Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Alaska

Alaska Pharmacy Technician License

Alaska Pharmacy Technician Requirements

Are you ready to embark on a rewarding career as a pharmacy technician in the Last Frontier? This guide will provide you with a step-by-step roadmap, outlining everything you need to know to get licensed and potentially certified to work in this dynamic healthcare field in Alaska. Please note that it’s essential to always refer to the official Alaska Board of Pharmacy website for the most current and accurate regulations.

Work Environments for Pharmacy Technicians in Alaska

Pharmacy technicians in Alaska play a crucial role in the healthcare system, working in diverse settings across the state’s vast landscape. Here are some common work environments you might encounter:

  • Retail Pharmacies: Receive and process prescriptions, interact with customers, and manage inventory. Some prominent retail pharmacies in Alaska include Walgreens, Fred Meyer, and Carrs Safeway.
  • Hospitals: Prepare and dispense medications to patients within the hospital, potentially specializing in areas like IV admixture or chemotherapy preparation. Major hospitals in Alaska include Alaska Native Medical Center, Providence Alaska Medical Center, and Alaska Regional Hospital.
  • Long-Term Care Facilities: Assist in medication management for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Community Health Centers: Serve diverse populations in rural and underserved areas, often requiring cultural sensitivity and language skills.
  • Specialty Pharmacies: Assist in the preparation and dispensing of specialized medications for conditions like cancer, HIV, and rare diseases.

In all of these settings, there may be an opportunity to perform more advanced functions and support pharmacists in their care of patients.

Additional Considerations

  • Remote Locations: Alaska’s geography presents unique opportunities to work in remote areas, serving smaller communities with limited access to healthcare.
  • Travel: Depending on your location and employer, you might need to travel between different healthcare facilities or communities.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Alaska has a diverse population, including Alaska Native communities. Pharmacy technicians who are culturally sensitive and respectful will be highly valued.

Step 1: Understanding Alaska Pharmacy Technician License Requirements

To work as a pharmacy technician in Alaska, you must fulfill these requirements set by the Alaska Board of Pharmacy:

  • Age: Be at least 18 years old OR be at least 16 years old and enrolled in a supervised high school, college, or apprenticeship pharmacy technician training program.
  • Education:
    • Earned a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).
    • OR Be currently enrolled in a supervised high school, college, or apprenticeship pharmacy technician training program. In this case, you must provide the name of the issuing institution and the date the diploma or its equivalent was issued.
  • Background Check: Certify that you have not been convicted of a felony or another crime that affects your ability to perform the duties of a pharmacy technician safely and competently. A background check will be conducted.
  • Language: You must be fluent in reading, writing, and speaking English.
  • Application:
    • Submit a completed application form to the Board.
    • Pay the applicable fees established by the Board.

Important Notes:

  • Certification: While not strictly required, obtaining national certification (such as through the PTCB or NHA) may be advantageous for career opportunities and is required to perform certain advanced tasks under the supervision of a pharmacist.
  • The Alaska Board of Pharmacy may deny your application if you do not meet the requirements or if your responses on the application raise concerns about your qualifications.

Step 2: Obtaining National Certification (Highly Recommended)

While not mandatory for initial licensure, obtaining national certification as a pharmacy technician is highly beneficial in Alaska.

Benefits of Pharmacy Technician Certification

  • Expanded Scope of Practice: Certified pharmacy technicians can perform additional tasks under the supervision of a pharmacist, such as:
    • Final checking and distributing non-controlled substance prescriptions (with specific conditions).
    • Transferring non-controlled substance prescriptions.
    • Clarifying prescription orders.
    • Administering vaccines and certain emergency medications (with proper training).
  • Increased Employability: Many employers prefer or require national certification due to the expanded capabilities it signifies.
  • Career Advancement: Certification can open doors to specialized roles and higher-paying positions.

Certification Bodies

The Alaska Board of Pharmacy recognizes national certifications from:

  • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB): Offers the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA): Offers the ExCPT exam.

