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How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Maryland

Pharmacy technician is the fastest growing job in the United States. The demand for this job is expected to grow an average of 20 percent in the next ten years which is considerably faster than the average growth of all other jobs. This is attributed to the fact that the demand for prescription drugs is expected to increase dramatically due in part to the implementation of Obamacare.

Needless to say, if you are thinking of becoming a pharmacy technician, you have a lot to look forward to. First, though, you have to learn how to become one. Here is how to become a pharmacy technician in the state of Maryland.

Educational Requirements
Most states, including Maryland, require pharmacy technicians to obtain formal education in the field. You need a high school education or a General Education Development( GED)certificate. Current high school students can take the exam as long as they are in good standing with their school.

The first thing to do is send a written application to the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy. This is basically your request to register to become a pharmacy technician.

In Maryland, anyone who is working behind a pharmacy counter, be it at a grocery store, drug store or hospital, independent location, assisted living center or other health facility needs to be registered. You will need to register at dhmh.maryland.gov/pharmacy/SitePages/license.aspx. You must to undergo a criminal background and fingerprint check as part of the registration process, and the registration fee is $45. The criminal background check will cost you $38.

Are Pharmacy Technicians Required to be Certified?
In Maryland, it is not required that you hold a certification to practice being a pharmacy technician. If you do wish to certify, several local community colleges including Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and TESST College of Technology offer programs. If you are certified, you need to present proof of your certification when you register. However, if you do not have a certification, you will need to complete 160 hours of training with a board approved program. Once you have graduated from the program, you need to register to take a board approved exam. Maryland approved exams are the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians’s (ICPT) Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT)and The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s (PTCB) Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Upon registration, you must provide proof that you successfully completed the program and subsequently passed a board approved exam.

Your registration is good for two years, after which you will need to have it renewed. As a condition of renewal, you must complete 20 hours of a Maryland Board of Pharmacy approved continuing education program. The first time you renew, you only need to complete 10 hours.

Pharmacy Technician Salary
Roughly 350,000 pharmacy technicians are employed nationwide. As a Maryland pharmacy technician, you can expect to earn about $29,000 per year. This translates to roughly $14.10 per hour. This is the median number, but pay can range from $20,000 per year to $42,000 in the 10th and 90th percentile’s respectively. Pharmacy technicians who work in general medical and surgical hospitals tend to earn about 33% more than those who work in grocery and department stores.

Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Your main duty as a pharmacy technician is called “compounding.” Compounding is legally defined by Maryland’s Office of the Secretary of State as “the preparation, mixing, assembling, packaging, or labeling of a drug or device.” As a Maryland pharmacy technician, you will not be allowed to draw blood, can only perform those tasks which do not require professional judgement. While you are working, your licensed, supervising pharmacist is responsible for your actions as well as his own. You cannot dispense medication while the pharmacist is not present, nor can you represent yourself as a pharmacist. These acts are against the law.

Job Outlook
Being a Maryland pharmacy technician can be a very enriching and rewarding experience. Not only will you learn a valuable skill, but you will be serving as valuable part of the community by helping your fellow citizens get the prescriptions that they need. Hopefully this guide will help put you one step farther on the path to staring this great career. Best of luck on this rewarding new endeavor.