Pharmacy Technician

This certificate program prepares pharmacy technicians to work under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians stock and inventory prescription and over-the-counter medications; maintain written or computerized patient medication records; count or pour medications into dispensing containers; prepare sterile intravenous medications; type prescription labels, prepare insurance claim forms; and provide direct customer service. Pharmacy technicians work in hospital pharmacies, retail pharmacies, home healthcare pharmacies, nursing home pharmacies, clinic pharmacies, nuclear medicine pharmacies, and in mail order prescription pharmacies, and other practice settings.

The CSM pharmacy technician program is currently in candidacy for accreditation through ASHP/ACPE.  This meets the Maryland Board of Pharmacy for requirement that all pharmacy technicians in the state of Maryland complete an approved educational program and pass a national certification exam prior to applying for a license.  Graduates are eligible to take the national Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (PTCE) or the Examination for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).

Program Requirements

  • All pharmacy technician students must achieve a minimum grade of "C" in each course in the curriculum for successful program completion.
  • The maximum number of credits accepted in transfer from other institutions to this program is 24.
  • Students are required to provide proof of immunization status, a completed health form, a criminal background check and drug screen at the students' expense. Illicit drug use, criminal background checks, and immunization status may prevent future employment as a pharmacy technician, placement in externship sites, or licensure by State Boards of Pharmacy. Students are also required to provide proof of health insurance and CPR certification. The American Heart Association Basic Life Support for Healthcare providers and the American Red Cross CPR for Professional Rescuers are the only accepted CPR courses.
  • The college will not be responsible for any tuition, fees or other costs that may be charged or paid or lost due to incomplete, untimely or unsatisfactory health records, CPR certification, background check or drug screen.  The college is not responsible for the conduct of background checks and drug screenings, or decisions made by other entities as a result of the background check and drug screening requirements.

Program Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate professionalism and ethics when communicating and providing quality patient care.
  2. Utilize professional knowledge & skills in the application of the pharmacy technician role.
  3. Demonstrate competency in the processing and handling of medication and medication orders.
  4. Demonstrate competency in compounding procedures using sterile and nonsterile techniques.
  5. Demonstrate competency in procedures regarding procurement, billing, reimbursement, and management of pharmacy inventory.
  6. Utilize current healthcare technology to ensure safe and accurate medication dispensing and healthcare delivery.
  7. Safely provide quality patient care, in compliance with federal and state laws.

Employment Opportunities and Salary Expectations

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) anticipates “faster than average” employment growth for pharmacy technicians, growing more than 7% from 2018 to 2028. Formal education, work experience, and national certification can all help pharmacy technicians grow professionally and increase long-term earning potential. PTCB has a range of credentials to help pharmacy technicians support their career path.

Occupation: Pharmacy Technicians(SOC code 292052)
Period: May 2019

Area name

Employment(1)

Hourly median wage

Annual median wage(2)

Location Quotient

Maryland(2400000)

7640

16.04

33360

0.99

Footnotes:
(1) Estimates for detailed occupations do not sum to the totals because the totals include occupations not shown separately. Estimates do not include self-employed workers.
(2) Annual wages have been calculated by multiplying the corresponding hourly wage by 2,080 hours.

Quick Facts: Pharmacy Technicians

2019 Median* Pay

$33,950 per year
$16.32 per hour

Typical Entry-Level Education

High school diploma or equivalent

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

None

On-the-job Training

Moderate-term on-the-job training

Number of Jobs, 2018

420,400

Job Outlook, 2018-28

7% (Faster than average)

Employment Change, 2018-28

31,500

*The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.  The median pay has trended upward every year since 2015.

Certification Requirements 

In the summer of 2018, the Maryland Pharmacy Technician Consensus Conference Steering Committee met in Baltimore.  Members of the conference Steering Committee believed that the perceived barriers to a requirement for accredited education for pharmacy technicians in Maryland could be addressed successfully over a two- to three-year implementation period. The benefits that would be achieved through this requirement are improved educational programs, enhanced competency of pharmacy technicians, enhanced public and employer confidence in pharmacy technicians, a larger proportion of pharmacy technicians who pursue pharmacy as a long-term career, and advanced patient-care roles for pharmacists. 

