Employed to work at pharmacies of many types, pharmacy technicians in Louisiana perform under the guidance of the pharmacist to ensure that prescriptions for medications are filled and customers are served. Being certified may not be mandatory in all 50 states, yet the recent tendency among employers has been in direction of just hiring men and women who carry a professional certification.

Due to unprecedented demand for new pharmacy technicians in Louisiana, this career path is quite popular for people looking for an entry-level position in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report forecasts that the number of new positions for pharmacy technicians will grow by 12% by 2026.

What does a pharmacy tech do in Louisiana?

Generally speaking, pharmacy technicians in Louisiana take care of a number of day-to-day customer support and inventory control duties for the pharmacist. The subsequent list shows the standard assignments that pharmacies place on their technicians.

Pharmacy technician job duties

  • Handle client or patient phone calls and concerns
  • Initiate and manage patient records
  • Help pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by measuring, packaging and labeling medications
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance policy claims
  • Manage all inventory in the drug store

How to become a pharmacy technician in Louisiana.

The four-part process for becoming a pharmacy technician in Louisiana is reflected below.

  1. Determine if you plan to become certified
  2. If you choose to get certified, enroll in a PTCA-authorized training course
  3. Complete the pharmacy technician school and on-the-job training hours, as required by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for certification

Step 1: Decide if you would like to become certified

Choosing whether or not you plan to become certified is the initial step you’ll need to take. Becoming certified isn’t a mandatory prerequisite to work in every state, but it does provide a lot of benefits and advantages.

Given the changing environment in the business, it is highly recommended that anybody who is seriously interested in a career in pharmacy earn a a professional certification. The remainder of the steps in this guide only apply in the event that you want to get certified.

Step 2: Sign-up for classes approved by the PTAC

The second step in becoming a certified pharmacy technician is to register for classes that are recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). The PTAC is a nationally-recognized body that coordinates pharmacy tech coursework across the nation with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Why PTAC accreditation matters

It is positively vital that you graduate from a training course accredited by the PTAC, since only those students who have completed an accredited training program are permitted to take one of the national certification exams.

About online pharmacy tech programs

So as to better cater to individuals who work or have other responsibilities that make going to class difficult, a great number of schools feature pharmacy tech classes online. For students who do not live around a college campus that features the training they want, online classes are always an appealing alternative.

Even though it is quite possible to complete the academic portion of a program online, it will still be necessary to finish the hands-on training component in-person at a specific site.

Step 3: Graduate from course and required internship hours

After finding an approved program that satisfies your needs, the next thing is to finish it. Though every course is slightly different, it’s quite typical for trainees to finish their classroom education and internship in as little as one year.

A lot of training courses dedicate the classroom section of their course of study to the content that will probably be covered in the national certification exams. With regards to the hands-on segment of the course, this is when pupils get hands-on experience in a live pharmacy setting.

Step 4: Pass the PTCE or ExCPT Certification Exam

In order to earn a nationally-recognized pharmacy tech certification, you have to pass either the PTCE or ExCPT examination. After you’ve finished a PTAC-approved course, you’ll become able to sit for either of them. You will earn the national credential of CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) by passing either test.

Here is a short breakdown of both exams.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is given by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and is a multiple-choice test. The test is administered in a timed format, and contains 90 multiple-choice problems. A passing mark on the test gives the student the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

A test taker must be able to satisfy one of the next two criteria to be able to take the test:

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

ExCPT Exam

Administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), the ExCPT Exam additionally grants the nationally-regarded title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) to candidates who receive a passing score. There are 100 multiple-choice questions on this two-hour, 10-minute timed exam.

Being eligible for this exam additionally is dependent upon the student having either:

  • Finished a PTAC-approved pharmacy tech training program, or
  • Gained equivalent work experience as a pharmacy technician

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in Louisiana?

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 that this range can differ according to which area you’re working in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Lake Charles, LA MSAHourly$10.04$14.58$21.02
Shreveport-Bossier City, LA MSAHourly$10.46$14.34$18.78
Natchitoches BOSHourly$9.51$14.27$19.40
Hammond BOSHourly$11.91$14.23$18.36
Lafayette, LA MSAHourly$10.18$14.20$20.68
New Iberia BOSHourly$9.10$14.20$20.20
Winnsboro BOSHourly$10.93$14.17$18.76
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, LA MSAHourly$10.37$14.16$18.67
Alexandria, LA MSAHourly$10.47$14.15$19.11
Baton Rouge, LA MSAHourly$10.06$14.15$21.27
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA MSAHourly$10.05$13.78$18.90
Monroe, LA MSAHourly$10.23$13.46$17.82