Steps to Certification

Option 1: PTCB Certification

  • Complete a PTCB-recognized training program
  • OR gain 500 hours of practical experience as a pharmacy technician: This pathway would be feasible for individuals who opt to meet initial training requirements through a training program offered by their employer.
  • Pass the PTCB exam: Once you’ve completed the training or gained the experience, you’ll need to register for and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

Option 2: NHA Certification

  • Complete an NHA-recognized training program: Similar to PTCB, search for programs on the NHA website.
  • OR gain practical experience as a pharmacy technician: As noted above, this pathway would be feasible for individuals who opt to meet initial training requirements through a training program offered by their employer.
  • Pass the ExCPT exam: After completing the program or gaining experience, you’ll need to pass the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians.

Important Note: Even if you choose not to pursue certification immediately, remember that many employers prefer certified technicians due to the expanded scope of practice it allows.

Step 3: Applying for Your Alaska Pharmacy Technician License

Once you meet the age, education, and background check requirements, you can apply for your pharmacy technician license in Alaska. Here’s how:

  1. Online Registration:
  2. Complete the Application:
    • Provide your personal information, including name, address, and contact details.
    • Answer questions about your education and background.
    • Certify that you have no disqualifying criminal history and are fluent in English.
  3. Pay the Application Fee:
    • The current fee for a pharmacy technician license is $25 (or $12.50 if your license is issued after July 1st of the license year).

Important Note: The Board will review your application and notify you of their decision. Processing time can vary.

Step 4: Renewing Your License

Alaska pharmacy technician licenses are valid for two years and expire on June 30th of even-numbered years. Here’s what you need to know to maintain your license:

  • Renewal Timeline: Renewal applications typically become available 30-90 days before the expiration date.
  • Renewal Process:
    • Online: Renew through the “MyLicense” section on the Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing website.
    • Mail: Submit the renewal application by mail.
  • Renewal Fee: Pay the required renewal fee.
  • Continuing Education (CE):
    • First Renewal: For your first license renewal, you can either:
      • Complete 10 contact hours of continuing education accepted by the Board, or
      • Submit an affidavit verifying you have read the state statutes and regulations, along with an affidavit signed by your pharmacist-in-charge verifying your training.
    • Subsequent Renewals: For all subsequent renewals, you must complete 10 contact hours of continuing education accepted by the Board.
    • Vaccine Administration: If you hold a national certification and administer vaccines, one of the 10 CE hours must be specific to immunizations or vaccines.

Important Note:

  • Failure to renew your license before it expires will result in a lapsed license.
  • You can find more information about the renewal process, including fees and deadlines, on the Alaska Board of Pharmacy website.

Additional Tips for Success

  • Networking with Pharmacy Professionals: Build connections within the Alaska pharmacy field by attending industry events, joining professional associations like the Alaska Pharmacists Association (AkPhA), or reaching out to pharmacists or technicians in your area. Networking can lead to mentorship, job opportunities, and a supportive community.
  • Develop Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial for pharmacy technicians. Practice clear and concise communication with patients, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers to ensure accurate medication dispensing and patient safety. Clear communication is especially important given the potential for language barriers in some parts of Alaska.
  • Stay Current with Regulations and Best Practices: Pharmacy regulations and best practices evolve over time. Stay informed about updates by attending continuing education courses, reading industry publications, or participating in webinars or conferences relevant to pharmacy practice in Alaska.
  • Consider National Certification: While not required, obtaining national certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence and can open doors to career advancement opportunities. In Alaska, it also allows you to perform a wider range of tasks under supervision.


Becoming a pharmacy technician in Alaska is a rewarding path for those interested in a healthcare career with potential for growth and advancement. By following the outlined steps, fulfilling the requirements set by the Alaska Board of Pharmacy, and considering national certification, you’ll be well on your way to a successful career in this vital field. Remember, the healthcare needs of Alaskans are unique, and your role as a pharmacy technician can make a real difference in their lives.


  • How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician in Alaska? The timeline can vary, but if you meet the basic requirements and your application is processed quickly, you could potentially be licensed within a few weeks. Obtaining national certification may add additional time depending on your preparation for the exam.
  • What is the average salary for a pharmacy technician in Alaska? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for pharmacy technicians in Alaska is $49,810 as of May 2023. You can also research salary ranges on job boards and salary comparison websites.
  • Is national certification required to work as a pharmacy technician in Alaska? No, it’s not required for initial licensure, but highly recommended as it allows you to perform a wider range of tasks under supervision and may make you more competitive in the job market.

Where can I find more information about pharmacy technician careers in Alaska? For the most up-to-date and accurate information, visit the Alaska Board of Pharmacy website at

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