Members of the Steering Committee for the conference believe that Maryland legislation should be drafted, consistent with the unanimous vote of the Maryland Pharmacy Coalition (MPC) that would require: 

  • Pharmacy technician educational programs to be nationally accredited. 9 
  • Pharmacy technician educational programs to follow the curricular requirements of the ASHP/ACPE accreditation standards. 
  • Pharmacy technicians wanting to enter practice by 2022 to complete a nationally accredited educational program. 
  • Pharmacy technicians completing accredited education to become certified under one of the two national certification programs. 
  • The Board of Pharmacy to monitor the certification pass rate for pharmacy technicians

View the Report of the 2018 Maryland Pharmacy Technician Consensus Conference 

Maryland State Pharmacy Technician Licensure Requirements

  • You have to be at least 17 years old or older.
  • Must have a high school diploma or its equivalent or may be currently enrolled in high school with good academic standing.
  • You must submit a written application requesting registration as a Pharmacy Technician at the Maryland State Board of Pharmacy.
  • You must submit to a criminal background check. You will need to pay an additional fee for that which will cost around $38. Give payment directly to the CJIS (Criminal Justice Information System).
  • Include a proof of certification in your application if you are already a certified pharmacy technician.
  • If you are not a certified pharmacy technician yet, you must attach proof that you have successfully completed a Board approved training program and have passed the Board approved exam as well and include it in your application.
  • Beginning in January of 2022, all Maryland Pharmacist Technicians submitting a licensure request must pass an accredited national training program and pass a national licensure exam.
  • Include the $45 non-refundable registration fee.

Program Cost

The cost of the pharmacy technician program at the College of Southern Maryland is approximately $5200 with a minimum cost of $500 for books and supplies (Cost may vary due to fee schedules, lab fees, and tuition increases).  Additionally, the national certification exam application and exam fee is $129 with a biannual renewal fee of $49 and Maryland State Licensure fees of $45 with biannual renewal after completion of mandatory continuing education credits. CastleBranch, our background monitoring company, is a one-time fee of $103.

Program Completion, Progression, and Withdrawal

Since 2010,  College of Southern Maryland has had a 100% graduation rate and pass rate on the Maryland pharmacy technician exam.  Beginning with the 2019-2020, students will transition to taking the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).  Exam pass rates and program completion rates will be updated in accordance with new collection parameters beginning in 2021.

The pharmacy technician certification program progression procedure varies to ensure student academic success and improve retention in the program.  Progression requirements also vary to ensure that students can become safe, effective practitioners.

College of Southern Maryland has the following Policies and Procedures associated with Successful Program Completion:

Students must complete required course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and be in good academic standing in order to progress through the pharmacy technician certification program.  The following statements provide academic guidelines for program progression.

  1. See the catalog Loading... for required course pre-requisites and co-requisites.  Students are responsible for knowing the contents of the Catalog including the completion of required pre-requisites and co-requisites.  Students may not progress in the Pharmacy Technician Certification Program if the correct course sequence is not taken.
  2. All Pharmacy Technician Certification Program specific courses must be passed with a 75% or better.  Required General Education courses must be passed with grades of "C" or better.  Failure of any single course within the program after two (2) attempts will make the student ineligible for re-enrollment. 
  3. Student involuntary withdraws occur if the student has met the criteria for the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Involuntary withdrawal policy.
  4. The student’s grade at the time of withdrawal will be used for considering any re-enrollments.
  5. Students must meet with the Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator prior to re-enrolling into to the course. The time between the last program course and the current prospective course should not exceed more than 3 years.
  6. If the student is failing a pharmacy technician program course at the time of withdrawal, it will be considered a course failure.
  7. Students receiving a "D" or "F" at midterm or as a final grade in any required course must inform the Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator immediately.  Faculty who identify a student as either failing or at risk in practicum performance will do the following:
    • Complete a student conference form on a weekly basis which addresses the areas of deficiency as identified.
    • Meet and discuss the deficient areas with the student. Place the conference form in the student’s record file.
    • If the student fails to show progression, the practicum instructor will notify the student to withdraw from the course. If the student does not withdraw, the division chair or appointed designee reserves the right to administratively withdraw the student.
  8. Students who decide to withdraw from a pre-requisite or co-requisite course must inform the Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator immediately.
  9. A student will be denied continued enrollment in the Pharmacy Technician Certification Program if the student cannot perform safely in practicum and simulation practice.  Performance in these areas is essential for satisfactory completion of the curriculum. 
  10. Students must be enrolled concurrently in or have completed the didactic/theory Pharmacy Technician Certification Program course to be enrolled in the accompanying lab/practicum course.
  11. Students must submit a current Program Evaluation to the Pharmacy Technician Program Coordinator at the beginning of each semester to ensure proper program progression.