Pharmacy Technician Schools in Ohio
People often think of the pharmacy technician as the person behind the counter who hands them their prescriptions and asks if they want to talk to a pharmacist. This is but a part of the picture. Pharmacy technicians perform a surprising range of pharmaceutical duties. These can include running automated dispensing machines, entering insurance information into the computer, checking storage procedures at hospital nursing units, and even compounding (mixing medications).
The pharmacy technician profession has stringent job requirements, and Ohio is part of the growing trend to set standards high. In 2009, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy established statewide competencies for those entering the profession.
The state requires pharmacy technician training on a number of regulations including record keeping procedures, confidentiality, security and storage issues, and the difference between pharmacist and technician duties. Education must also include terminology, pharmacy calculations, and information about common drugs. In the interest of public safety, Ohio requires two criminal background checks: one by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and one by the FBI. Technicians must be at least eighteen and have a high school diploma or certificate of equivalence.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements and Certification in Ohio
Ohio’s pharmacy technicians must also pass an examination to demonstrate competency. There are two options: The first is to take an examination that has been created by an individual employer and then approved by the board. For those lucky enough to be hired without certification, this can provide a quick entry into the field. This method, however, qualifies the employee only for the particular job she was trained for.
The other option is to take a national examination for certification as a pharmacy technician. This qualifies a person to work at any Ohio pharmacy (and indeed at many pharmacies across the nation). There are some additional advantages to the latter route. National pharmacy technician certification can go a long way toward making a person more competitive. Ohio does boast many certified pharmacy technicians. In 2009, the Pharmacy Technician Board website reported that 9,530 of the state’s pharmacy technicians had active certification through their agency.
Many Ohio employers, particularly hospitals, do ask for certification. Some, like Alliance Healthcare, specify PTCB certification. Others, like Memorial Health Systems in Newark, will accept certification from either PTCB or the newer national certifying board, the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). Formal education is voluntary, but there are a number of exam preparation programs available for those who need help mastering concepts such as pharmaceutical calculations. Find a listing of pharmacy technician training and exam preparation programs listed below.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job outlook in Ohio
Formal education programs often include externships, which allow prospective workers to make connections within the pharmacy technician field. A representative of Cugahoya Community College in Highland Hills notes that while there are no guarantees, CCC students have sometimes been hired at a greater rate because of externship experience. The number of externships at CCC depends on the length of the program. Students of the certificate program are placed in two externships, one in a retail setting and one in a hospital setting. Students who complete an associates degree, meanwhile, have a third rotation, which is sometimes in a unique area like long term care. These connections can be advantageous as work setting largely determines salary.
Retail positions account for about 75% of positions across the nation, and average a little over $27,000. General hospitals, on the other hand, pay about $32,710. Another advantage to a hospital setting, besides higher annual wages, is that there are sometimes overtime hours available.
A pharmacy technician in Ohio can expect to make a few thousand less than the nationwide average, but to see similar trends. High levels of education and a solid employment history can help a person move up in the ranks and earn a higher salary.