Pharmacy Technology FAQs
Zachary Jordan, Chair of Pharmacy Technology
Amir Rakhshani, Pharmacy Technology Graduate
“The program I completed at A-B Tech has greatly helped me assimilate into that environment… It’s extremely important to know the interactions between different medications, which you won't learn just by going into a job.”
Blue Ridge Pharmacy
1. How much money can I expect to make as a Pharmacy Technician?
How much money you make as a Pharmacy Technician greatly depends on the setting in which you choose to work. Of course you can always start at the very bottom in some settings and make $10/hr, or you can start at $20/hr somewhere else. It also depends on where you want to live as pharmacy wages vary from state to state and even by region.
2. Where can I work as a Pharmacy Technician?
There are a variety of options when choosing a work setting as a Pharmacy Technician. Some of the options include: Home Infusion services, Retail/Community pharmacy, Privately owned compounding pharmacies, Hospital/institutional pharmacy, manufacturing etc. Things to consider when choosing a setting will include your personality, and wages offered. Some settings lend themselves towards a “ people person” and others do not necessarily warrant it.
3. How do I apply?
Apply online at abtech.edu/apply After you apply you will need to attend a new student orientation. To see when these are offered go to https://www.abtech.edu/new-student-orientation/new-student-orientation
4. What is required of me to apply to the Pharmacy Technology Program at A-B Tech?
After you attend the new student orientation, you will need to go to the Bailey Building on the A-B Tech Asheville campus and see an advisor. Here you will specify that you want to apply to the Pharmacy Technology program and take your placement tests. If you are transferring from another school, and have your general English and Math requirements completed, please mention this to your advisor. If you are already a student at A-B Tech and are enrolled in a different program, but want to enroll into Pharmacy Technology, simply see an advisor in the Bailey Building and indicate this to them.
5. The Pharmacy Technology program at A-B Tech is a limited enrollment program. What does that mean?
This means that the Pharmacy Technology program is looking for students that demonstrate a solid understanding of math, science, and comprehension skills. Seats are limited due to clinical site, resource, and/or lab space availability. To be accepted into a limited program, students must first be enrolled at A-B Tech and meet eligibility guidelines. Currently we are not requiring the TEAS test and taking students on a first come, first served basis.
6. How much is tuition, books, supplies etc. for the Pharmacy Technology program?
The Pharmacy Technology program generally does not cost any more than any other program at A-B Tech. The tuition and fees you can expect to pay can be found at abtech.edu/tuition. Our pharmacy program utilizes the industry leading PioneerRX pharmacy software. This software enhances the learning experience for students through hands-on simulations featuring the functions and workflow processes found in pharmacies. To learn more about PioneerRx's cutting-edge pharmacy software, visit https://www.pioneerrx.com/Web/
7. What is the difference between the diploma and the A.A.S. degree?
The diploma requires 43 credit hours and those classes required can be seen at https://www.abtech.edu/academics/academic-programs/allied-health/pharmacy-technology-diploma The A.A.S. degree requires 71 credit hours and those classes required can be seen at https://www.abtech.edu/curriculum-breakouts/allied-health-and-public-service-education/pharmacy-technology/pharmacy-technol Why would you choose one over the other? Upon completion of the diploma a student will be able to take and achieve success on the PTCB certification exam. This student will then be considered a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT). Upon completion of the A.A.S. degree a student will not only take and achieve success on the PTCB certification exam, but will continue on to gain more knowledge and experience within the field of pharmacy technology. The student upon graduation will be considered an Advanced Pharmacy Technician by the NCBOP. The graduate will be prepared to assume more responsibility within the pharmacy such as the Tech check Tech program, not to mention more career opportunities.
8. What types of classes will I be taking in the Pharmacy Technician program?
During the program you will experience classes that feature online lectures, face to face instruction, online/night classes, and firsthand experience via laboratory exercises and Clinicals. Clinicals are experienced later in the program and place the student within an actual pharmacy setting under supervision of the clinical instructor and preceptors at the clinical site.
9. Are there night classes for pharmacy technology?
Some general education classes required for the Pharmacy Technology Program are offered at night and online. Some labs offered in our programs will be later in the day for working adults.
10. Are there online classes for pharmacy technology?
We have now moved most of our pharmacy PHM courses into Hybrid/Online offerings for our Pharmacy Technician programs. Some general education classes required for the Pharmacy Technology Program are offered online as well.
11. What if I have already completed my general education classes at A-B Tech or another college?
Great! That means you will have a lighter semester work load and the opportunity to pursue other electives if you so choose. If you are a returning student, you may want to check the completion date on your last computer class. A-B Tech only accepts computer classes that were taken within the last 5 years.
12. If I am already a Certified Pharmacy Technician, am I exempt from any classes?
Unfortunately no, you are required to complete each class. It would be suggested that you pursue the A.A.S degree if you are currently a Certified Pharmacy Technician however.
