Pharmacy techs in Utah are entry-level medical professionals who help pharmacists with completing prescriptions and servicing customers in retail pharmacies, physicians’ offices and other healthcare facilities. Although it can be possible for those individuals who have graduated from high school to learn this career by means of on-the-job training, almost all employers would rather hire candidates who have completed a 12-month pharmacy tech certification training program.

This position is an attractive one for those who are beginning their careers in healthcare, because of the increasing demand for their skills in Utah. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 12% surge in new positions for pharmacy technicians through 2026.

What does a pharmacy technician do in Utah?

The major responsibilities of the pharmacy tech in Utah revolve around the activities that help the drug store service its clients and control its inventory. The following list reflects the basic responsibilities that drug stores put on their technicians.

Pharmacy technician responsibilities

  • Manage customer or patient calls and questions
  • Create and manage patient documents
  • Support pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling medicines
  • Process payments for medications and insurance policy claims
  • Maintain all inventory in the local pharmacy

The steps to becoming a pharmacy technician in Utah

The process to become a pharmacy tech in Utah may be summarized in the following four actions.

  1. Determine whether you plan to get certified
  2. Once you choose to become certified, enroll in a PTCA-authorized program
  3. Finish the pharmacy tech school and internship training hours, as mandated by state
  4. Take and pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Examination for certification

Step 1: Determine whether you want to get certified

The first thing you’ll have to do is determine whether or not you plan to become certified. Becoming certified is not a mandatory prerequisite for employment in all 50 states, but it does offer quite a few benefits and advantages.

For any individual who is serious about seeking a professional career in the pharmacy field, professional certification is highly encouraged. The remainder of the steps in this tutorial only apply if you decide to get certified.

Step 2: Sign-up for a PTAC-accredited training course

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). The PTAC is a nationally-respected body that coordinates pharmacy tech education across the country with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The need for PTAC accreditation

Due to the fact that only students who graduate from a training course accredited by the PTAC are immediately able to sit for one of the national certification exams, it is essential that you attend a program that is accredited by this organization.

A look at online pharmacy tech programs

A popular alternative option to on-campus classes, online pharmacy tech programs provide pupils the convenience to go to class and finish their training based on their personal daily schedules. These programs can also be great for individuals who do not live near an institution that has pharmacy technician education.

Be advised, though, that online programs still ask students to finish their hands-on training hours at a actual physical location affiliated with the program.

Step 3: Complete program and required internship hours

After finding an approved course that meets your needs, the next step is to complete it. Although each program is slightly different, it’s fairly typical for pupils to complete their classroom training and internship in as little as twelve months.

The academic portion of your training is likely to cover all of the concepts and procedural-type material that will be a part of the certification test. Allowing trainees hands-on training in a real pharmacy, alternatively, is the focus of the internship part of a program.

Step 4: Successfully pass the PTCE or ExCPT exam

To earn a nationally-recognized pharmacy technician certification, you have to pass either the PTCE or ExCPT examination. Once you’ve graduated from a PTAC-approved program, you will be able to sit for either of them. You will receive the national credential of CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) by passing either exam.

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

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

One of the two national tests is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is a multiple-choice test administered throughout the country. The PTCE contains 90 questions administered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. Students who successfully pass the exam earn the title Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

Eligibility to challenge the exam requires the individual being able to satisfy one of the following two requirements:

  • Finished a PTAC-accredited pharmacy technician training course, or
  • Acquired equivalent work experience as a pharmacy technician

ExCPT Exam

The other primary national certification assessment is the ExCPT, which is administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). This timed assessment features 100 multiple-choice questions, provided in a two-hour, 10-minute format.

To be eligible to sit for this exam, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Finished a PTAC-approved pharmacy tech training program, or
  • Acquired equivalent work experience as a pharmacy tech

Pharmacy technician pay in Utah

Pharmacy technician compensation fluctuates based on many things, but the median salary was $31,750 in 2017 per the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data below reflects the most recent numbers on salary available in Utah.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Salt Lake City, UT MSAHourly$12.85$17.32$22.68
Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSAHourly$12.96$16.66$21.05
South Western Utah BOSHourly$12.67$16.18$18.81
Provo-Orem, UT MSAHourly$12.45$16.05$22.93
Northern Utah BOSHourly$12.70$15.63$21.35
St. George, UT MSAHourly$11.75$15.52$21.48
Eastern Utah BOSHourly$12.28$14.95$21.70
Logan, UT-ID MSAHourly$12.07$14.66$20.25
West Central Utah BOSHourly$11.61$14.31$18.53