Pharmacy techs in Rhode Island are entry-level healthcare providers who help pharmacists with filling prescriptions and assisting customers in commercial pharmacies, physicians’ offices and other healthcare facilities. Although it can be possible for men and women with a high school diploma to learn this job through on-the-job training, almost all employers want to hire candidates who have finished a 12-month pharmacy technician certification training course.

The demand for pharmacy technicians in Rhode Island is forecasted to increase dramatically in the next few years, making it a good option for all those who are beginning their careers. As a matter of fact, per the latest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there should be a 12% rise in pharmacy tech employment through the next decade.

What do pharmacy technicians do in Rhode Island?

The basic responsibilities of the pharmacy tech in Rhode Island center around the functions which help the drug store take care of its clients and manage its inventory. The following list shows the common responsibilities that drug stores place on their technicians.

Typical pharmacy tech duties

  • Manage customer or patient calls and questions
  • Create and maintain patient documents
  • Assist pharmacist in filling prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling prescribed medicines
  • Handle payments for prescriptions and insurance claims
  • Handle all inventory in the local pharmacy

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Rhode Island

The four-part process for becoming a pharmacy tech in Rhode Island is displayed below.

  1. Determine if you want to get certified
  2. If you should intend to get certified, register for a PTCA-accredited training program
  3. Finish the pharmacy tech school and hands-on training hours, as required by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Examination for official certification

Step 1: Decide if you plan to become certified

The very first thing you will have to do is determine if you want to become certified. Becoming certified isn’t a mandatory condition for employment in all 50 states, but it does provide quite a few added benefits and advantages.

With this being the situation, it is highly recommended that you earn a certification if you’re set on launching a career in pharmacy. In case you still do not feel like you are interested in pursuing your pharmacy certification, the next step for you is to find a job.

Step 2: Sign-up for courses approved by the PTAC

Choosing a Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC)-accredited training course is the next step if you have chosen to get certified. This organization coordinates course curricula and standards with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to ensure consistent high quality in national pharmacy technician courses.

Why PTAC accreditation is important

Due to the fact that only students who graduate from a training program accredited by the PTAC are immediately able to take either of the national certification exams, it is essential that you complete a training course that’s recognized by this organization.

A look at online pharmacy tech programs

In order to better provide for students who work or have other obligations that can make going to class difficult, a large number of schools feature online pharmacy tech programs. These programs are also perfect for individuals who do not live in close proximity to a school that provides pharmacy tech education.

To explain a common myth, while online courses let students to complete their classroom studies through online learning, the clinical, internship section of their training must be completed at a physical location.

Step 3: Graduate from course and necessary internship hours

Graduating from the approved course you chose in the previous step is your next objective. The academic part can usually be finished in 12 months or less, but finishing the necessary hands-on training hours (occasionally called an “externship”) at a pharmacy can take longer.

Most training programs dedicate the classroom section of their course of study to the content that will probably be covered in the national certification exams. The externship, however, will provide you the opportunity to put what you learn into use in a live, professional environment.

Step 4: Pass one of the national certification examinations

There are two nationally-accepted pharmacy tech certification exams – the PTCE and ExCPT. You must graduate from a program approved by the PTAC in order to be qualified to challenge one of these examinations. Pupils who pass either test receive the nationally-recognized title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

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

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 examination is provided in a timed layout, and includes 90 total problems. Right after passing the exam, the student receives the CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) credential.

Becoming eligible to sit for the exam requires the individual having the ability to satisfy one of the following two criteria:

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

ExCPT Exam

The other popular national certification examination is the ExCPT, which is provided by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). This multiple-choice exam features 100 multiple-choice questions, presented in a two-hour, 10-minute structure.

Eligibility for this examination additionally is dependent upon the candidate having either:

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

How much does a pharmacy technician make in Rhode Island?

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

The data table below reflects the most recent data on salary available in Rhode Island.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Rhode IslandHourly$10.84$14.77$23.24
Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan NECTAHourly$10.86$14.83$23.10
Norwich-New London, CT-RI Metropolitan NECTAHourly$11.36$14.80$21.27