Unlike many other businesses, pharmacies provide an essential service and have kept their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and administrative staff work round the clock to deliver medical supplies, directions, and counseling to patients and communities. The increased demand for prescription medicines and over-the-counter products placed tremendous burden on pharmacy teams prompting a need to employ more staff.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 4% increase in pharmacy technician jobs from 2019 to 2029 but does not take into account the demand in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Community pharmacists, in particular, have been called upon to administer flu shots and perform other patient care activities, leaving pharmacy technicians to attend to take on an expanded role in the pharmacy. They collect patient information, update medical histories, keep track of inventory, accept payment, process insurance claims, prepare medications, and even check the work of new hires. In response to the increased workload, employers have been actively training and recruiting new candidates to work alongside their existing teams. Top of Form
Hawaii does not license or register pharmacy technicians. According to the defined scope of practice, technicians may perform the following tasks, that do not require the professional judgment of the pharmacist, but must be performed under the immediate supervision of a pharmacist:
- Process prescription labels, drug packaging, stocking, delivery, record keeping, pricing, documentation of third party reimbursements, and preparing, labeling, compounding, storing, and providing medication
- Preparing medication – as long as the technician:
- Understands pharmaceutical medical terms, abbreviations, and symbols used in prescribing, dispensing, and charting medications
- Can perform mathematical calculations required for the usual dosage determination and solution preparation
- Understands the duties and responsibilities, including standards of ethics and applicable laws and regulations governing practice
- Understands drug dosages, route of administration, and dosage forms, and therapeutics
- Understands the procedures and operations relating to the manufacturing, packaging, and labeling of drug products
- Understands the procedures and operations relating to aseptic compounding and parenteral admixture operations
For the current time, pharmacy technicians may perform these tasks without formal approval from the Board as long as they are accountable to a registered pharmacist.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old to practice as a pharmacy technician in Hawaii.
Pharmacy technicians must complete formal or informal training before practice. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is generally accepted as confirmation of a technician’s ability to read and comprehend and perform basic mathematical calculations.
The Pharmacy Technician Program
The pharmacy technician program in Hawaii is designed to prepare students for success on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and prepare for employment in institutional and community pharmacies. It is important to evaluate and select the right training program. While all programs typically cover the theory and skills required to perform basic functions in the pharmacy, the expanding innovations in the delivery of healthcare today make it critical to choose a program that covers those skills that are most relevant. Apart from technical skills, instructors should encourage and support the development of soft skills such as attention to detail, accuracy, dependability, organizational skills, communication skills, patience, compassion, and relatability. Data entry and math skills are also essential for success as a pharmacy technician, and as such, pharmacy technician programs enroll students who are versed in these areas or, at the very least, seek to support the development of these skills.
There are no ASHP accredited pharmacy technician programs in Hawaii at this current time. It could be because of the lack of policies regulating technicians in the state. Nevertheless, there are some excellent programs that include externships and preparation for national certification. Schools that offer the program should have strong partnerships with pharmacy employers who are willing to take in interns and give them opportunities to put their skills to practice. It is especially important for them to interact with the pharmacy team, customers, and partners such as insurance companies and physicians’ offices.
At its conclusion, graduates should be able to perform those duties that fall within the pharmacy technician scope of practice, apply state and federal laws related to pharmacy, understand inventory control, accept payments including third-party billing, perform pharmaceutical calculations, identify the top 200 drugs, and understand pharmacy medical terminology, abbreviations, and symbols.
Duration and Cost
The cost and length of pharmacy technician programs vary. The type of credential issued and the length of the externship have some impact on the duration and ultimately the cost. Basic certificate programs that cover fundamental knowledge and skills are shorter than diploma and degree programs. They may or may not include a mandatory externship and so might be completed in 4 to 6 weeks. These shorter programs are the norm in Hawaii where there are no regulatory guidelines for technician training. There are also longer—term, more comprehensive programs that culminate with a degree or diploma and might include an externship experience comprising of at least 600 instructional hours in an institutional and community pharmacy.
The training programs offered at public community colleges are an estimated $3,200 for tuition, books, and supplies. Certificate programs cost approximately $1,500. Financial aid is available for eligible students.
The Hawaii State Board of Pharmacy does not require certification as a prerequisite to licensure. However, national certification through the PTCB or ExCPT will improve your job prospects. Employers today expect it from prospective employees and may even pay for current employees to complete certification. The Board will accept PTCB certification as in demonstration of your ability to function as a competent pharmacy technician.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board bestows the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential to successful candidates. Eligibility requirements include:
- Completion of a PTCB recognized pharmacy technician training program or equivalent work experience (500 hours minimum)
- Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions
- Meet all the applicable PTCB certification policies
- Take and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
- Pay the fee of $129
The preliminary scores presented upon completion of the exam provide an indication of your performance but are not official. The official scores will be published within two to three weeks following the exam. The PTCB will update your certification status (verifiable on the website) after this time. The certificate will be available to download on your PTCB dashboard if you pass the exam. The certification must be renewed every 2 years to maintain the credential. Recertification requires the completion of 20 hours of CE.
The ICPT designs and develops the ExCPT exam. To be eligible to take the ExCPT, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Must have a completed a training program or have at least 12 months of pharmacy-related experience – completed within 36 months of the application date
- Take and pass the ExCPT exam
- Pay the exam fee of $105
Pharmacy technician programs include preparation for success on the PTCB and ExCPT exams.
Contact the Board:
Hawaii State Board of Pharmacy
CCA-PVL Att: PHAR
Lee Ann Teshima, Executive Officer
P.O. Box 3469,
Honolulu, HI 96801
Phone: (808) 586-2695
ASHP Accredited Pharmacy Technician Schools in Hawaii
There are no ASHP accredited pharmacy technician programs in Hawaii.
Other Pharmacy Technician Schools in Hawaii
Honolulu, HI Pharmacy Technician Programs:
Henry J. Kaiser High School
511 Lunalilo Home Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96825
808 394 1200
Hawaii Medical College
1221 Kapiolani Blvd, Ste. 102,
Honolulu, HI 96814
Kapi‘olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96816
Pearl City, HI Pharmacy Technician Programs:
Leeward Community College
96-045 Ala Ike, Room CE 101
Pearl City, HI 96782