Pharmacy Technician Schools in Maine
Pharmacy technology can be an exciting career choice for those with the right set of skills — skills which include math and computer aptitude, proficiency in oral and written English, and the ability to deliver service with a smile. Indeed in many settings, pharmacy technicians have more direct patient contact than do pharmacists! They don’t counsel customers about prescriptions, but their competent and caring attitude can go a long way toward putting patients’ minds at ease.
What else do pharmacy technicians do besides put a face on the pharmacy industry? Pharmacy technicians have a surprising variety of duties, all performed under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Maine’s statutes clearly state what duties pharmacy technicians can perform and what duties are reserved for trained pharmacists. Stocking and labeling are frequent duties, as are other tasks necessary to maintain automated dispensing systems. Pharmacy technicians also fill prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist — and in some cases also receive them from the doctor. (Since pharmacy technicians don’t have the advanced training that would be necessary to recognize errors or incongruities, they can take prescriptions by fax but not by phone.)
Some pharmacy technicians in Maine earn specialty certificates that signal their competence to perform additional duties at hospitals and long term care facilities.
Pharmacy Technician Registration in Maine
Maine’s pharmacy technicians are registered through the Maine Board of Pharmacy, under the auspices of the Department of Professional/ Financial Regulation. Maine’s primary requirements are evidence of ethical and legal fitness. The state may refuse registration to applicants who have been disciplined in another state or have a drug related crime in their past.
Maine does not require pharmacy technicians to be certified, but national pharmacy technician certification can earn the designation Pharmacy Technician Advanced. Pharmacists can supervise more pharmacy technicians if at least one has advanced stats; this alone makes certification an asset for some positions. Currently, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is the only agency in Maine that is approved for pharmacy tech certification of an advanced pharmacy technician; the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians has also applied, and their exam, the ExCPT, may become an option in the future.
It is highly recommended that those pursuing certification and the more desirable and thus more competitive pharmacy technician positions complete a pharmacy technician training program of some sort. Continuing education units are required for recertification and are thus necessary to maintain one’s status as an advanced technician.
Pharmacy Technician Job Outlook and Salary in Maine
The pharmacy technology industry is a bright spot in troubling economic times. The Bureau of Labor has predicted that the industry will grow at a rate much above the national average through 2018. Salary, moreover, is good for a job with a relatively short training period. Nationwide, the average salary for a pharmacy technician is $28,970. Current job postings for Maine report starting salaries at about $28,000, according to Indeed.com. It should be noted that there is a good deal of variance in individual jobs.
There are pharmacy technician jobs to be had, but individual positions can still be competitive — particularly those that are considered most desirable. Retail positions are often the easiest to get, but they don’t pay quite as well as hospitals or research facilities. How can a person set themselves above the competition and get the job they desire? There are a number of factors, including education, credentials, and personal attributes. Some employers will ask prospective employees how they would handle various work situations — and have them respond in writing. Composition and grammar skills can make or break an applicant. The same holds true for professionalism and courtesy.
Central Maine Medical Center is the type of employer that many technicians set their sites on. What do they desire in an employee? They cite communication skills, both oral and written, as well as previous hospital experience. They prefer that applicants be certified and be experienced with compounds used in chemo.