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How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Rhode Island

Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists by performing various pharmacy-related duties. They commonly work in hospitals, nursing homes and retail pharmacies. To become a pharmacy technician, one should be detail oriented and have impeccable math, listening and communication skills. This career path is ideal for those who are looking for job security. In fact, the overall employment of pharmacy technicians is likely to grow 20 percent by 2022.

Pharmacy Technician Requirements

To become a pharmacy technician in Rhode Island, one must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma. The state requires all applicants to obtain certification or to complete an approved training program. Along with that, each applicant must pass a criminal background check. Once the applicant meets these requirements, then he or she can send a written application to the Rhode Island State Board of Pharmacy to become a registered pharmacy technician.

Is Any Prior Education or Training Required?

Those who do not have certification must complete a training program. The training program will only count if the Rhode Island State Board of Pharmacy approves it. Many employers provide on-the-job training, which is how most pharmacy technicians prepare for the job.

Are Pharmacy Technicians Required to be Certified?

According to the law in Rhode Island, pharmacy technicians do not need to have certification. Most employers prefer their workers to have certification, but people can still find a job without it. Those who wish to become certified can even work for a few years to gain experience before seeking certification.

How Can a Pharmacy Technician Become Certified?

Those who wish to earn their pharmacy technician certification must pass a test given by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. To take the test, each candidate must possess a high school diploma and have zero drug-related convictions. Once people attain certification, they must complete 20 hours of continuing education courses every two years.

The certification test consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and is available year-round. Many of the questions are about how pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists. In addition, candidates will also answer questions about inventory control systems, pharmacy practices and maintaining medications. If someone does not pass the certification test on the first try, then he or she is welcome to try again.

Is Continuing Education Necessary?

In Rhode Island, there are two different levels of pharmacy technicians: Tech I and Tech II. Pharmacy technicians in the Tech I category only have certification through the state. Those who work under the Tech I classification earn slightly less money, but they have no continuing education requirements. The Tech II level is meant for those who are nationally certified. All nationally certified pharmacy technicians must take 20 hours of continuing education courses every two years.

Pharmacy Technician Salary in Rhode Island

The average salary for a pharmacy technician in Rhode Island is $30,000, which is three percent higher than the nationwide average. The lowest paid pharmacy technicians earn approximately $20,580 per year. Those who have experience and a good work ethic can earn as much as $42,200 annually.

Pharmacy Technician Job Duties

All pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists by helping them dispense prescription medications. Some of their most common tasks include answering phone calls, labeling prescriptions and inputting customer information into the pharmacy’s database. If a customer asks questions about his or her medication, then the pharmacy technician can arrange for the customer to speak with the pharmacist. In addition, pharmacy technicians also process insurance claims and organize inventory.

What Tasks is a Pharmacy Technician Legally Allowed to Perform?

In Rhode Island, a pharmacy technician can only perform pharmacy-related tasks that do not require professional judgment. For example, a pharmacy technician can measure amounts of medications but cannot compound or mix them. Some other tasks that a technician can perform include packaging prescriptions, alerting the pharmacist about medication shortages and recording information needed to fill the prescriptions. Sometimes, the pharmacy technician even operates automated dispensing equipment to fill prescription orders.

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