HOW TO BECOME A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN ALABAMA
Are you interested in working under the supervision of a pharmacist, mixing and counting out medication and labeling prescriptions? If so, a career as a pharmacy technician might interest you. A pharmacy technician is also known as a pharmacy tech. Other duties of a pharmacy tech may include answering the phone, doing dosage calculations, dose conversions, interpreting prescriptions, defining drugs, entering patient information and prescriptions into the computer, and ordering medication.
ALABAMA PHARMACY TECHNICIAN REQUIREMENTS
To work as a pharmacy tech in Alabama, you must have a high school diploma or GED and be at least 17 years old. Training can occur on the job, however pharmacy techs who have completed a post-secondary training program may be more likely to get hired. Post-secondary programs usually can be taken at community colleges and take less than two years to complete. [Leer en español]
You are not required to hold certification to work as a pharmacy tech in the state. But if you choose to become nationally certified, you may have more opportunities for job advancement or earn more money. All pharmacy technicians who work in the state are required to register through the Alabama Board of Pharmacy.
For applicants aged 17 and over who have current employment within pharmacies, Alabama requires that they register ($60) with the Alabama Board of Pharmacy. Technicians can sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Program (which is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCAA), and those who pass the ExCPT Pharmacy Exam will become Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT).
In addition, Alabama requires Continuing Education (CE) of 3 hours a year, of which one hour should be “live”, i.e. with the opportunity to interact with the trainer.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN PROGRAMS IN ALABAMA
If you are looking for pharmacy technician programs in Alabama, here are a couple of pharmacy technician schools options for you to consider:
- Wallace State Community College. Wallace State offers a short certificate program in Pharmacy Technology. This program consists of 27 credits taken over two semesters. Students will take theory courses and participate in lab activities as well as a clinical internship. This program holds accreditation through the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Before entering the program, students must pass a physical, drug screen, and background check and provide proof of insurance and having had the Hepatitis B immunization. Students who complete this program will be prepared to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Request enrollment information on the school website.
- Calhoun Community College. Calhoun Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science degree program in Pharmacy Technology. The curriculum is designed to help students learn the skills necessary for entry-level positions in hospitals and retail pharmacies, as well as succeed with their PTCE. Students must complete a background check and provide proof of insurance before beginning the program. This program is accredited by the ASHP. Once you have completed your studies at Calhoun Community College, you will be eligible to sit for the PTCE which is offered through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). After you have passed the PTCB exam, you can apply for registration with the AL Board of Pharmacy.
- Remington College. Remington College has several campuses in the United States, including a location in Mobile, Alabama. At Remington, you have the option of earning a diploma in pharmacy technology or an associate’s degree in pharmacy technology. The diploma program can be taken online in completed in approximately one year. The degree program contains similar coursework to the diploma program, including a 200-hour clinical externship.
- Penn Foster. Penn Foster’s online pharmacy technician program can be completed in as few as 9 months. You can enroll in the course whenever you’d like, and online support is always available for students. At the end of your pharmacy tech program, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable, real-world experience at a CVS/pharmacy or Walgreens near you as part of our required hands-on training externship. More information is here.
CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING IN ALABAMA
Pharmacy techs in the state are not required to hold national or state certification, but they are required to register with the Alabama Board of Pharmacy. To do this, you will need to send a letter to the State Board and request registration. This form must be signed and notarized. You will also need to submit proof of identity. The registration fee is $60, and you will also need to have a background check completed, which currently costs $40.
Once you have registered, you must renew that registration every two years. You will also need to complete 3 hours of continued education during this time. Pharmacy technicians in Alabama must display their registration certificates in the pharmacy where they work. They must also always wear a name tag and work under the direction of a licensed pharmacist.
If you wish to get a certification, you can apply to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). A high school diploma or GED is required, and you must also pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). The cost of the exam is $129.
CAREER OUTLOOK AND SALARY EXPECTATIONS IN ALABAMA
Right now, the growth for this career is stable. The national growth rate for this career is projected at 11 percent between 2020 and 2030, according to the Projections Managing Partnership. The growth rate for this career in the state of Alabama is just slightly below the national average at nine percent.
The latest data supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Alabama pharmacy technicians make an average of $14.44 an hour, or $30,030 annually. The highest earners in the state, who hold certification and have more experience, can potentially make as much as $38,830 annually. Clinical externship programs are available to help pharmacy techs gain experience and clinical knowledge.
In summary, if you’re interested in a career as a pharmacy technician in Alabama, you have the possibility of steady growth and salary expectations that can be quite competitive.
WORKING AS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN ALABAMA
As a pharmacy technician in Alabama, you might find work in an independent pharmacy, drugstore, hospital, medical clinic or assisted living facility. You might work part-time or full-time. As the population ages and chronic diseases become more common, the need for pharmacy technicians increases. Entry level employment usually requires no certification, though some employers prefer certified technicians.
Your main duties as a pharmacy tech will involve measuring, labeling, and packaging medications, preparing insurance forms, and stocking shelves. You may also answer phone calls from customers, take inventory and keep records for the pharmacy.
Also, pharmacists are taking on more responsibilities and will require more pharmacy techs to take on some of their workloads.
With a steady growth rate in the state, jobs will be available almost anywhere. However, consider some of the bigger cities like Auburn, Birmingham, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery, and Opelika when looking for work as a pharmacy technician.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Alabama?
- Wallace State Community College, Hanceville
- Remington College, Mobile
- Jefferson State Community College, Jefferson
- Fortis College, Dothan, Mobile, Montgomery
- Penn Foster, Online
How do you become a pharmacy technician in Alabama?
- You must be at least 17 years old.
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- You must have no criminal convictions
- Certification is not a requirement
- You must register with the Alabama Board of Pharmacy
How much do Pharmacy Technicians make in Alabama?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Alabama made an average of $30,040 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $21,390 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $39,470.
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