The pharmacy technician in Massachusetts is an entry-level health worker who helps the pharmacist in various day-to-day duties in the store. Although it’s possible for those individuals who have graduated from high school to learn this job through on-the-job training, almost all organizations would rather hire people who have finished a one-year pharmacy tech certification training course.

Because of record demand for new pharmacy technicians in Massachusetts, this profession is extremely popular with people looking for an entry-level job in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2016 report predicts that the volume of new employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians will increase by 12% by 2026.

What do pharmacy technicians do in Massachusetts?

The major responsibilities of the pharmacy technician in Massachusetts revolve around the tasks that help the drug store provide services to its customers and control its inventory. The basic responsibilities performed by the majority of pharmacy techs are noted below.

Common pharmacy tech duties

  • Take care of customer and patient telephone calls and concerns
  • Initiate and manage patient data
  • Help pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by measuring, packaging and labeling prescribed medicines
  • Process payments for prescription medications and insurance claims
  • Manage all inventory in the local pharmacy

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Massachusetts

The four-step procedure for becoming a pharmacy technician in Massachusetts is reflected below.

  1. Decide if you want to get certified
  2. Once you choose to become certified, enroll in a PTCA-approved program
  3. Finish the pharmacy technician class and on-the-job training hours, as legally required by state
  4. Take and pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for certification

Step 1: Decide if you want to get certified

Choosing whether or not you plan to become certified is the first step you’ll have to take. Pharmacy technician certification is not a compulsory requirement to work in all 50 states, but it does come with quite a few benefits and advantages.

With this being the situation, it’s highly suggested that you get a professional certification if you’re serious about beginning a career in pharmacy. The remainder of the steps in this tutorial only apply in the event that you decide to get certified.

Step 2: Choose a program accredited by PTAC and register for classes

Choosing a Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC)-accredited training course is the second step if you have chosen to become certified. This body coordinates program curricula and guidelines with both the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to ensure consistent quality in national pharmacy tech courses.

The value of PTAC accreditation

It’s positively essential that you complete a program accredited by the PTAC, because only students who have completed an accredited training program are eligible to take either of the national certification exams.

Pharmacy tech classes online

To better support students who have jobs or have other commitments that make attending class difficult, many schools feature pharmacy tech classes online. In cases where a pupil may not live near a school, these courses are also ideal.

To explain a popular misconception, although online classes let students to finish their academic studies via online learning, the clinical, hands-on portion of their education must be completed at a physical site.

Step 3: Finish the program and complete the required internship hours

After finding an accredited program that meets your needs, the next step is to finish it. The classroom and internship segments of the traditional course can often be finished in twelve months or less.

Most training courses dedicate the classroom section of their curriculum to the content that will probably be covered in the national certification tests. In regards to the hands-on section of the training, this is where trainees get hands-on training in a functioning pharmacy setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass the PTCE or ExCPT examination

In order to earn a nationally-recognized pharmacy tech certification, you need to pass either the PTCE or ExCPT test. Once you have graduated from a PTAC-accredited course, you will be able to challenge either one of them. You will earn the national credential of CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) by passing either examination.

Let’s take a deeper look at these assessments below.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

One of the two national exams is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is a multiple-choice exam administered all over the nation. The PTCE includes 90 questions administered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Right after passing the exam, the student receives the CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) credential.

A test taker has to be able to satisfy one of the following two criteria to be able to take the test:

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

ExCPT Exam

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

To be eligible to take this examination, individuals have to meet one of the following criteria:

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

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in Massachusetts?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a pharmacy tech in the country was $31,750 as of May 2017.

The following data exhibits the point that this range may vary according to the state you work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA NECTA DivisionHourly$10.67$16.74$24.33
Pittsfield, MA Metropolitan NECTAHourly$11.46$16.20$23.32
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH NECTA DivisionHourly$10.77$15.73$21.94
Peabody, MA NECTA DivisionHourly$11.27$15.44$20.87
Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.86$14.83$23.10
Barnstable Town, MA Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.72$14.71$23.85
Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.88$14.66$22.96
Springfield, MA-CT Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.57$14.46$21.15
Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA NECTA DivisionHourly$10.64$14.42$22.12
Taunton-Norton-Raynham, MA NECTA DivisionHourly$11.23$14.31$19.56
Northwest Massachusetts BOSHourly$10.48$14.24$22.36
Framingham, MA NECTA DivisionHourly$10.67$14.04$21.97
Nashua, NH-MA NECTA DivisionHourly$10.41$13.84$18.52
Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner, MA Metropolitan NECTAHourly$11.05$13.81$19.25
New Bedford, MA Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.32$13.71$20.80
Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH NECTA DivisionHourly$10.40$13.35$23.75
Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH NECTA DivisionHourly$10.40$12.41$19.35