Pharmacy techs in New Mexico are entry-level medical providers who help pharmacists with completing drug prescriptions and helping clients in commercial pharmacies, physicians’ offices and other healthcare facilities. A handful of technicians may become employed even if they aren’t certified, but this is definitely becoming uncommon because the vast majority of facilities now choose to hire only people who are graduates of a formal training course.

This job is a good one for those people who are starting their careers in the medical field, due to the increasing need for their abilities in New Mexico. In fact, per the most current figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 12% rise in pharmacy technician employment over the next decade.

What does a pharmacy technician do in New Mexico?

The basic duties of the pharmacy technician in New Mexico focus on the duties that help the pharmacy service its customers and manage its inventory. The typical responsibilities performed by the majority of pharmacy technicians are noted below.

Typical pharmacy tech duties

  • Take client and patient calls and concerns
  • Establish and manage patient records
  • Support pharmacist in filling prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling medicines
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance claims
  • Handle all inventory in the local pharmacy

How to become a pharmacy technician in New Mexico.

The four-part process for becoming a pharmacy technician in New Mexico is reflected below.

  1. Determine if you want to become certified
  2. Once you choose to become certified, enroll in a PTCA-approved program
  3. Complete the pharmacy technician course and on-the-job training hours, as mandated by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for certification

Step 1: Determine whether you would like to become certified

Your initial step to becoming a pharmacy tech is to decide whether or not you are going to get certified. Regardless of what you decide, you should be mindful that most employers would rather pick candidates who have gotten their certification.

With that being the situation, it is strongly suggested that you pursue professional certification if you’re considering launching a career in the pharmacy industry. In case you still do not feel like you are concerned about earning your pharmacy certification, your next step is to look for a job.

Step 2: Register for classes accredited by the PTAC

The next step in becoming a certified pharmacy technician is to sign-up for training courses that are accredited by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). Pharmacy tech programs across the country are regulated by the PTAC, who works in conjunction with both Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to standardize instruction in the trade all-around the nation.

The importance of PTAC accreditation

It’s positively essential that you graduate from a training program accredited by the PTAC, since only students who are graduates of an approved training program are eligible to challenge either of the national certification exams.

Online pharmacy tech school

So as to better provide for students who work or have other commitments that make going to class difficult, many schools offer online pharmacy tech programs. For pupils who don’t live around a physical campus that provides the courses they need, online courses are also an attractive alternative.

To explain a popular myth, although online classes enable students to finish their academic studies via distance learning, the clinical, hands-on section of their training has to be finished at a physical location.

Step 3: Graduate from course and necessary hands-on training hours

Graduating from the approved program you chose in the preceding step is going to be your next objective. The classroom portion can often be completed in twelve months or less, but completing the necessary internship hours (sometimes referred to as an “externship”) at an actual pharmacy can occasionally take more time.

Most training courses dedicate the classroom part of their curriculum to the material that is included in the national certification exams. The internship, in contrast, will give you the chance to put everything you learn into practice in a live, professional environment.

Step 4: Pass the PTCE or ExCPT Certification Exam

The PTCE and ExCPT are examinations that grant nationally-recognized pharmacy tech certifications. Becoming eligible to take these exams requires you to first graduate from a PTAC-accredited training course. A passing mark on either test will grant you the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Here is a quick breakdown of both exams.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

Administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, or PTCE as it is known, is a multiple-choice exam recognized throughout the country. The PTCE consists of 90 questions administered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. A passing grade on the exam awards the individual the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) certification.

Becoming eligible to take the examination requires the pupil being able to satisfy one of the following two requirements:

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

ExCPT Exam

The second primary national certification assessment is the ExCPT, which is administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). There are 100 multiple-choice questions on this two-hour, 10-minute timed exam.

To become eligible to sit for this examination, candidates must meet the following criteria:

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

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in New Mexico?

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

Pharmacy technician pay in New Mexico may differ somewhat from the nationwide average, as is shown in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
New MexicoHourly$10.99$15.14$20.04
Santa Fe, NM MSAHourly$12.15$16.46$19.80
Farmington, NM MSAHourly$11.14$15.64$22.49
Albuquerque, NM MSAHourly$11.01$15.17$19.84
Southwestern New Mexico BOSHourly$10.17$15.12$18.62
Eastern New Mexico BOSHourly$10.93$14.72$18.80
North and West Central New Mexico BOSHourly$11.84$14.70$21.37
Las Cruces, NM MSAHourly$10.21$13.69$18.79