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How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Illinois

If you’re interested in a career where you can play a part in helping others feel better, why not consider becoming a pharmacy technician? Read below to learn how to become a pharmacy technician in Illinois.

Pharmacy Technician Requirements

To work in Illinois as a pharmacy technician, an individual must complete an approved pharmacy technician training program and pass a certification exam so he or she can be registered with the Illinois Board of Pharmacy. The pharmacy technician must be 18 years old.

Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?

Pharmacy technicians are required to complete an approved training program. Training programs, which are found at technical schools or community colleges, can typically be completed in a year or less and result in a certificate. The curriculum for pharmacy training programs includes didactic courses, laboratory courses and hands-on training. Most of the training programs have specific admission requirements, such as providing proof of health screening, life insurance, health insurance and current immunizations.

Are Pharmacy Technicians Required to be Certified?

The Illinois Board of Pharmacy requires that pharmacy technicians be registered as Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT), which requires passing a certification exam.

How Can a Pharmacy Technician Become Certified?

To become certified, the pharmacy technician must pass a certification exam that’s accredited by the National Organization for Competency Awareness and must be board-approved.
Certification exams can be taken through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. To be eligible for certification, the candidate must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma and must have completed an approved pharmacy technician training program. The candidate pass a criminal background check. Registration with the Illinois Board of Pharmacy must be renewed every year.

Is Continuing Education Necessary?

The Illinois Board of Pharmacy requires that pharmacy technicians complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain registration or certification. The certificate of registration must be displayed in the pharmacy technician’s place of employment and must be in a place where it’s visible to the public.

Illinois Low /High /Average Salary

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in Illinois earned a mean annual wage of $29,950 as of May 2012. During that year, there were about 15,740 pharmacy technicians employed in Illinois. Salaries vary by location and experience. In the Joliet area, the median annual wage was $29,189, according to a January, 2014 Salary.com report, while those in the lower 10% earned $28,834 and the top 90% earned $34,924. Pharmacy technicians in Rockford earned a median annual wage of $32,257, with the lowest 10% earning $26,339 and the highest 90% earning $38,594.

Pharmacy Technician Job Duties

Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists. Their job duties include the following:

• Enter patient and prescription information into the computer
• Answer phone calls from patients or health professionals
• Measure medication and label and package prescription
• Collect payment for medication
• Refer patients to pharmacists if they have medication-related questions
• Process insurance claims
• Maintain inventory and notify pharmacists of needed inventory

What Tasks is a Pharmacy Technician Legally Allowed to Perform?

A pharmacy technician is legally allowed to dispense medication but must show it to the pharmacist and get the pharmacist’s approval before he or she can give it to the customer. The pharmacy technician’s name or initials must be on the container, along with the pharmacist’s name. If patient counseling regarding the patient’s health conditions and allergies is required, the pharmacy technician is only allowed to participate if the pharmacist is present.

Pharmacy technicians who work in hospitals dispense a wider variety of medications and may work with IV therapy if they have completed training in IV compounding/preparation. While there are many things a pharmacy technician can do, particularly under a pharmacist’s supervision, there are also many things they are legally restricted from doing such as:

• Overriding warnings on computer system
• Taking new prescriptions over the phone
• Work without pharmacist supervision
• Take an order for a changed prescription
• Put away or remove drug supplies without a pharmacist present
• Interpret data or advise patient
• Load drug distribution equipment