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How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Minnesota

When looking for a secure job in the medical field, one potential avenue is the role of a pharmacy technician. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that pharmacy technician jobs will grow by 20 percent, a rate faster than average for the job market. When considering a job as a pharmacy technician in Minnesota, it’s important to research not only what a technician does, but also what steps need to be taken to qualify for a job in the field.

Job Description

Pharmacy technicians work side by side with pharmacists in various workplace environments from grocery store pharmacies to major hospitals. In general, they assist under the direct supervision of a pharmacist performing tasks such as entering patient information, selling or delivering prescriptions to patients, performing bulk compounding, prepackaging drugs and receiving, unpacking and putting away medications. However, there are certain duties that only a pharmacist can perform.

Guidelines

What a pharmacy technician can and can’t do in Minnesota is regulated by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. This board sets out specific guidelines of what a technician can legally do, and ensures that each pharmacy follows them in regards to a technician’s duties. For example, while a technician can sell or deliver prescriptions to a patient, they cannot counsel the patient on the medication. While technicians can do bulk compounding, they cannot do extemporaneous compounding. Even with packaging drugs there are guidelines stating that while they can prepackage a drug, the pharmacist has to certify the packaging. For a full list of what a pharmacy technician can and can’t do in Minnesota, refer to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy’s website.

Education

In general, the state of Minnesota requires certain education or training be met before allowing a person to register as a pharmacy technician. You have three options in order to meet these requirements. One, you can graduate from a pharmacy technician training program. This program must be board-approved and completed at an accredited technical or vocational college or program. A second option is to attend a pharmacy technician training program offered by the United States armed forces or a program run by a public health service. Finally, you can meet the necessary education requirements through an employer-based training program. To qualify, the approved program must include at least 240 hours of both theoretical and practical training over a one year period.

Registration

Once the education requirements have been met, a technician must also meet the full Minnesota state requirements to register as a pharmacy technician. These requirements include being at least 18 years of age and having a high school diploma or GED. The technician must also pay the necessary registration fees, as well as pay to renew the registration at the end of each registration period.

Continuing Education

Along with the educational requirements necessary for initial registration, pharmacy technicians in Minnesota are required to keep up to date with new information in the field through continuing education. To maintain certification a technician must complete 20 hours of continuing education per two year cycle. Courses must be approved by either the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education or the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

Pharmacy Technician Salary in Minnesota

Salaries for pharmacy technicians average nationally at an estimated $27,000 to $35,000 depending on where you work, with those in ambulatory and hospital care services making up the higher salaries. In Minnesota, the average is an estimated $28,700, with technicians making more or less depending on experience and work location.

A career as a pharmacy technician places you in a field that continues to grow and provide opportunities not only in Minnesota but throughout the United States. The position also provide a path and knowledge towards other potential future training and careers in pharmaceuticals, including continuing on to a pharmacy school towards eventual certification as a pharmacist.

United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pharmacy Technicians
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm#tab-1

Minnesota Board of Pharmacy
http://www.phcybrd.state.mn.us/Techdoc.htm

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