STARTING YOUR PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CAREER IN OHIO
Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists fill prescriptions and deliver them to patients. On a typical day, a pharmacy technician may receive and transmit prescription information and provide customer service. [Leer en español]
More duties performed by pharmacy techs include:
- Answering phone calls
- Organizing medication inventory
- Accepting payment and processing insurance claims
- Packaging and labeling prescriptions
- Calling for the attention of a pharmacist when patients have questions about their medications
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 52 percent of pharmacy technicians worked in traditional pharmacies and drug stores in 2016, but 16 percent also worked in a hospital. Those who work in hospitals may perform more tasks, such as the preparation and delivery of intravenous medications. Other pharmacy technicians are employed in general merchandise and food and beverage stores.
This is a job that requires a relatively short training period, but those who wish to become pharmacy technicians must also be able to work well with customers, pay close attention to detail, and possess superior math and organizational skills.
THE STEPS TO BECOMING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN
The minimum requirement to begin your pharmacy technician career is a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Then, you may begin any employer-based pharmacy technician training programs or take any non-employer-based pharmacy technician programs that are accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Most of these programs range from one to two years in length.
After training, the state requires you to pass one of two standardized exams to prove your proficiency and become registered or certified by the state.
OHIO PHARMACY TECHNICIAN SCHOOLS
Here are a couple of ASHP-accredited schools with pharmacy technician programs you might consider:
Cuyahoga Community College
With campuses in Cleveland and Highland Hills, this school offers a two-semester Pharmacy Technology Certificate. Prospective students must first enroll as general students at Cuyahoga Community College and must have completed prerequisite courses in Algebra, introductory Chemistry or Biological Chemistry, and College Composition (English). A 2.0 GPA is also required for admission.
Cleveland Clinic School of Pharmacy Technology
The Cleveland Clinic offers a one-year pharmacy tech program, and minimum requirements of 20 weeks of online training, 100 hours of hands-on simulated training, and 200 hours of externship practice. To be considered for acceptance, potential students must provide proof of high school graduation, a demonstration of proficiency in reading and math, and a cleared background check, among other requirements.
Penn Foster Career School
Penn Foster offers an affordable, ASHP Accredited online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.
CERTIFICATION AND REGISTRATION BASICS
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy requires anyone practicing as a pharmacy tech, even trainees, to hold an active registration issued by the Board. There are three categories of registration available: certified pharmacy technician, registered technician, and technician trainee. The two exceptions to this requirement are for those working in clinics where a prescriber is registered or in an Ohio outsourced licensing facility.
The three registration categories allow pharmacy technicians to perform different tasks, with a certified pharmacy technician being able to handle more responsibilities than registered technicians and trainees. Pharmacy technician trainees have one year to complete training and register as Registered technicians or Certified Technicians. A six-month extension may be granted to trainees to register due to extenuating circumstances.
Anyone who wishes to work as a pharmacy technician in Ohio must pass one of two standardized tests to become certified or registered—either the ExCPT exam issued by the NHA or the PCTE exam.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION BOARD
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is a non-profit organization that administers the national certification exam for pharmacy technicians and certifies those who pass the exam. To become certified, technicians must complete an accredited training program and pass the PTCB exam. Once certified, technicians can perform more advanced tasks such as preparing sterile products and pre-packaging drugs. The PTCB also offers continuing education programs and monitors compliance with certification standards.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)
The PTCE is a computer-based exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. It consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and tests the technician’s knowledge in areas such as medication safety, pharmacy law, pharmacology, and other topics related to pharmacy practice. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete.
Certified pharmacy technicians must renew their certification every two years, which requires the completion of 20 hours of continuing education. Registered technicians must also complete 10 hours of continuing education per year to maintain registration status.
OHIO PHARMACY TECHNICIAN JOB STATISTICS
In 2020, Ohio pharmacy techs earned a median income of $16.89 per hour. By comparison, the median pay rate for U.S. pharmacy techs in 2020 was $36,740 per year or $17.66 per hour.
This is a career field that promises steady employment in the future, as the Projections Managing Partnership expects an 11.1 percent growth in employment between 2016 and 2026. Certified Pharmacy Technicians generally earn more than Registered Pharmacy Technicians because they’re able to perform more functions.
WHERE SHOULD YOU START YOUR PHARMACY TECH CAREER?
In 2018, the highest number of pharmacy technicians was employed in the Cincinnati and Cleveland areas. Cleveland also employed the highest-paid pharmacy techs, who earned a median hourly income of $15.45 per hour. Dayton and Lima followed closely behind Cleveland’s median pay rates, with reported median rates of $15.00 and $14.89 per hour. The highest rates of pharmacy tech employment per 1,000 jobs in Ohio, however, were found in Canton and Toledo, making these areas also excellent places to find work as a pharmacy technician.
No matter where you choose to begin your career as a pharmacy technician, whether in a hospital pharmacy or a traditional pharmacy, the odds are good that you will be able to find secure employment options after a criminal background check. With a growing elderly population and ever-increasing new drugs on the market, pharmacy technicians will continue to be an asset in the medical field.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Ohio?
- Columbus State Community College, Columbus
- Marion Technical College, Marion
- North Central State College, Mansfield
- Washington State Community College, Marietta
- Cuyahoga Community College District, Cleveland
How do you become a pharmacy technician in Ohio?
- You must be at least 18 years of age
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass a criminal record check
- Take a hands-on training program or attend an ASHP- or ACPE-accredited training program.
- Pass two Ohio Board of Pharmacy exams
How much do pharmacy technicians make in Ohio?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Ohio made an average of $30,500 per year in 2018. Entry-level position pharm techs earned around $20,960 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $41,810.
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