Pharmacy Technician Schools in Missouri
Missouri is, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among the states with the highest concentration of workers in pharmacy technology working as pharmacy technicians. In 2009, the rate was 3.741 per thousand. Missouri’s pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings including hospitals, long term care facilities, and retail establishments.
People select a career as a pharmacy technician for a number of different reasons: because it’s an in-demand profession, because the training period is relatively short, and because the qualifications match their skill set. A pharmacy technician is somewhat unique in the health care industry in that most positions are in retail environments like drug stores and grocery stores. Customer service skills, including friendly and professional demeanor and at least mild stress tolerance, are an asset. Math and computer skills are also key. Pharmacy technicians need math proficiency at the level of late high school or beginning college. The ability to type 30 words per minute is also valued, as is English proficiency, both written and oral.
Pharmacy Technician Regulation and Certification in Missouri
Missouri’s pharmacy technician profession is regulated by Missouri Board of Pharmacy. Public safety is Missouri’s first priority. The pharmacy technician registration process includes getting fingerprinted and also sending a notarized application that includes a small photograph.
While national pharmacy technician certification is not mandated or recognized by the state, it can be an employment advantage. The website of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board boasts over 4,000 PTCB-certified technicians in Missouri. This means that the most competitive pharmacy technician jobs will be difficult to get without a formal education, national certification and work experience.
Formal education is also voluntary, but can prove helpful in some positions. There are a number of pharmacy technician training programs, both online and on campus, that can offer exam preparation as well as an introduction to the pharmacy technician field. Many also offer short externships in a variety of settings; these can help prospective technicians make job contacts which will prove helpful later on. In instances where there are not a lot of candidates who have performed similar duties, a surprising range of life experiences may be valued. Apria, for instance, favors candidates with customer service experience in call centers. Some jobs, though, have more rigorous demands. The designations Pharmacy Technician I and Pharmacy Technician II give clues about what level of training and responsibility is desired, and what compensation may ultimately be given.
Salary and Job Outlook for Pharmacy Techs in Missouri
The Bureau of Labor reports an average pharmacy technology salary for Missouri of $25,190 per year or $12.11 per hour. Actual income is quite variable. Because retail positions are the most plentiful, they are the easiest entry level positions to secure. They pay slightly lower than the average, though, while hospitals, research companies, and pharmaceutical companies pay more. Within the retail industry, grocery stores tend to offer the best wages, perhaps because of union influence.
Many pharmacy technicians set their sights on hospital positions. Job postings in Missouri suggest a high need for qualified candidates in some areas. Apria Healthcare in Riverside, for instance, recently advertised that they were willing to pay for state licensure for the right candidate.
There are also opportunities for advancement in Missouri that do not exist everywhere. Qualified experienced technicians may vie for positions as ‘lead technician’ or ‘senior technician’ and take some role in overseeing operations and supervising the staff of pharmacy technicians. This is not the case in all states.
Insurance companies also employ pharmacy technicians at good wages. The federal government employs a limited number of workers in Missouri. Positions with Homeland Security are hard to get, of course, but provide excellent benefits. It pays to have a well-rounded education and a record of excellence.
Take the first step toward entering the pharmacy technician field and find a pharmacy technician training program that will help prepare you for the national certification exams and ultimately more competitive for the higher paying pharmacy technician jobs in Missouri.