How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in North Carolina

Pharmacy technology is a growing field that offers excellent employment opportunity. If you want to become part of this field, everything you need to know about being a pharmacy technician is here.

Pharmacy Technician Requirements

North Carolina is very lenient with their pharmacy technician requirements. There is no age restriction and there are no education and/or certification requirements. Pharmacy technicians are required to register with the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy with 60 days of becoming employed as a pharmacy technician.

Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?

Pharmacy technicians in North Carolina are not required to have prior education or have completed a formal training program to begin working as a pharmacy technician. During the first 60 days of employment (prior to registration), it is assumed the individual will be receiving on-the-job training. The application for registration asks the pharmacy tech if he or she has completed training or is currently receiving training. Individuals who wish to enroll in a pharmacy technician training program can choose from several accredited schools in North Carolina.

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Are Pharmacy Technicians Required to be Certified?

North Carolina does not require their pharmacy technicians be certified. Certification can be obtained on a voluntary basis to employment options. National certification can be a plus for the pharmacy technician who moves out of NC and hopes to find employment as a pharmacy tech in another state. Although the application for registration asks the tech if he or she has certification, it is not a state requirement.

How Can a Pharmacy Technician Become Certified?

Aspiring pharmacy technicians can obtain voluntary certification by passing a computer-based certification exam through an accredited certifying organization. Two organizations that techs often choose are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). NHA requires that the individual be at least 18 and have completed an approved training program.

Is Continuing Education Necessary?

North Carolina doesn’t have any continuing education requirements for pharmacy technicians; however, the certifying agencies require continuing education. To maintain either the PTCB or the NHA certification, the technician must complete 20 hours of continuing education in pharmacy-related topics every two years. Of these 20 hours, one must be in pharmacy law, and ten may be earned by working under the supervision of a pharmacist.

Pharmacy Technician Salary in North Carolina

North Carolina pharmacy technicians may experience a wide variance in their salaries, depending on location, level of training and competitiveness in the area. In the state’s capital, pharmacy technicians earn an average salary of $32,096, with low spectrum at $26,207 and the highest around $38,401.

A little to the north in Asheville, the average salary for pharmacy techs is $28,494. The minimum earned here fell in area of $23,266 and the maximum amount was about $34,092. These figures come from a February, 2014 report, which also states that pharmacy technician salaries in North Carolina are below the national average. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, there were approximately 11,840 pharmacy technicians employed as of May, 2012.

Pharmacy Technician Job Duties

Pharmacy technicians have many job duties through their day. Their duties include answering the phone, greeting patients, organizing medications for pharmacists to dispense, preparing insurance claims, collecting payment, filling and labeling bottles, maintaining patient records, checking inventory, verifying receipt of orders, delivering medication to patients and different departments, calculation quantities, assembling equipment and referring patients to pharmacies.

Generally, pharmacy technicians can perform most jobs that do not require a pharmacist. They do much of their work with a licensed pharmacist nearby. Depending on where the pharmacy techs work (pharmacy vs. Hospital), the duties and variety of medications handled may vary.

What Tasks is a Pharmacy Technician Legally Allowed to Perform?

Pharmacy technicians often work independently performing data entry, customer service and pharmacy-related tasks that do not require the pharmacist. They can get the prescription and the bottle ready but cannot dispense the actual medication with the pharmacist’s approval. While the techs can talk to the patient, they cannot counsel them on health issues or discuss the medication with the patient.

They can receive prescriptions but cannot make calls to the physician regarding the prescription, nor can they make changes to the prescription. Pharmacy technicians who are part of an on-the-job training program may have more hands-on experience.