Pharmacies are busy places, and pharmacists rely heavily on their retail staff to keep the store running smoothly. Most of the store is like any other retailer, using cashiers and shelf stockers, but the pharmacy is different. There, trained pharmacy technicians receive and fill prescriptions, manage the pharmacy's inventory of medications, and handle billing and invoicing for both patients and their insurers. In Louisiana, you can become a pharmacy technician in as little as 14 months.
Training for pharmacy technicians consists of classroom education and clinical experience. You can qualify as a pharmacy technician in Louisiana after completing either a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate degree program. State-approved certificate programs cover the basics of pharmacology, medical terminology, dosage calculations and the daily operation of pharmacies. Associate degree programs add a broad selection of humanities courses, and math and sciences, giving their graduates better communications skills and a broader general education.
Before you can become a licensed pharmacy technician in Louisiana, you need to complement your classroom training with 600 hours of real-world pharmacy experience. The first 200 hours come as part of your state-approved pharmacy tech training program, but you'll need to find opportunities in a working pharmacy for the rest. You can work up to 50 hours per week, so completing the remaining 400 hours can take as few as eight weeks. The pharmacist must complete an official affidavit to verify the hours you've worked, and if you earned hours with several pharmacists you'll need an affidavit from each of them.
The Licensing Process
Louisiana's licensing process has several steps. Once you've completed your training, you must apply for registration through the state's Board of Pharmacy. Registration is good for 18 months, and you have to complete your hours of practical experience during that time. If your registration expires, you need to apply again. While you're earning your hours of experience, you can also take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board's certification exam. Once you've passed the exam and earned your 600 hours of experience, you can apply to the Board of Pharmacy for your pharmacy tech license.
Certification and Renewal
The PTCB's pharmacy technician certification exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions, covering customer service, inventory management and pharmacy management topics. The time limit to finish your exam is 110 minutes. To maintain your PTCB certification, you must also complete 20 hours of approved continuing-education activities over each two-year certification cycle. Louisiana's state license requires annual renewal, and you have to complete 10 hours of continuing education during the year to maintain your license. The same 10 hours of CE can fulfil both requirements.
- Louisiana Board of Pharmacy: How Do I Become A Pharmacy Technician?
- Louisiana Board of Pharmacy: Application for Pharmacy Technician Candidate Registration
- Bossier Parish Community College: Certificate of Technical Studies in Pharmacy Technician and Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board: Prepare for the Exam
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board: Continuing Education Requirements
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.