Working at pharmacies of all kinds, pharmacy technicians in North Carolina work under the guidance of the pharmacist to assure that prescriptions for medications are filled and customers are taken care of. While it’s possible for those with a high school diploma to learn this job by means of on-the-job training, most employers would rather employ people who have completed a one-year pharmacy tech certification training course.

This job is a good one for those people who are starting their careers in healthcare, because of the increasing demand for their abilities in North Carolina. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 12% growth in new roles for pharmacy technicians through 2026.

What do pharmacy technicians do in North Carolina?

Pharmacy technicians in North Carolina are employed under the supervision of a pharmacist, and are responsible for completing a range of support functions that assist in keeping the pharmacy running efficiently. The typical responsibilities held by the vast majority of pharmacy techs are displayed below.

Basic pharmacy tech duties

  • Handle client or patient phone calls and questions
  • Create and manage patient data
  • Support pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by measuring, packaging and labeling medicines
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance claims
  • Control all inventory in the drug store

How to become a pharmacy technician in North Carolina.

The four steps to becoming a pharmacy tech in North Carolina are listed below.

  1. Determine if you want to get certified
  2. If you choose to become certified, enroll in a PTCA-approved training course
  3. Finish the pharmacy tech class and on-the-job training hours, as mandated by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Examination for certification

Step 1: Determine if you want to become certified

Your very first step towards becoming a pharmacy tech is to determine if you’re going to get certified. It may not be necessary to hold a certification in order to work in all parts of the country, but an ever-growing number of employers across the land are deciding to only work with certified workers.

With this being the situation, it’s highly suggested that you get a certification if you are set on beginning a career in pharmacy. The remaining steps in this tutorial only matter in the event that you decide to become certified.

Step 2: Sign-up for classes accredited by the PTAC

The second step in becoming a certified pharmacy technician is to sign-up for classes that are accredited by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). This body coordinates course 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 nationwide pharmacy technician courses.

The importance of PTAC accreditation

Because only trainees who finish a program accredited by the PTAC are immediately eligible to sit for one of the national certification exams, it is essential that you finish a training program that is approved by this body.

A look at online pharmacy tech programs

In order to better cater to individuals who work or have other responsibilities that can make going to class difficult, a great number of schools offer pharmacy tech classes online. For pupils who do not live near a college campus that provides the courses they need, online courses are always an attractive alternative.

Be advised, however, that online courses still call for pupils to finish their internship hours at a physical site affiliated with the program.

Step 3: Fulfill all required hands-on training hours and complete the program

The next step is to finish the accredited program you have selected. The academic portion can often be finished in one year or less, but finishing the mandatory hands-on training hours (sometimes called an “externship”) at a pharmacy can take longer.

The majority of training classes devote the classroom segment of their course of study to the subject matter that will probably be included in the national certification tests. The internship, on the other hand, will provide you the opportunity to put the things you learn into use in a functioning, professional environment.

Step 4: Pass the PTCE or ExCPT Certification Exam

There are two nationally-accepted pharmacy technician certification exams – the PTCE and ExCPT. Eligibility to challenge these exams requires you to first complete a PTAC-accredited training course. Students who pass either exam obtain the nationally-recognized distinction of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Below is a quick breakdown of the two exams.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and is a multiple-choice test. The PTCE includes 90 questions offered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Individuals who successfully pass the assessment gain the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

A test taker must be able to satisfy one of the next two criteria to take the test:

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

ExCPT Exam

The other major national certification assessment is the ExCPT, which is provided by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). Students get two hours and 10 minutes to complete 100 multiple-choice questions.

Being eligible for this assessment additionally is dependent upon the test taker having either:

  • Finished a PTAC-accredited pharmacy technician program, or
  • Gained comparable work experience as a pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technician pay in North Carolina

Pharmacy technician compensation may vary based upon various factors, but the median salary was $31,750 in 2017 per the latest information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The following data table exhibits the fact that this number may vary depending on which state you work in.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
North CarolinaHourly$9.64$13.87$19.16
Fayetteville, NC MSAHourly$10.27$15.30$21.79
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC MSAHourly$9.93$15.20$19.24
Durham-Chapel Hill, NC MSAHourly$10.03$15.01$21.34
Burlington, NC MSAHourly$9.55$14.96$22.67
Winston-Salem, NC MSAHourly$10.03$14.96$19.53
Asheville, NC MSAHourly$10.30$14.95$20.79
Greenville, NC MSAHourly$9.96$14.68$19.56
Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC MSAHourly$9.87$13.73$18.16
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSAHourly$9.82$13.73$19.68
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NCHourly$10.06$13.66$18.00
Raleigh-Cary, NC MSAHourly$9.69$13.52$18.84
Other North Carolina BOSHourly$8.61$13.46$22.24
Goldsboro, NC MSAHourly$10.03$13.26$19.54
Western North Carolina BOSHourly$9.98$13.15$17.69
Western Central North Carolina BOSHourly$9.63$13.12$18.77
Greensboro-High Point, NC MSAHourly$8.41$12.92$18.64
Wilmington, NC MSAHourly$9.63$12.19$18.11
Northeastern North Carolina BOSHourly$9.21$12.10$17.46
Rocky Mount, NC MSAHourly$9.58$12.02$18.74
Jacksonville, NC MSAHourly$8.29$11.05$19.52