Pharmacy Technician Schools in Louisiana
People often think that it’s a pharmacist behind the counter who hands them their prescriptions when they’re ill. Chances are good, though, that it’s actually a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians have many roles, including customer service. They assist pharmacists in a number of other capacities, which may include filling prescriptions, restocking medical supplies, and even preparing them. Some pursue advanced training in areas like IV certification or nuclear pharmacy.
Pharmacy technology is a growing field, yet a competitive one. Nationwide, there is a trend toward requiring higher standards for pharmacy technicians, like licensure or certification. Louisiana is a part of this trend, setting the bar high for pharmacy technician candidates.
Pharmacy Technician Certification in Louisiana
The pharmacy technician profession is regulated by the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians must complete a Louisiana Board of Pharmacy approved pharmacy technician training course, pass national examinations, and complete 600 hours of supervised work experience in order to receive full pharmacy technician certification. It’s a lot of work! For the right person, though, the rewards can be ample.
Louisiana pharmacy technicians are required to take the certifying exam of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (or PTCB). The exam has 90 multiple choice questions that must be completed in two hours. Slightly over half of the test focuses on processes for dispensing drugs. Other subjects include legalities and duties as well as a knowledge of drugs and medications. Test takers receive their scores immediately after the exam, but must wait four weeks for a retest if they don’t pass. Passing scores earn the respected title of CPhT.
As you can tell, you have a couple options when considering candidacy for pharmacy technician certification in Louisiana. If you have not completed or started a Louisiana Board of Pharmacy approved pharmacy Technician program you may still be eligible for certification candidacy if you pass the PTCB examination. You can find a lot of information regarding this exam on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board website. It is highly recommended that you do complete a pharmacy technician training program as preparation for the exam as well as to present to employers that you have completed a formal pharmacy technician training. An online pharmacy technician training program is a good option if you need some flexibility while completing the program.
In Louisiana, pharmacy technicians are lifelong learners. Pharmacy technician certification must be renewed every two years In addition to displaying continued professional ethics, pharmacy technicians must earn twenty units of continuing educations. Luckily, there are many options, both online and at traditional academies.
It should be noted that it is not necessary to fulfill all training requirements before working in a pharmacy. A person can work in a pharmacy for as long as 18 months under the classification ‘technician candidate’.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job Outlook in Louisiana
Pharmacy technology is a rapidly growing industry, propelled by an aging United States population and by advances in the medical community. The Bureau of Labor projected a 31% increase in the decade between 2008 and 2018. Pharmacy technology is one of a number of growing health industries, and it is often selected because of the relatively short training period. In Louisiana, as elsewhere, pharmacy technicians make a good income relative to training time.
Some positions are more desirable than others, in terms of income as well as job conditions. Retail setting generally pay less than $30,000 a year. Many pharmacy technicians around the nation have as a goal a position in a hospital setting. Jobs often pay in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. They can, however, be more difficult to obtain.
Louisiana has 4,992 certified pharmacy technicians. How can an applicant distinguish himself from the crowd and compete for the best positions? It is unlikely that a person’s first job will be in a hospital, but positions are available for those with solid experience. Promise Healthcare, in Baton Rouge, prefers candidates with six to twelve months prior experience as a pharmacy technician, though not necessarily in a hospital setting.
If a person does well at one hospital position, the training they receive can open even more doors in the future. Many hospitals, for instance, do ask for specialized knowledge or IV experience or certification. Contra Costa Medical Center reports that IV is not part of the standard scope of practice of a pharmacy technician, but that technicians sometimes enroll at the request of an employer. A scan of job ads meanwhile reveals that this can be a good skill to have!