BECOMING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN ILLINOIS
The demand for healthcare services in Illinois and throughout the country continues to skyrocket. Becoming a pharmacy technician allows you to work under the supervision and direction of a pharmacist, preparing and delivering medication. Your tasks will include counting, mixing, labeling, and recording dosages based on prescriptions, as well as taking inventory and responding to inquiries. [Leer en español]
In this field, you might also be called a pharmacy tech, inventory specialist, or compounding technician. If you decide to pursue this career in Illinois, you’ll have many employment opportunities.
PHARMACY TECH Requirements in Illinois
To become a pharmacy tech in Illinois, you’ll have to be at least 18 years old. You’ll need a high school diploma or GED, or be in the process of completing it. Training to become a pharmacy technician in Illinois can be obtained through an approved educational program or verified by a licensed pharmacist where you are employed.
Important qualities to have as a pharmacy tech include math skills, organizational abilities, and customer service skills, including good listening skills. Passing a national certification exam is required to work as a pharmacy technician in Illinois.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN PROGRAMS IN ILLINOIS
To obtain the skills you need to start a pharmacy tech career, there are several pharmacy technician schools in Illinois to choose from. Training must be obtained through a school approved by a nationally recognized accreditation agency. Some pharmacy technician programs in Illinois include:
- Malcolm X College. This three-semester program in pharmacy technology offers students in Chicago communities thorough academic training, which prepares them for the national certification exam.
- Midwest Technical Institute. With locations in both Springfield and East Peoria, this 35-week diploma program includes classroom training and practical lab work, along with 219 externship hours.
- South Suburban College. This school offers a 39-credit certificate program in South Holland and Oak Park, which can be taken on a part-time or full-time basis. Students perform 300 supervised hours in pharmacy settings. Additional coursework can be taken to obtain an associate’s degree.
- Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster offers an affordable, ASHP Accredited online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING IN ILLINOIS
Pharmacy technician requirements are dictated by the Illinois Board of Pharmacy. After completing a pharmacy technician training program, you’ll need to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).
Passing a certification exam qualifies you to be a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Once you’re certified, you’ll need to take continuing education and recertify every two years.
CAREER OUTLOOK AND SALARY EXPECTATIONS
As the population continues to age, the healthcare field continues to grow rapidly. Working as a pharmacy technician, you’ll be in a field that is projected to grow at a rate of approximately 12 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual pay in 2020 for pharmacy technicians was $36,740, or a median hourly pay of $17.66. In Illinois, the annual mean salary is $36,630, and the hourly mean is $17.61 per hour.
WORKING AS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN ILLINOIS
Once you’re trained and certified to work as a pharmacy tech, you’ll be able to work in a variety of settings such as pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and independent drug stores. Many pharmacies and healthcare settings are open long hours, sometimes 24 hours a day, so you may be working days, nights, and weekends.
The current trend is for pharmacy technicians to take on some of the work formerly done by pharmacists since pharmacists are taking on new tasks such as giving flu shots. The job outlook for pharmacy technicians appears promising throughout the state of Illinois.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Illinois?
- Oakton Community College, Des Plaines
- City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College, Chicago
- Coyne College, Chicago
- College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn
- Rasmussen College, Rockford
How do you become a pharmacy technician in Illinois?
- You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
- Attend an approved training program or receive on-the-job training from a licensed pharmacist
- Pass the national certification exam, the PTCE
- Apply to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician
How much do pharmacy technicians make in Illinois?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Illinois made an average of $33,140 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $22,530 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $46,480.
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