13. If I am currently working as a pharmacy technician, am I exempt from clinicals?
Unfortunately no, you are required to complete each clinical requirement. The clinical settings will cover a variety of settings and will provide firsthand experience in settings that may be different than that of your current workplace. This can be frustrating but will provide the means in order to create the most well rounded pharmacy technician that will be competent in most pharmacy settings.
14. If I am an uncertified pharmacy technician, why do I have to go to school in order to get certified? I thought I could just take the test and receive certification.
The PTCB has drastically changed the PTCE so simply sitting for the exam with success is not as realistic as it once was. Formal Education is highly recommended for success the first time sitting for the PTCE. Also, the PTCB is considering legislation that in order to become certified, you simply cannot walk in and take the PTCB exam, you must graduate from an accredited Pharmacy Technology program in order to take the exam.
15. If I am a Certified Pharmacy Technician, why would I pursue a degree?
By law you do not have to, but why not place yourself ahead of the curve? As an Advanced Pharmacy technician you can help bridge the gap between certified technicians and Pharmacists. If Pharmacy Technology is your chosen profession, then become a professional and achieve the highest degree you can within the field of pharmacy technology. You’ll also be better prepared, more marketable as an employee and leader, and of course make more money. Pharmacy Technology has been projected to grow 42% in the next 5 years so why wouldn’t you want to be at the top of the list?
16. What are the laws in North Carolina pertaining to Pharmacy Technicians?
The state of North Carolina has the following requirements for pharmacy technicians:
• Pharmacy technicians must have a high school diploma or equivalent. • Pharmacy technicians are required to either complete a board approved 6 month training program within the pharmacy, or a pharmacy technician training program from a community college. • Pharmacy technicians must register ($30) with the state, and renewal ($30) is required annually by December 31st. • The state of North Carolina does not require certification, but a pharmacy is allowed to increase their technician to pharmacist ratio from 2:1, as long as each additional technician is nationally certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Per the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP): Every program graduate must be at least 18 years of age, and is a high school graduate, or possesses a high school equivalency certificate. § 90-85.15A. Pharmacy technicians. (a) Registration, Generally. – A registration program for pharmacy technicians is established for the purposes of identifying those persons who are employed or are eligible for employment as pharmacy technicians. The Board must maintain a registry of pharmacy technicians that contains the name of each pharmacy technician, the name and location of a pharmacy in which the pharmacy technician works, the pharmacist-manager who employs the pharmacy technician, and the dates of that employment. (a1) Registration of Noncertified Pharmacy Technicians. – The Board must register a pharmacy technician who pays the fee required under G.S. 90-85.24, is employed by a pharmacy holding a valid permit under this Article, and completes a required training program provided by the supervising pharmacist-manager as specified in subsection (b) of this section. A pharmacy technician must register with the Board within 30 days after the date the pharmacy technician completes a training program provided by the supervising pharmacist-manager. The registration must be renewed annually by paying a registration fee. (a2) Registration of Certified Pharmacy Technicians. – The Board must register a certified pharmacy technician who pays the fee required under G.S. 90-85.24 and provides proof of current certification. The registration must be renewed annually by paying a registration fee and providing proof of current certification. (b) Responsibilities of Pharmacist-Manager to Noncertified Pharmacy Technicians. – A pharmacist-manager may hire a person who has a high school diploma or equivalent or is currently enrolled in a program that awards a high school diploma or equivalent to work as a pharmacy technician. Pursuant to G.S. 90-85.21, a pharmacist-manager must notify the Board within 21 days of the date the pharmacy technician began employment. The pharmacist-manager must provide a training program for a pharmacy technician that includes pharmacy terminology, pharmacy calculations, dispensing systems and labeling requirements, pharmacy laws and regulations, record keeping and documentation, and the proper handling and storage of medications. The requirements of a training program may differ depending upon the type of employment. The training program must be provided and completed within 180 days of the date the pharmacy technician began employment. (b1) Responsibilities of Pharmacist-Manager to Certified Pharmacy Technicians. – A pharmacist-manager may hire a certified pharmacy technician who has registered with the Board pursuant to subsection (a2) of this section. Pursuant to G.S. 90-85.21, a certified pharmacy technician shall notify the Board within 10 days of beginning employment as a pharmacy technician. The supervising pharmacist-manager and certified pharmacy technician shall be deemed to have satisfied the pharmacy technician training program requirements of subsection (b) of this section. (c) Supervision. – A pharmacist may not supervise more than two pharmacy technicians unless the pharmacist-manager receives written approval from the Board. The Board may not allow a pharmacist to supervise more than two pharmacy technicians unless the additional pharmacy technicians are certified pharmacy technicians. The Board must respond to a request from a pharmacist-manager to allow a pharmacist to supervise more than two pharmacy technicians within 60 days of the date it received the request. The Board must respond to the request in one of three ways: (1) Approval of the request. (2) Approval of the request as amended by the Board. (3) Disapproval of the request. A disapproval of a request must include a reasonable explanation of why the request was not approved. (d) Disciplinary Action. – The Board may, in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes and rules adopted by the Board, issue a letter of reprimand or suspend, restrict, revoke, or refuse to grant or renew the registration of a pharmacy technician if the pharmacy technician has done one or more of the following: (1) Made false representations or withheld material information in connection with registering as a pharmacy technician. (2) Been found guilty of or plead guilty or nolo contendere to a felony involving the use or distribution of drugs. (3) Indulged in the use of drugs to an extent that it renders the pharmacy technician unfit to assist a pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. (4) Developed a physical or mental disability that renders the pharmacy technician unfit to assist a pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. (4a) Been negligent in assisting a pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. (5) Failed to comply with the laws governing pharmacy technicians, including any provision of this Article or rules adopted by the Board governing pharmacy technicians. (e) Exemption. – This section does not apply to pharmacy students who are enrolled in a school of pharmacy approved by the Board under G.S. 90-85.13. (f) Rule-Making Authority. – The Board may adopt rules necessary to implement this section. Definitions "Pharmacy technician" means a person who may, under the supervision of a pharmacist, perform technical functions to assist the pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription medications. "Certified pharmacy technician" means a pharmacy technician who (i) has passed a nationally recognized pharmacy technician certification board examination, or its equivalent, that has been approved by the Board and (ii) obtains and maintains certification from a nationally recognized pharmacy technician certification board that has been approved by the Board.
