The pharmacy tech in Maine is a beginning healthcare worker who supports the pharmacist in many everyday functions in the store. Certification may not be mandatory in all 50 states, but the current trend among employers has been towards just hiring men and women who have a certification.

This job is an attractive one for those who are beginning their careers in the medical field, thanks to the increasing demand for their skills in Maine. In fact, according to the most current figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 12% rise in pharmacy tech positions over the next 10 years.

What does a pharmacy technician do in Maine?

The principal duties of the pharmacy technician in Maine revolve around the activities which help the pharmacy take care of its customers and control its inventory. Though many managers may require even more duties, the following checklist highlights the principal function of most pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy technician duties

  • Take customer and patient telephone calls and concerns
  • Create and maintain patient medical records
  • Help pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by measuring, packaging and labeling medicines
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance coverage claims
  • Manage all inventory in the local drugstore

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Maine

The four steps to become a pharmacy technician in Maine are listed below.

  1. Determine if you want to become certified
  2. If you decide to become certified, sign up for a PTCA-authorized training program
  3. Finish the pharmacy tech program and hands-on training hours, as legally required by state
  4. Take and pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for official certification

Step 1: Determine whether you would like to get certified

The very first thing you will want to do is determine if you want to get certified. It isn’t necessary to have a certification to be able to work in every part of the United States, but an ever-growing number of employers across the nation are choosing to only employ certified candidates.

With this being the situation, it is highly recommended that you pursue certification if you are set on beginning a career in the pharmacy industry. If you decide not to get certified, you should ignore the rest of the steps and start searching for a job after you complete high school.

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

The next step in becoming a certified pharmacy technician is to sign-up for classes that are recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). This organization coordinates course curricula and standards with both the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) assuring standardized quality in national pharmacy tech courses.

Why PTAC accreditation matters

Because only trainees who graduate from a training course approved by the PTAC are immediately able to challenge either of the national certification exams, it is crucial that you complete a program that’s accredited by this body.

Online pharmacy tech school

In order to better cater to individuals who have jobs or have other obligations that can make attending class difficult, many schools are offering pharmacy tech classes online. These classes are likewise well suited for people who don’t live near a school that has pharmacy technician education.

While it’s quite possible to complete the academic part of a course online, it’ll nevertheless be required to complete the hands-on training component in-person at a specific site.

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

The next step is to finish the accredited program you’ve chosen. The classroom portion can often be finished in twelve months or less, but completing the necessary hands-on training hours (occasionally referred to as an “externship”) at an actual pharmacy can sometimes take longer.

The majority of training programs devote the classroom section of their curriculum to the content that is included in the national certification exams. With regards to the internship portion of the training, this is where trainees get hands-on experience in a live pharmacy environment.

Step 4: Pass one of the two national certification exams

There are two nationally-administered pharmacy tech certification tests – the PTCE and ExCPT. You must finish a course recognized by the PTAC to be eligible to sit for either of these tests. College students who pass either assessment earn the nationally-acknowledged title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Below is a brief breakdown of both examinations.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

One of the two nationwide tests is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is a multiple-choice exam administered throughout the nation. The PTCE is made of 90 questions offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed format. A passing score on the test awards the pupil the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

A candidate must be able to satisfy the next two prerequisites to be able to take the exam:

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

ExCPT Exam

Provided by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), the ExCPT Exam additionally grants the nationally-recognized title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) to individuals who receive a passing mark. This multiple-choice test includes 100 multiple-choice questions, presented in a two-hour, 10-minute format.

You need to be able to fulfill one of the following requirements before you can challenge the exam:

  • Finished a PTAC-approved pharmacy tech course, or
  • Acquired comparable work experience as a pharmacy tech

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in Maine?

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

Pharmacy tech salary in Maine varies somewhat from the national average, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Portsmouth, NH-ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.26$15.31$18.96
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.80$15.00$20.89
Southwest Maine BOSHourly$10.26$14.07$19.43
Bangor, ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.41$13.58$18.45
Northeast Maine BOSHourly$10.06$12.95$17.89
Lewiston-Auburn, ME Metropolitan NECTAHourly$9.81$11.96$18.29