The pharmacy tech in Missouri is an entry-level health worker who assists the pharmacist in a number of routine tasks around the store. Although it is possible for men and women who have graduated from high school to learn this position through on-the-job training, most hiring managers prefer to hire applicants who have finished a 12-month pharmacy technician certification course.

This position is an attractive one for those who are starting their careers in the medical field, because of the increasing need for their abilities in Missouri. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% growth in new opportunities for pharmacy technicians through 2026.

What does a pharmacy tech do in Missouri?

In general, pharmacy techs in Missouri handle a range of daily customer service and inventory control tasks for the pharmacist. The basic duties performed by most pharmacy techs are listed below.

Common pharmacy tech duties

  • Take care of customer or patient telephone calls and concerns
  • Initiate and manage patient medical records
  • Help pharmacist in filling prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling prescription drugs
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance claims
  • Manage all inventory in the local drugstore

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Missouri

The four steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Missouri are detailed below.

  1. Determine if you plan to get certified
  2. Should you decide to become certified, register for a PTCA-authorized training program
  3. Complete the pharmacy technician course and internship training hours, as legally required by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Examination for certification

Step 1: Decide if you plan to become certified

The first thing you will need to do is determine if you want to become certified. No matter what you choose, you need to be mindful that most facilities choose to hire candidates who have earned their certification.

With this being the case, it is strongly recommended that you get a certification if you are interested in launching a career in the pharmacy industry. In case you still don’t think that you’re interested in pursuing your pharmacy certification, your next step is to get a job.

Step 2: Sign-up for a PTAC-accredited training course

Choosing a Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC)-accredited training program is the second step if you’ve chosen to get certified. The PTAC is a nationally-regarded organization that coordinates pharmacy tech coursework around the country with both Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Why PTAC accreditation is important

Accreditation by the PTAC is deemed imperative because only graduates from a course accredited by this body can take one of the national certification exams.

Online pharmacy tech school

To better cater to students who work or have other obligations that can make attending class difficult, many schools offer pharmacy tech classes online. These courses are also perfect for people who do not live in close proximity to an institution that offers pharmacy tech training.

Be advised, however, that online classes still ask pupils to complete their hands-on training hours at a actual physical site associated with the program.

Step 3: Finish training course and necessary internship hours

Once you’ve found an accredited course that meets your needs, the next thing is to complete it. The academic and hands-on parts of the conventional program can often be completed in twelve months or less.

The classroom section of your training will probably include all of the theory and procedural-type material that is going to be included in the certification exam. In terms of the hands-on section of the program, this is where students get hands-on training in a live pharmacy setting.

Step 4: Pass the PTCE or ExCPT Certification Exam

The PTCE and ExCPT are examinations that present nationally-accepted pharmacy tech credentials. Once you have graduated from a PTAC-approved course, you’ll become able to take either of them. A passing score on either exam will give you the title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Both of these exams are described in more detail below.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

Provided by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, or PTCE as it is known, is a multiple-choice assessment accepted throughout the country. The PTCE is made of 90 questions given in a one-hour, 50-minute timed format. A passing mark on the test gives the pupil the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

In order to become approved to take this test, a candidate needs to have either:

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

ExCPT Exam

Provided by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), the ExCPT Exam also awards the nationally-regarded title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) to students who get a passing score. Test takers get two hours and 10 minutes to finish 100 multiple-choice questions.

To become eligible to challenge this examination, individuals have to meet the following prerequisites:

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

How much does a pharmacy technician make in Missouri?

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 Missouri differs somewhat from the nation’s average, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
St. Joseph, MO-KS MSAHourly$10.15$14.79$21.63
Kansas City, MO-KS MSAHourly$10.12$14.70$20.11
St. Louis, MO-IL MSAHourly$10.61$14.41$20.24
Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL MSAHourly$9.79$13.94$18.69
Columbia, MO MSAHourly$10.25$13.88$19.24
Joplin, MO MSAHourly$10.23$13.61$18.38
Southeast Missouri BOSHourly$9.67$13.03$18.91
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO MSAHourly$9.89$12.97$18.44
Jefferson City, MO MSAHourly$8.35$12.78$17.86
Central Missouri (BOS)Hourly$9.92$12.71$18.43
Southwest Missouri BOSHourly$8.74$12.00$17.86
North Missouri BOSHourly$9.60$11.61$17.19
Springfield, MO MSAHourly$8.74$11.48$18.43