this is an unfair rate due to the number of tasks they perform, the serious responsibilities they undertake, and the time spent on their feet. 

14 Pros and Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician – Summary Table

1. Short Training Period1. Repetitive Work
2. Get Trained Online2. Challenging Customers
3. Steady Income3. Stressful
4. Clean Environment4. Physically Demanding
5. Job Stability5. Having To Work Weekends, Nights, And Holidays
6. Socially Active6. You Will Be Around A Lot Of Sick People
7. Personally Rewarding7. Low Pay

Should You Become A Pharmacy Technician?

As you can see, there are several pros and cons to being a pharmacy technician.

You should weigh each carefully before making a decision.

On the one hand, the training is short and a position is easy to obtain.

You’ll get to work with people and help them on a daily basis.

On the other hand, you are on your feet all day.

 You will probably have to work odd hours and encounter some miserable customers.

If the cons don’t bother you, and you feel you possess the characteristics needed, then you should consider a career as a pharmacy technician. 

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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