17. What are the laws in North Carolina pertaining to those Pharmacy Technicians with AAS Degrees in Pharmacy Technology?
NC Advanced Pharmacy Technician SECTION .1400 - HOSPITALS: OTHER HEALTH FACILITIES 21 NCAC 46 .1418 ADVANCED PHARMACY TECHNICIAN (a) The purpose of this Section is to set out requirements for the involvement of advanced pharmacy technicians in acute care hospital pharmacy practice settings as a means of facilitating pharmacists' delivery of clinical services. (b) Advanced Pharmacy Technician. An advanced pharmacy technician is a pharmacy technician who: (1) is registered with the Board and trained as specified in G.S. 90-85.15A; (2) is a certified technician; (3) holds an associate's degree in pharmacy technology conferred by either an institution within the North Carolina Community College System or an institution accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists; and (4) assists pharmacists with the preparation, dispensing, and distribution of prescription medications that will be administered by a licensed health care provider to an inpatient in a hospital. (c) Hospital. For the purposes of this regulation, a hospital is either: (1) a hospital licensed by the North Carolina Medical Care Commission; or (2) a psychiatric hospital operated by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. (d) An advanced pharmacy technician may validate the work of other pharmacy technicians only in connection with registered pharmacy technicians' filling of floor stock and unit dose distribution systems for inpatients in a hospital. (1) Advanced pharmacy technicians may validate only the following registered technician functions: (A) stocking of patient care unit medication inventories; (B) stocking of ancillary drug cabinet inventories; (C) stocking of automated dispensing or drug supply devices; (D) stocking of emergency kits; and (E) prepackaging of prescription drugs within the hospital pharmacy. (2) With respect to compounded or admixed prescription drugs (whether sterile or non-sterile), an advanced pharmacy technician may validate the filling of floor stock and unit dose distribution systems only after a pharmacist has verified that the compounded or admixed prescription drugs have been prepared correctly. (3) This Rule does not authorize a pharmacy technician to perform any act requiring the exercise of professional judgment by a pharmacist. (e) The hospital's pharmacist-manager is responsible for the oversight of advanced pharmacy technician practice, and that responsibility may not be delegated pursuant to 21 NCAC 46 .1411. The pharmacist-manager shall develop written policies and procedures that: (1) establish the parameters for pharmacist supervision of advanced pharmacy technician validation functions; (2) establish facility-specific training for advanced pharmacy technicians; (3) establish an ongoing evaluation and assessment program to ensure that advanced pharmacy technician functions are performed safely and accurately; and (4) establish a recordkeeping system that shall permit the identification of the advanced pharmacy technician who performs activities authorized by this rule. Readily retrievable records generated by this system shall be maintained for the period of time specified in 21 NCAC. 46 .1414(j)(1), unless there has been notification of a medication error resulting from the administration of an incorrect medication or dose that has been validated by an advanced pharmacy technician, in which case these documents shall be maintained for a period of three years. (f) Pursuant to G.S. 90-85.15A(c), the Board approves a pharmacist's supervision of more than two pharmacy technicians where the additional technicians are advanced pharmacy technicians. This Rule does not relieve the pharmacist-manager of the obligation to request and receive written Board approval for a pharmacist's supervision of more than two pharmacy technicians where the additional technicians are certified pharmacy technicians but are not advanced pharmacy technicians. (g) A pharmacy technician performing validation functions described in this rule as part of a Board-approved 21 NCAC 46 .2510 pilot project at Broughton State Hospital or Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center may continue to perform such functions for a period of three years from this Rule's original effective date, after which time the pharmacy technician must meet all of the requirements specified in Paragraph (b) of this Rule to continue performing such functions.