Employed to work at pharmacies of many kinds, pharmacy technicians in Alaska work under the direction of the pharmacist to ensure that prescriptions for medications are filled and clients are served. Holding a certification may not be required in every state, yet the recent trend among businesses has been towards just employing individuals who carry a professional credential.

Thanks to record demand for new pharmacy technicians in Alaska, this career path is quite popular with individuals looking for an entry-level job in healthcare. As a matter of fact, based on the latest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 12% growth in pharmacy tech positions over the next 10 years.

What does a pharmacy tech do in Alaska?

Usually, pharmacy technicians in Alaska take care of a range of day-to-day customer support and inventory control duties for the pharmacist. The following list features the common assignments that drug stores place on their techs.

Pharmacy technician job duties

  • Take customer or patient phone calls and concerns
  • Initiate and maintain patient records
  • Support pharmacist in filling prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling medications
  • Handle payments for medications and insurance policy claims
  • Organize all inventory in the pharmacy

How to become a pharmacy technician in Alaska.

The four steps to become a pharmacy technician in Alaska are shown below.

  1. Determine whether you plan to become certified
  2. Once you intend to get certified, register for a PTCA-accredited program
  3. Finish the pharmacy technician course and on-the-job training hours, as mandated by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for certification

Step 1: Decide if you plan to become certified

Coming to a decision whether or not you want to get certified is the very first step you’ll have to take. It is not mandatory to have a certification in order to work in all parts of the country, but an increasing number of facilities around the nation are deciding to only employ certified individuals.

With that being the case, it’s highly recommended that you earn a certification if you are set on starting a career in pharmacy. In case you still do not feel that you are concerned about pursuing your pharmacy certification, the next step for you is to look for a job.

Step 2: Register for courses accredited by the PTAC

If you’ve chosen to earn your certification, the second step is to enroll in a pharmacy technician training program that is approved by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). Pharmacy technician courses across the nation are regulated by the PTAC, who operates together with both Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to standardize instruction in the industry across the nation.

Why PTAC accreditation is important

Accreditation by the PTAC is viewed as imperative due to the fact that only graduates from a course recognized by this organization can take one of the national certification exams.

Pharmacy tech classes online

To better support pupils who have jobs or have other commitments that make attending class a challenge, a lot of schools are offering pharmacy tech classes online. For students who do not live close to a school that provides the courses they need, online courses are also an appealing alternative.

Even though it is viable to complete the academic part of a course online, it will still be required to complete the hands-on training portion in-person at a specified site.

Step 3: Fulfill all requisite hands-on training hours and graduate from the program

Graduating from the approved program you decided on in the preceding step is your next order of business. The classroom portion can often be completed in one year or less, but finishing the required internship hours (sometimes referred to as an “externship”) at a pharmacy can take longer.

The academic part of your studies will most likely include all of the concepts and procedural-type information that is going to be found in the certification assessment. In terms of the hands-on part of the program, this is where pupils get hands-on training in a live pharmacy setting.

Step 4: Pass one of the national certification examinations

There are two nationally-accepted pharmacy technician certification exams – the PTCE and ExCPT. Becoming eligible to take these assessments requires you to initially graduate from a PTAC-accredited training course. A passing mark on either examination will give you the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

The following is a short explanation of both tests.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

One of the two national tests is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is a multiple-choice exam recognized all over the country. The PTCE contains 90 questions given in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Candidates who pass the examination receive the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Eligibility to challenge the examination requires the student having the ability to meet either of the following two prerequisites:

  • Completed a PTAC-approved pharmacy technician program, or
  • Acquired comparable work experience as a pharmacy tech

ExCPT Exam

The ExCPT Exam is sponsored by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), and additionally awards the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). This timed test includes 100 multiple-choice problems, given in a two-hour, 10-minute structure.

You have to be able to satisfy one of the following conditions before you can take the test:

  • Finished a PTAC-accredited pharmacy tech program, or
  • Gained equivalent work experience as a pharmacy tech

How much does a pharmacy technician make in Alaska?

The median yearly pharmacy technician salary was $31,750 in May 2017 per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The following data table exhibits the point that this range can differ dependent on which state you work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Southeast Alaska BOSHourly$12.22$21.11$31.19
Fairbanks, AK MSAHourly$13.47$19.58$23.86
Anchorage, AK MSAHourly$12.08$18.98$24.48
Alaska Balance of StateHourly$13.16$18.51$23.98