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Pharmacy Technician Schools in Arkansas

Pharmacy technicians in Arkansas work in a variety of settings from drug stores to regional medical facilities like Arkansas Children’s Hospital and White County Medical Center. Their duties are varied and may include managing inventories, maintaining records, and assisting with the packaging and dispensing of prescription drugs. Job duties depend on job setting and on the needs of the particular pharmacist. At a hospital setting, for instance, the technician might deliver medications to the unit and reconstitute medications as well as do clerical tasks.

Nationwide, about 75% of technicians do work in retail settings. In these settings, customer service is an important part of the job. People skills are an asset, as are math, keyboarding, and composition abilities. A pharmacy technician may be asked to demonstrate proficiency before hiring or before program entry.

How does one become a pharmacy technician in Arkansas? The path begins with a solid education at the high school level. At that point, there are multiple entry points into the profession.

Pharmacy Technician Certification / Regulation in Arkansas

Arkansas regulates the practice of pharmacy technology through the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. The board lists the following requirements: Pharmacy technicians must have high school diplomas or the equivalent. They must also pass a criminal background check and display good character. Technicians must register with the state and must also notify the state when they change employers. Other responsibilities include making it clear in phone interviews that their status is pharmacy technician and that they are not in the more highly trained role of pharmacist.

National certification is not a requirement at this time, but some Arkansas workers do pursue it. The website of the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy lists 5,360 registered pharmacy technicians. 1111 of Arkansas’ technicians have national certification through PTCB, according to the PTCB website.

The state requires that pharmacies give technicians on the job training and assess them in competencies. Formal training is not required but can be a job asset. As technicians move up in the ranks, they will encounter employers who desire it. Catholic Health Initiatives in Morrilton, for instance, recently posted for an employee who was a graduate of an accredited program.

There are a variety of programs available, at the certificate or associates level. Some, such as Black River Technical College, have nontraditional scheduling (Saturdays!) while others are offered online. Programs are often short -- a fast track to a new set of skills.

Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job Outlook in Arkansas

Pharmacy technology is a rapidly growing field nationwide, propelled by changes in demographics. The number of positions is expected to grow at a rate much above the national rate in the years to 2018. The national average salary was listed as $28,070 by the Bureau of Labor in 2009. The lowest paid jobs tend to be in department stores (averaging $25,660). The highest paying retail jobs nationwide are in grocery stores (averaging $28,610). The 25% of positions outside the retail field, meanwhile, often pay much higher wages. Nationwide, federal government positions are among the best paying. Arkansas does have some of these. Surprisingly, Homeland Security employs some in this sector.

Hospital and care facilities are considered desirable positions by many in the field. The BLS lists the average general hospital salary at $32,710, with many specialty hospitals above that. Hospital positions are more competitive. Education and experience are important of course; skills and personal attributes can also set a candidate apart. It can be good to make connections early. If a prospective pharmacy technician is planning to enroll in formal education, she will likely want to ask what externships are available and how they might translate into future employment. Arkansas State University-Beebe, for instance, has mostly community pharmacy training sites, but does list one in a hospital setting.

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