Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Minnesota

Minnesota pharmacy technician license

Minnesota Pharmacy Technician Requirements

Are you detail-oriented, passionate about healthcare, and looking for a fulfilling career in Minnesota? Becoming a pharmacy technician could be the perfect opportunity! As a licensed Minnesota pharmacy technician, you’ll play a vital role in the healthcare team, assisting pharmacists in dispensing medications, managing inventory, and providing excellent patient care. In Minnesota, the demand for skilled pharmacy technicians is on the rise, offering ample job opportunities and competitive salaries.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of obtaining your pharmacy technician license in Minnesota. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from the educational requirements and certification options to the application process and renewal procedures. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap to start your journey towards a successful career as a pharmacy technician in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Disclaimer: This post is informational in nature, as Board rules are complex and change over time. Make sure to refer to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy website ( to verify requirements and stay up to date on official regulations for pharmacy technicians in the state.

Work Environments for Pharmacy Technicians in Minnesota

As a pharmacy technician in Minnesota, you’ll discover a wide range of work environments to suit your interests and career aspirations. Here are some common settings where you can utilize your skills:

  • Retail Pharmacies: Major chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart, along with local pharmacies like Thrifty White Pharmacy and Goodrich Pharmacy, offer numerous opportunities for pharmacy technicians. In retail pharmacies, you’ll interact with patients, fill prescriptions, manage inventory, and handle insurance claims.
  • Hospital Systems: Minnesota’s renowned hospital systems, including Mayo Clinic, M Health Fairview, and Allina Health, employ many pharmacy technicians. In a hospital pharmacy, you’ll be part of a dynamic healthcare team, dispensing medications to inpatients and outpatients, preparing intravenous (IV) admixtures, and managing medication inventory. You might even have the opportunity to specialize in areas like oncology or pediatrics.
  • Long-Term Care Facilities: Skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities, such as Ecumen and Benedictine Health System, require pharmacy technicians to ensure that residents receive the correct medications and monitor their medication therapy.
  • Mail-Order Pharmacies: Major companies like Express Scripts and OptumRx offer mail-order pharmacy services to patients across Minnesota. As a pharmacy technician in this setting, you’ll process orders, package medications, and ensure timely delivery.
  • Specialty Pharmacies: Minnesota is home to several specialty pharmacies that focus on specific disease states or medication types, such as Fairview Pharmacy Services and BriovaRx. In a specialty pharmacy, you’ll develop expertise in niche areas like compounding, nuclear pharmacy, or medications for rare diseases.

No matter where your interests lie, a career as a pharmacy technician in Minnesota offers fulfilling work in a variety of settings. With its strong healthcare sector and increasing demand for skilled professionals, Minnesota is an excellent state to pursue a rewarding career as a pharmacy technician.

Step 1: Meeting Minnesota Pharmacy Technician License Requirements

Embarking on your pharmacy technician career in Minnesota begins with understanding and fulfilling the requirements set by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. These requirements ensure that you have the necessary qualifications to handle medications and contribute to safe and effective patient care.

Age Requirement

To become a licensed pharmacy technician in Minnesota, you must be at least 18 years old at the time of registration.

Education Requirement

Before your pharmacy technician application can be approved, you must provide proof of high school graduation or equivalent to the Board of Pharmacy. Acceptable forms of proof include:

  • High school diploma
  • High school transcript with graduation date
  • GED certificate
  • College transcript
  • College diploma

Training and Certification Requirements

Within 12 months of receiving your registration number, you must complete one of the following training options:

  1. Board-Approved Pharmacy Technician Training Program: This can be a program offered by an accredited vocational/technical institution or college, a program accredited by a national organization like the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), or an employer-based program with a minimum of 240 hours of instruction.
  2. National Certification: As of August 1, 2023, the Board accepts certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) ExCPT certification as an alternative to completing a formal training program.

While not mandatory, obtaining national certification, especially the PTCB certification, is highly recommended as it demonstrates your competence and commitment to the profession. Additionally, it can streamline the licensing process and open doors to better job opportunities.

By meeting these requirements, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a registered pharmacy technician in Minnesota. Remember to carefully review the Board’s website for the most up-to-date information and requirements.

Step 2: Obtaining Pharmacy Technician Certification

While not strictly mandatory, obtaining national certification is highly advantageous and simplifies the process of acquiring your Minnesota Pharmacy Technician license. Let’s delve into the benefits of certification and focus on the most recognized credential, the PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) certification.

Why Pursue PTCB Certification?

