Pharmacy technicians in Minnesota are entry-level medical professionals who assist pharmacists with completing drug prescriptions and serving customers in commercial drug stores, doctors’ offices and other healthcare facilities. While it’s possible for men and women who have graduated from high school to prepare for this career by means of on-the-job training, the majority of hiring managers want to employ candidates who have finished a 12-month pharmacy technician certification program.

Due to unprecedented demand for new pharmacy techs in Minnesota, this career path is quite desirable among men and women who want an entry-level job in healthcare. As a matter of fact, according to the newest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 12% growth in pharmacy technician employment during the next decade.

What does a pharmacy technician do in Minnesota?

In general, pharmacy technicians in Minnesota handle a range of day-to-day customer support and inventory management responsibilities for the pharmacist. The basic duties held by the vast majority of pharmacy technicians are listed below.

Pharmacy technician duties

  • Handle client and patient telephone calls and inquiries
  • Establish and manage patient documents
  • Assist pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling prescription drugs
  • Handle payments for prescriptions and insurance coverage claims
  • Control all inventory in the pharmacy

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Minnesota

The certification process to become a pharmacy tech in Minnesota may be summed-up in the following four steps.

  1. Determine whether you would like to become certified
  2. Should you choose to get certified, enroll in a PTCA-accredited training course
  3. Complete the pharmacy tech school and internship training hours, as legally required by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Examination for official certification

Step 1: Decide if you want to become certified

Determining whether or not you want to get certified is the initial step you’ll have to take. It may not be mandatory to hold a certification to be able to work in all parts of the United States, yet an ever-increasing number of employers across the land are deciding to only hire certified applicants.

For anyone who is considering having a professional career in the pharmacy industry, professional certification is strongly recommended. If you still do not think that you’re interested in pursuing your pharmacy certification, the next step for you is to look for a job.

Step 2: Register for classes accredited by the PTAC

If you have decided to pursue your professional certification, the next thing is to sign-up for a pharmacy technician training program that is recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). Pharmacy technician programs around the country are governed by the PTAC, who works jointly with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to standardize education in the trade around the country.

The need for PTAC accreditation

Because only trainees who finish a training course accredited by the PTAC are immediately able to challenge either of the national certification exams, it really is imperative that you complete a training program that’s accredited by this organization.

About online pharmacy tech programs

A favored alternative option to campus-based programs, pharmacy tech classes online supply pupils the convenience to go to class and complete their training based on their own daily schedules. In instances where a student might not live in close proximity to a campus-based course, these courses are likewise ideal.

Be advised, however, that online courses still call for students to complete their internship hours at a actual physical site affiliated with the school.

Step 3: Finish training program and required hands-on training hours

Completing the accredited course you decided on in the previous step is your next order of business. While every course is somewhat different, it’s fairly typical for trainees to complete their classroom training and internship in just 12 months.

Most training courses dedicate the academic section of their syllabus to the subject matter that is included in the national certification tests. In regards to the internship portion of the program, this is where students get hands-on training in a functioning pharmacy environment.

Step 4: Successfully pass the PTCE or ExCPT examination

The PTCE and ExCPT are the two exams that award nationally-accepted pharmacy tech certifications. Becoming eligible to sit for either of these examinations requires you to first graduate from a PTAC-accredited program. A passing mark on either exam will grant you the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Next is a brief explanation of the two assessments.

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 examination. The PTCE contains 90 questions given in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. A passing score on the test awards the individual the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

Becoming eligible to take the examination requires the individual being able to meet either of the following two prerequisites:

  • Completed a PTAC-approved pharmacy tech training course, or
  • Obtained equivalent work experience as a pharmacy tech

ExCPT Exam

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

You must be able to meet one of the following criteria so that you can can challenge the assessment:

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

Pharmacy technician pay in Minnesota

The median annual pharmacy tech salary was $31,750 in May 2017 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pharmacy tech pay in Minnesota differs to some extent from the nationwide median, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Grand Forks, ND-MN MSAHourly$14.48$18.80$23.95
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI MSAHourly$12.11$17.63$23.71
Fargo, ND-MN MSAHourly$10.95$17.13$22.97
Rochester, MN MSAHourly$9.33$16.79$23.22
Northwest Minnesota (BOS)Hourly$11.98$16.48$20.28
Northeast Minnesota (BOS)Hourly$12.41$16.45$23.16
St. Cloud, MN MSAHourly$10.51$16.17$22.45
Mankato-North Mankato, MN MSAHourly$10.23$15.06$23.73
Southeast Minnesota (BOS)Hourly$11.62$15.03$19.22
Duluth, MN-WI MSAHourly$10.44$14.80$21.56
Southwest Minnesota (BOS)Hourly$11.22$14.78$18.83
La Crosse, WI-MN MSAHourly$10.47$13.85$18.98