Pharmacy technicians in Tennessee are entry-level medical workers who assist pharmacists with filling prescriptions for medications and serving clients in commercial drug stores, physicians’ offices and other healthcare facilities. Although it is actually possible for those individuals who have graduated from high school to prepare for this career through on-the-job training, most employers choose to employ applicants who have completed a 12-month pharmacy technician certification training program.

Because of unprecedented demand for new pharmacy technicians in Tennessee, this career path is quite desirable among individuals looking for an entry-level position in the medical field. In fact, per the newest data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a 12% growth in pharmacy tech positions over the next 10 years.

What does a pharmacy tech do in Tennessee?

Generally speaking, pharmacy technicians in Tennessee manage a variety of daily customer service and inventory management responsibilities for the pharmacist. The subsequent checklist reflects the standard responsibilities that drug stores place on their technicians.

Pharmacy technician responsibilities

  • Manage client or patient phone calls and questions
  • Initiate and maintain patient medical records
  • Assist pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling prescription drugs
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance coverage claims
  • Organize all inventory in the pharmacy

What is the procedure to become a pharmacy tech in Tennessee?

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

  1. Decide if you want to get certified
  2. Once you choose to get certified, register for a PTCA-approved training course
  3. Finish the pharmacy tech class and on-the-job training hours, as required by state
  4. Take and pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for certification

Step 1: Determine if you want to get certified

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine whether or not you want to become certified. Becoming certified is not a compulsory prerequisite to work in every state, but it does supply many benefits and advantages.

For anyone who is committed to having a professional career in the pharmacy field, certification is highly encouraged. In case you still do not think that you’re concerned about pursuing your pharmacy certification, your next step is to get a job.

Step 2: Register for classes approved by the PTAC

The next step in becoming a certified pharmacy technician is to register for classes that are recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). This body coordinates program curricula and guidelines with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to make certain of consistent high quality in nationwide pharmacy technician schools.

What’s PTAC accreditation?

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

Online pharmacy tech school

A popular alternative option to campus-based courses, online pharmacy tech programs give students the convenience to attend class and finish their education per their personal schedules. For pupils who do not live around a college campus that offers the classes they are looking for, online classes are always an appealing alternative.

Although it’s viable to complete the academic section of a course online, it will nevertheless be required to finish the hands-on training component in-person at a designated site.

Step 3: Satisfy all requisite hands-on training hours and complete the program

Graduating from the accredited course you selected in the previous step will be your next order of business. Though every course is somewhat different, it is quite typical for students to finish their academic education and internship in just one year.

The majority of training classes devote the academic portion of their curriculum to the subject matter that will probably be included in the national certification exams. The internship, on the other hand, will provide you the opportunity to put everything you learn into use in a live, professional setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass the PTCE or ExCPT test

There are two nationally-accepted pharmacy technician certification exams – the PTCE and ExCPT. Once you’ve completed a PTAC-accredited course, you’ll be eligible to sit for either of them. A passing grade on either test will grant you the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Let’s take a closer look at these examinations below.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and is a multiple-choice exam. The exam is administered in a timed structure, and includes 90 total questions. Students who successfully pass the exam gain the distinction Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Becoming eligible to take the test requires the pupil having the ability to satisfy either of the following two criteria:

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

ExCPT Exam

The other primary national certification assessment is the ExCPT, which is awarded by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). Students have two hours and 10 minutes to complete 100 multiple-choice problems.

Eligibility for this test also relies on the test taker having either:

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

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in Tennessee?

Pharmacy tech compensation fluctuates based upon several variables, but the median pay was $31,750 in 2017 per the current information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pharmacy tech pay in Tennessee differs to some extent from the nation’s median, as is displayed in the data table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Memphis, TN-MS-AR MSAHourly$10.62$16.01$22.39
North Central Tennessee BOSHourly$10.65$14.85$21.01
Chattanooga, TN-GA MSAHourly$10.25$14.19$18.93
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN MSAHourly$10.12$14.10$19.40
Western Tennessee BOSHourly$10.25$13.86$19.03
Clarksville, TN-KY MSAHourly$8.24$13.84$19.30
Knoxville, TN MSAHourly$10.02$13.32$18.28
Cleveland, TN MSAHourly$10.43$13.26$15.80
Jackson, TN MSAHourly$9.87$13.20$18.74
South Central Tennessee BOSHourly$9.29$13.13$17.99
Johnson City, TN MSAHourly$9.92$12.74$18.50
Morristown, TN MSAHourly$9.51$12.25$17.55
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA MSAHourly$9.90$12.20$18.16
Eastern Tennessee BOSHourly$9.64$12.05$17.19