If you live in the state of Maine and are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, you’re in the market for a career that is expected to grow much faster than average over the next ten years. Read on to learn more about the requirements to obtain this exciting, fast-paced, and rewarding job.
Because most pharmacy technicians learn their job through on-site training, your first step is to seek a position at a drugstore or retail pharmacy location. At the same time, you should enroll in an accredited pharmacy technician program, typically offered at vocational schools and community colleges. These programs, which cover the technical skills you’ll need for a successful career as a pharmacy technician, usually last about a year and end in a certificate of completion, though some associate degree programs take two years to finish.
In the state of Maine, a license is required to become a pharmacy technician. To obtain a license, you must be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal background check. If you meet these requirements, the Maine State Board of Pharmacy will issue a license that allows you to work in a pharmacy for a $41 fee. You can apply online for a license at http://www.maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions/pharmacy/student_intern.html. You can renew annually at no cost, provided that you don’t allow your licensure to lapse.
You may also choose to become nationally certified as an advanced pharmacy technician, which may allow you to command a higher salary and have additional access to job opportunities. An national professional society, the National Pharmacy Technician Association, manages this process. To become certified, you must take an exam. All pharmacy technicians with a high school diploma who are state licensed and have not had any felonies or any drug convictions are eligible. The computerized, 90-question exam is offered year-round and costs $129. Your certification is valid for two years.
If you are interested in additional training, the NPTA also offers specialty training for pharmacy techs in several subject areas, including sterile products, chemotherapy, and compounding.
Pharmacy technicians in Maine can expect to make an annual salary of about $28,000 per year, which is comparable with the national average. The Bangor metro area offers the highest salaries for pharmacy technicians, while the Rochester area tends to be the lowest. If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, focus on excellence in math in science while still in high school, while working part time in a pharmacy if possible.