Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Montana
A job as a pharmacy technician may be a good fit for you if you’re detail-oriented, interested in helping others and would like to start a career in healthcare as quickly as possible. As a technician, you will assist pharmacists by completing administrative tasks, managing inventory and dispensing medication, among other job responsibilities. [Leer en español]
Every state differs in its licensing, registration and education requirements for pharmacy technicians. The following information will help you get started in Montana.
Prerequisites for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
Pharmacy technicians in Montana must have a high school diploma or GED, be at least 18 years old and apply for a nonrenewable pharmacy technician in training license with the Montana Board of Pharmacy. After 18 months of training and successful completion of a national certification exam, technicians in training are awarded a permanent license.
Available Training Programs in Montana
Pharmacy technicians may receive their training from a licensed pharmacist or through a formal educational course. Technical schools and community colleges throughout Montana offer training programs ranging from certificate courses to associate’s degree tracks. Whichever type of program you choose, be sure it’s approved by the state Board before enrolling. The following schools are two of those in Montana that offer relevant classes for pharmacy technicians:
- Missoula College at the University of Montana. This two-semester certificate program uses classroom, lab and on-the-job education to train pharmacy technicians. Students will be able to experience a real pharmacy setting and apply their skills to real-world situations.
- Miles Community College. Miles Community college offers a Certificate of Applied Science for pharmacy technicians. The 33-credit program prepares students to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam through a combination of classroom and experiential training.
- Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster offers an affordable online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.
Getting Your Certification
Your Montana pharmacy technician license is required to work as a tech in the state. These licenses must be renewed each year before June 30 by paying a fee through mail or online. Pharmacy technicians who do not have a current national certification are ineligible for the renewal of their state licenses.
Receiving your national certification allows you to take on additional responsibilities in the workplace. To apply, you must have a high school diploma or GED, register with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and pay a fee of $129. After successfully passing the exam, your certification is valid for two years and must be renewed by completing continuing education requirements within each two-year period.
Salary Averages and Job Growth Estimates
The job market for pharmacy technicians in Montana is growing steadily, with the Projections Managing Partnership expecting a 15.8 percent increase in available work during the 10 years to 2026. This represents stronger growth than the national average of 12 percent during the same time period.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state make an average annual salary of $34,780, with higher salaries typically available to Certified Pharmacy Technicians.
Working as a Pharmacy Technician in Montana
As a pharmacy technician, you have several options regarding your workplace. You may choose to work in a hospital, at a chain or independent drugstore, clinic, nursing home or other similar healthcare facilities. Because many of these facilities are open nights and weekends, you should plan to have a nontraditional schedule. You should also be comfortable standing for long periods of time and moving heavy boxes of inventory.
Pharmacy technician jobs are typically most plentiful in cities like Billings, Montana, where higher salaries match the higher cost of living. But because most communities have a healthcare facility nearby, jobs can generally be found throughout the state.
All School Listings
777 Grandview Dr, Kalispell, Montana 59901Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at Flathead Valley Community College is taught at their campus in Kalispell in Flathead County. The college has roughly 2,216 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Flathead Valley Community College is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly around $3,820 and are $5,192 and $10,960 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,000, although this will depend on the program.
2100 16th Ave S, Great Falls, Montana 59405Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program
Great Falls College Montana State University’s Certificate-level Pharmacy Technician program is imparted at their campus in the city of Great Falls, MT. The majority of of the school’s 1,875 students are on 2-year programs. Great Falls College Montana State University is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $3,085 and for students from other states around $9,337 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,400, although this will depend on the program.
Missoula, Montana, Missoula, Montana 59812Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program
The University of Montana’s Certificate program is imparted at their campus in the city of Missoula, Montana. Of the 14,525 students, about 16% are postgraduates. The University of Montana has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the program is separately accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $6,045 and for students from outside the state in the order of $21,719 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $950, as necessitated by the chosen program. This program is ASHP accredited. The school offers starting dates in August. Candidates must undergo an interview. Class scheduling: Full-time. Acceptance Requirements: High School diploma or GED, transcript, preadmission math abilities testing. General Location Training Sites: Throughout Montana; primarily Missoula area.. Academic award: Certificate of completion. They say: Hands on training in pharmacy laboratory during first semester. Well rounded 2-semester program. Students encouraged to take PTCB exam during or upon math and writing abilities testing completion of program.
* Accredition status and tuition fees are correct at the time of last update and are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college or university prior to application.