Pharmacy techs in Maryland are entry-level medical field professionals who assist pharmacists with filling drug prescriptions and servicing clients in retail drug stores, doctors’ offices and hospitals. While it is possible for men and women with a high school diploma to learn this position through on-the-job training, most organizations choose to hire candidates who have completed a 12-month pharmacy technician certification training course.

Thanks to record demand for new pharmacy techs in Maryland, this occupation is quite sought after with individuals who want an entry-level job in the medical field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report predicts that the number of new employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians will increase by 12% by 2026.

What do pharmacy technicians do in Maryland?

The primary duties of the pharmacy tech in Maryland center around the functions that help the drug store service its clients and control its inventory. The typical responsibilities performed by most pharmacy technicians are displayed below.

Typical pharmacy tech duties

  • Handle client and patient calls and concerns
  • Initiate and maintain patient records
  • Support pharmacist in filling prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling prescription drugs
  • Process payments for medications and insurance coverage claims
  • Maintain all inventory in the drug store

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Maryland

The four steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Maryland are listed below.

  1. Decide if you plan to get certified
  2. If you should intend to get certified, sign up for a PTCA-approved training course
  3. Complete the pharmacy tech course and on-the-job training hours, as legally required by state
  4. Take and pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for official certification

Step 1: Decide if you plan to become certified

Coming to a decision whether or not you would like to get certified is the first step you’ll need to take. It may not be required to hold a certification in order to work in all parts of the United States, but an increasing number of facilities around the nation are choosing to only work with certified candidates.

With that being the situation, it’s highly suggested that you get a certification if you’re intent on launching a career in pharmacy. The other steps in this guide only matter should you decide to become certified.

Step 2: Sign-up for courses accredited by the PTAC

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

What’s PTAC accreditation?

Due to the fact that only individuals who graduate from a program approved by the PTAC are immediately eligible to sit for either of the national certification exams, it’s essential that you finish a training program that’s recognized by this organization.

A look at online pharmacy tech programs

As is the situation with the majority of distance education options, online pharmacy tech schools are a popular option for people who are balancing different commitments. For students who do not live close to a college campus that offers the classes they want, online classes are also an attractive alternative.

To explain a common false impression, although online courses permit students to finish their academic studies through distance learning, the clinical, internship section of their training has to be finished at a physical site.

Step 3: Meet all required internship hours and complete the program

After finding an accredited course that meets your needs, the next thing is to complete it. While each program is a little different, it is very common for trainees to complete their classroom education and internship in just 12 months.

The classroom section of your training is likely to include all of the principles and procedural-type information that is going to be included in the certification test. In regards to the internship segment of the program, this is where students get hands-on experience in a live pharmacy environment.

Step 4: Pass the PTCE or ExCPT Certification Exam

The PTCE and ExCPT are assessments that present nationally-accepted pharmacy technician credentials. You need to complete a program recognized by the PTAC in order to be permitted to challenge one of these examinations. College students who pass either exam receive the nationally-accepted title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Both of these examinations are broken down in more detail below.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and is a multiple-choice examination. The one-hour, 50-minute assessment is made of 90 multiple-choice questions. A passing mark on the examination gives the pupil the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

Eligibility to challenge the test requires the individual being able to satisfy either of the next two criteria:

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

ExCPT Exam

Administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), the ExCPT Exam also grants the nationally-recognized title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) to individuals who get a passing mark. This multiple-choice test features 100 multiple-choice problems, presented in a two-hour, 10-minute structure.

To be eligible to sit for this assessment, candidates must satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Graduated from a PTAC-approved pharmacy tech course, or
  • Obtained equivalent work experience as a pharmacy technician

How much does a pharmacy technician make in Maryland?

Pharmacy technician pay varies based on many things, but the median salary was $31,750 in 2017 according to the most recent data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The following data exhibits that this range can differ depending on the area you work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan DivisionHourly$10.44$15.45$23.73
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan DivisionHourly$10.70$15.17$22.80
Baltimore-Towson, MD MSAHourly$10.38$15.06$21.24
Upper Eastern Shore BOSHourly$10.09$14.47$19.28
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSAHourly$10.00$14.03$19.48
Salisbury, MD MSAHourly$9.89$13.02$17.90
Garrett County (BOS)Hourly$9.61$12.70$18.39
Cumberland, MD-WV MSAHourly$9.48$11.98$18.27