Becoming a pharmacy technician in Ireland can be a rewarding career choice. With over 1500 pharmacies in the country, there is a demand for skilled professionals to assist in the daily operations of these establishments If you have the right skills, training, and ambition, you can embark on a successful journey to become a pharmacy technician. In this article, we will outline the ten steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
Step 1: Do You Have What It Takes?
To start your journey towards becoming a pharmacy technician, you must have your leaving certification, also known as a high school diploma. This is a basic requirement as further education is necessary for this career path. Additionally, having the right skills is crucial. Strong communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well with customers are essential qualities for a pharmacy technician.
Step 2: Talk to Employed Pharmacy Technicians
To gain a better understanding of the industry and the daily life of a pharmacy technician, it is beneficial to speak with established professionals in the field. Reach out to pharmacy technicians in your local community or ask your family pharmacist if they can connect you with someone. During these conversations, inquire about the challenges, rewards, and educational paths that led them to their current positions.
Step 3: Find a Program
Ireland offers several reputable pharmacy technician programs in post-secondary schools. When choosing a program, consider factors such as program duration and the inclusion of practical training. The Institute of Technology Carlow offers an excellent two-year program that combines academic learning with hands-on practice, including a six-month placement at a local pharmacy. Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) also offers a two-year program with a placement in the second year, which can prepare you for immediate employment or further education.
Step 4: Take Part in an Externship
During your studies, it is crucial to participate in an externship or job placement. This practical experience will provide you with a real-world understanding of the role and responsibilities of a pharmacy technician. Make the most of this opportunity by actively learning from the employees and building strong relationships with them. Show your dedication and work ethic to leave a positive impression.
Step 5: Network in the Industry
Networking is essential in any profession, and the pharmacy industry is no exception. Connect with your professors, fellow students, and professionals in the field. Attend industry events and lectures to expand your network and stay updated on the latest trends and advancements. Building connections can lead to job opportunities and valuable insights from experienced individuals.
Step 6: Learn from Successful Mentors
Seek guidance from successful mentors, such as professors or employers, who can provide valuable career and life advice. Be open to learning from others and embrace the ever-evolving nature of the pharmacy field. Regularly engage in conversations with pharmacy technicians and pharmacists to gain insights into what makes a great pharmacy technician.
Step 7: To Specialize or Not to Specialize
After completing your program, you have the option to specialize in a particular area of pharmacy. Specializations can include oncology, nuclear pharmacy, health information systems, or laboratory work. Consider your interests and career goals when deciding whether to pursue a specialization. Keep in mind that continuing education opportunities are available even after gaining experience in the field.
Step 8: Stand Out to Employers
Differentiate yourself from other pharmacy technician graduates by joining well-respected industry boards and organizations. For example, becoming a member of the National Association of Hospital Pharmacy Technicians or the Irish Association of Community Pharmacy Technicians demonstrates your commitment to professional development. Volunteering your time, both locally and abroad, can also enhance your resume and provide valuable experiences.
Step 9: Apply to a Pharmacy
When you feel ready to apply for pharmacy technician positions, utilize your network and resources. Leverage the connections you have made throughout your journey to secure job opportunities. Determine the type of pharmacy setting you prefer, such as hospital pharmacies, community pharmacies, or mail-order pharmacies. Craft a professional cover letter and resume, and follow up after submitting your application to make a lasting impression.
Step 10: Be Open to Learning
Even after securing a job as a pharmacy technician, your education should never stop. The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and it is crucial to stay updated on new developments and advancements. Take advantage of further education opportunities, attend conferences, and actively engage in your career to enhance your knowledge and value as a pharmacy technician.
Becoming a pharmacy technician in Ireland requires dedication, education, and a passion for helping others. By following these ten steps, you can embark on a rewarding career in the healthcare field. Remember to continuously learn, network, and stay up to date with industry trends to thrive in this dynamic profession. Good luck on your journey to becoming a pharmacy technician in Ireland!