Pharmacy Technician Schools in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s demographics are changing. More than 13% of the state’s population is over 65. Nationwide, the percentage of seniors is expected to continue to climb. This translates into an increased need for workers in fields like the pharmacy technician profession.

Pharmacy technicians work under trained pharmacists in a 4 to1 ratio in Wisconsin to carry out many of the daily operations of the pharmacy. Customer service is a big part of the job, but there are also a number of behind the scenes duties in retail, hospital, and pharmaceutical company settings. These can include such varied tasks as processing bulk medication orders, verifying insurance information, entering patient data into computers, and even compounding medicines.

Interested in becoming a pharmacy technician in Wisconsin? The field can provide a relatively quick school to work transition for those with the right aptitudes. A prospective pharmacy technician should have math proficiency at the level of late high school. Strong communication, computer, and keyboarding skills are also job assets, as is being physically fit and people-oriented.

Pharmacy Technician Certification and Requirements in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, individual employers, including drug store pharmacies and medical centers, set the standards for entry level qualifications for pharmacy technicians. The state does not mandate pharmacy technician training, but some employers prefer it. This is more likely to be the case with positions in medical centers than those in retail. Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital, for instance, recently posted a position asking for either completion of a formal pharmacy technician training program or a year’s recent experience in a job that required similar skills and dependability. Milwaukee’s Froedtert Hospital also asked for either completion of a formal pharmacy technician program or a year’s experience.

Although pharmacy technician certification through a national agency is not a state requirement, it is desired by some employers, particularly those in medical settings. The National Pharmacy Technician Certification Board reports 4,269 PTCB-certified Wisconsin pharmacy technicians as of June 30, 2009 -- that’s a sizable percentage of a pharmacy technology workforce listed as 7,360 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In order to be certified by PTCB, a pharmacy technician must pass a 90 question multiple choice examination and a background check. Requirements for the background check and character statement include a lack of felony convictions, drug-related crime, or actions against licenses. Biannual recertification does require twenty units of continuing education, but these units can come from a variety of sources.

To be competitive for the more desirable pharmacy technician positions, holding national certification and possessing a formal pharmacy technician training background are beneficial.

Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job outlook in Wisconsin

The more comprehensive pharmacy technician educational programs usually include short internships, which can be a way of making connections as well as gaining skills. A representative of Milwaukee Area Technical College notes that graduates are often hired by employers that they have interned for. Judging from recent job postings, it is easier for a formally educated pharmacy technician to break into the hospital market in Wisconsin than in many parts of the nation.

Nationally, the mean salary for a pharmacy technician employed in a health or personal care store is $27,590, but in a general hospital setting, it increases to $32,710. The overall national average is $28,940. Pharmacy technicians in Wisconsin enjoy a salary that is near this figure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a statewide average of $13.53 an hour or $28,140 annually.

Pharmacy technicians in Bloomington, considered a part of the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, may have particularly high salaries. Surprisingly, so do those in the non-metropolitan area of northern Wisconsin, which report an average annual salary of $31,850. Madison is also above the mean at $30,470. Appleton reports $28,090, Green Bay reports $26,900, and other rural and semi-rural areas of the state have salaries between about $26,000 and $27,000. The state employs a total of about 7,360 workers.

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