Pharmacy technicians in Montana are entry-level healthcare workers who assist pharmacists with completing prescriptions and serving clients in retail drug stores, physicians’ offices and hospitals. Although it’s possible for men and women with a high school diploma to learn about this job through on-the-job training, almost all hiring managers would rather employ candidates who have finished a 12-month pharmacy tech certification course.

This position is a great one for those people who are beginning their careers in healthcare, due to the escalating demand for their services in Montana. In fact, per the newest numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 12% rise in pharmacy tech positions over the next 10 years.

What do pharmacy technicians do in Montana?

The basic responsibilities of the pharmacy tech in Montana focus on the tasks that help the pharmacy provide services to its customers and manage its inventory. The traditional duties performed by the vast majority of pharmacy technicians are displayed below.

Typical pharmacy tech duties

  • Manage customer and patient telephone calls and questions
  • Create and maintain patient records
  • Help pharmacist in filling prescriptions by measuring, packaging and labeling prescription drugs
  • Process payments for medications and insurance claims
  • Maintain all inventory in the pharmacy

What is the procedure to become a pharmacy technician in Montana?

The four-part procedure for becoming a pharmacy tech in Montana is shown below.

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

Step 1: Decide if you would like to get certified

Choosing whether or not you would like to become certified is the very first step you’ll need to take. Becoming certified isn’t a mandatory prerequisite for employment in all 50 states, but it does offer quite a few benefits and advantages.

With that being the case, it is highly suggested that you earn a certification if you’re considering starting a career in pharmacy. Should you choose not to become certified, you should bypass the rest of the steps and start searching for a position after you graduate from high school.

Step 2: Register for classes approved by the PTAC

If you’ve decided to get your professional certification, the next move is to sign-up for a pharmacy technician training program that is recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). This body coordinates course curricula and standards with both Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to ensure consistent quality in nationwide pharmacy technician schools.

Why PTAC accreditation matters

It’s simply imperative that you complete a training course accredited by the PTAC, since only students who have finished an approved training program are eligible to challenge either of the national certification exams.

Online pharmacy tech school

A desirable alternative to on-campus programs, pharmacy tech classes online supply pupils the freedom to attend class and complete their training per their personal daily schedules. In instances where a student might not live near a school, these classes are likewise ideal.

Be conscious, however, that online classes still call for students to finish their internship hours at a physical site associated with the school.

Step 3: Meet all requisite hands-on training hours and graduate from the program

After finding an accredited program that meets your requirements, the next step is to finish it. The academic part can frequently be completed in twelve months or less, but completing the mandatory hands-on training hours (occasionally referred to as an “externship”) at an actual pharmacy can take longer.

The classroom part of your studies will most likely incorporate all of the theory and procedural-type information that is going to be contained in the certification examination. The externship, however, will present you with the chance to put what you learn into use in a live, professional setting.

Step 4: Pass one of the two national certification exams

In order to receive a nationally-accepted pharmacy tech certification, you will need to pass the PTCE or ExCPT examination. Eligibility to take these exams calls for you to initially complete a PTAC-accredited course. You will earn the national credential of CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) by passing either examination.

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

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

Administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, or PTCE as it is often referred to, is a multiple-choice exam administered in every state. The PTCE contains 90 questions offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed format. Candidates who pass the exam earn the title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

A test taker must satisfy the next two prerequisites in order to sit for the test:

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

ExCPT Exam

The ExCPT is sponsored by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), and additionally offers the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). There are 100 multiple-choice problems on this two-hour, 10-minute timed assessment.

Eligibility for this exam further depends on the test taker having either:

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

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in Montana?

Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States was $31,750 as of May 2017.

Pharmacy technician compensation in Montana differs to some extent from the national median, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Missoula, MT MSAHourly$12.95$16.70$20.83
Western Montana BOSHourly$12.27$16.64$21.58
Eastern Montana BOSHourly$12.00$16.11$21.37
Great Falls, MT MSAHourly$12.01$16.08$18.78
Billings, MT MSAHourly$12.46$16.05$20.26
Southwestern Montana BOSHourly$12.22$16.02$19.49
Central Montana BOSHourly$11.30$15.93$19.59