According to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the state of Michigan does not regulate the occupation of pharmacy technician. Education requirements vary from one employer to the next. The state also does not require certification. However, many employers prefer that technicians receive advanced training through accredited programs and obtain certification.
Required Education and Training
Pharmacy assistants must be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or the equivalent before pursuing this career option. Students in the pursuit of the career must also pass a physical examination and a background check. While in high school, the state licensing department recommends that students prepare for this occupation by taking preparatory classes in math, science and computers along with communications.
Following graduation, students obtain training on-the-job, through a vocational school or community college. There are also acceptable online courses available. Vocational programs last anywhere from three to 12 months and award individuals with certification. Opting for attending the two years of college education and training awards the student with an Associate’s degree.
Vocational programs provide future technicians with the basic knowledge needed concerning pharmacology, anatomy and physiology along with medication names and classifications, basic math and science. Programs also provide students with hands-on training concerning the physical duties of the job.
College based programs require that students attend a specific course of study over a two-year time frame. Some of the necessary classes include anatomy and physiology, algebra and chemistry along with drug distribution systems, pharmacy concepts and retail pharmacy. During the formal education process, students have the opportunity to gain job related experience by performing duties in mandatory, on-site clinical settings while under the supervision of licensed personnel and instructors.
Educational facilities across the state offering accredited programs include:
Henry Ford Community College
Kirtland Community College
Lansing Community College
Oakland Community College
Washtenaw Community College
Wayne County Community College
Becoming Certified as a Pharmacy Technician
National certification remains voluntary and students completing an accepted course of training may apply for testing through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, which administers the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians or ExCPT. The Institute of Certification of Pharmacy Technicians also offers testing known as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination or PTCE. Successfully passing either exam awards the technician with a CphT credential.
Continuing education is not a requirement for certification renewal in Michigan or in many other states. However, more and more state pharmacy boards may require both licensing and continued education in the future. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists recommend that technicians voluntarily receive between 30 and 40 hours of CE courses. Though not required, the knowledge serves the technician by opening the possibilities of career advancement and specialty certifications.
Michigan Pharmacy Technician Salaries
Annual salaries largely depend on individual employers, specific employment location, education and training along with acquired level of responsibility. On average, pharmacy assistants across the state earn anywhere from $15,000 to $36,000 per hour. The average wage hovers around $29,000 per hour.
When employed full-time, technicians also have the benefit of receiving paid holiday, vacation and sick time along with fully or partially paid health and life insurance. Employees might also receive reduced rates for medications when needed.
Pharmacy Technician Job Duties
Pharmacy assistants play a role as patient advocate by ensuring that clients receive the proper medications, dosages and instructions. Technicians function as part of the health-care team by coordinating pharmacy care with health-care providers. Responsibilities may include answering patient questions concerning medications and troubleshooting or resolving problems. They assist clients with medication therapy regimens, promote medication compliance and report adverse effects when they occur. Pharmacy assistants play a role in the communication process between patients, insurance companies, laboratories and licensed care givers. Technicians must perform tasks in a manner required by employers, medical facilities, state and federal laws.
Under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist, technicians:
* Fill prescriptions with prepared medications or compound sterile IV solutions
* Mix certain medication formulations
* Package and label medications, chemicals or other formulations according to physician specifications
* Add documentation to patient records as needed
* Calculate prescription charges
* Deliver prepared formulations or run errands as needed
* Maintain pharmacy inventory and documentation
* Clean works areas, glassware and other essential equipment
* Perform other duties as assigned