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Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Montana

Deciding upon the right career path to follow is a major decision in anyone’s life. Preparing for the future entails making the best choices based on personal preference and a complete understanding of the opportunities and sacrifices that come with each one. In today’s slow economy, it is even more important to research career choices to determine the ones that show long-term trends toward growth and advancement. In Montana, the demand for pharmacy technicians is continuing to grow. It offers a career with job security in Montana and elsewhere in the United States. With the ever-increasing need for skilled workers in healthcare-related professions, pharmacy technicians can foresee a promising future.

Montana, like most other states, is facing a shortage of skilled medical professionals in almost every area associated with healthcare. As the population ages, the deficit is becoming more critical. Pharmacy technicians in Montana not only enjoy the beautiful mountain ranges and unique scenery, but also experience a low cost of living as well. The pharmacy technician training programs in the state give students the opportunity to train for a career that offers advancement and job security.

Training
In Montana, pharmacy technician training programs require a high school diploma or GED. The most successful students will have taken advanced courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer skills and other science courses while in high school. The pharmacy courses require students to demonstrate proficiency in these areas. The pharmacy technician curriculum includes courses in pharmacology, brand name and drug association recognition and handwriting recognition. Prior to taking one of the national certification exams, a pharmacy technician must complete a certification program at an accredited training facility campus or online.

The pharmacy technician training programs prepare students to take and successfully pass national certification examinations. National certification is mandatory in order to be licensed as a pharmacy technician in Montana. The state will allow an individual to work without national certification under a licensed pharmacist, but only for eighteen months after registering as a pharmacy technician. After that time, the candidate must successfully pass one the national certification examinations in order to continue working as a pharmacy technician in the state of Montana.

Certification
Trained pharmacy technicians must take and pass a certification exam given by either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Examination (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). The Montana Board of Pharmacy approves both exams. The title of CPhT is granted to those who successfully pass the ExCPT exam.

Continuing education 
Montana is one of the few states that require continuing education in order for pharmacy technicians to maintain their Certified Pharmacy Technician credentials. Ten hours of training is required each year for this designation. The Montana Board of Pharmacy does not require continuing education training to maintain a pharmacy technician license in the state.

Pharmacy technicians duties
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for performing a variety of pharmacy-related duties including assisting a licensed pharmacist with accurately and efficiently preparing prescription orders. It is imperative that a pharmacy technician understands the use for and side effects of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Technicians are responsible for dispensing prescriptions to patients and instructing them on the proper usage of each one. In addition to preparing prescription orders and labeling each one, a pharmacy technician must perform duties related to processing and submitting insurance claims. Excellent customer service skills, strong ethical behavior and the ability to maintain patient confidentiality are requirements of the job.

Salary
Pharmacy technicians in Montana can expect to earn salaries that range between $23,000 and $35,000 a year. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for pharmacy technicians to increase by about thirty percent between 2010 and 2020. It is estimated that this increase will result in the addition of more than 100,000 new jobs. Certified Pharmacy Technicians in Montana will be well-prepared for future challenges in this profession.