  • Direct Path to Licensure: Certified pharmacy technicians can directly apply for their license without the need for additional training or assessments. This means you can start working as a licensed technician sooner and gain valuable experience in the field.
  • Demonstrated Competence: Achieving PTCB certification proves your knowledge and skills in various aspects of pharmacy practice, enhancing your credibility and making you a more desirable candidate for employers.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Certification opens doors to more advanced roles with increased responsibility and earning potential. You may also be eligible for specialized training and certifications in areas like sterile compounding or medication therapy management.
  • Professional Recognition: Holding a nationally recognized credential like the PTCB certification sets you apart as a dedicated and competent professional in the pharmacy field.

Here are the specific options and steps to become a certified pharmacy technician:

Option 1: Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Exam

This exam is widely accepted across the United States and is considered the gold standard in pharmacy technician certification. The PTCB exam covers a comprehensive range of pharmacy technician knowledge and skills, including medications, law, patient safety and quality assurance, and more. Here are the steps to get PTCB certified:

  • Complete a PTCB-recognized training program
  • OR gain 500 hours of practical experience as a pharmacy technician
  • 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: National HealthCareer Association (NHA) ExCPT Exam

This exam is another nationally recognized option for pharmacy technician certification. The NHA ExCPT exam covers similar topics as the PTCB exam but with a slightly different emphasis. Here are the steps to get NHA certified:

  • Complete an NHA-recognized training program: Similar to PTCB, search for programs on the NHA website.
  • OR gain practical experience as a pharmacy technician
  • Pass the ExCPT exam: After completing the program or gaining experience, you’ll need to pass the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians.

Step 3: Applying for Your Minnesota Pharmacy Technician License

Once you’ve met the eligibility requirements and potentially obtained your national certification, it’s time to apply for your pharmacy technician license in Minnesota. The application process is straightforward and can be completed online or via mail.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the Application:
    • Online Application: Go to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy website and create a user account on their online licensing system. Select “New Applicant” and follow the instructions to complete the online application form.
    • Paper Application: Alternatively, you can download and print a paper application from the Board’s website. Fill it out neatly and accurately, providing all requested information.
  2. Submit Required Documents:
    • Proof of High School Graduation or Equivalent: If not already submitted to the Board, you’ll need to provide a copy of your diploma, GED certificate, or official transcript.
    • Proof of Certification (If Applicable): If you’re certified by the PTCB or NHA, submit a copy of your certification card or certificate. This fulfills the training requirement.
  3. Pay the Application Fee: The application fee for the pharmacy technician license is $60.
    • Online Application: Pay the fee online during the application process using a credit or debit card.
    • Paper Application: Include a check or money order payable to the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy with your mailed application.

After Submitting Your Application

  • Registration Number: Upon submission, you will receive a registration number. You can begin working as a pharmacy technician under the supervision of a pharmacist immediately after receiving this number.
  • Proof of High School Graduation/Equivalent: Ensure you’ve submitted proof of high school graduation or equivalent to the Board within 30 days of applying.
  • Training Deadline: If you are not certified, you must complete a Board-approved training program within 12 months of receiving your registration number.

Checking Your Application Status

You can check the status of your application and verify your registration by logging into your account on the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy website or by using their license verification page.

Important Note: Even if you are hired before receiving your registration number, you cannot work as a pharmacy technician until it is issued.

Step 4: Renewing Your Minnesota Pharmacy Technician License

Maintaining your pharmacy technician license in Minnesota is essential for continued employment in this field. Here’s what you need to know about the renewal process and staying compliant:

Renewal Requirements

  • Timing: Pharmacy technician licenses in Minnesota expire on December 31st of each year. You can renew your license starting November 1st through the online portal.
  • Continuing Education (CE): You are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of Board-approved continuing education (CE) every two years. These CE hours must be completed within the registration period ending on December 31st of the renewal year.
  • Reporting CE: You must report your completed CE hours to the Board by July 31st of every odd-numbered year. If you fail to report by the deadline, you’ll need to provide proof of CE completion before renewing your registration.
  • Renewal Fee: The annual renewal fee for pharmacy technicians is $20. Note that as of June 1, 2023, any credit card processing fees for online payments are the responsibility of the applicant.

Renewal Process

  1. Online Renewal: Visit the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy’s Online Services page and log in to your account. Follow the instructions to complete the renewal application and pay the renewal fee online.
  2. Mail-In Renewal: If you prefer to renew by mail, contact the Board of Pharmacy to obtain a paper renewal application.

Common Renewal Issues

  • Unreported CE: If you haven’t reported your CE hours by the July 31st deadline, you won’t be able to renew online until you submit proof of completion.
  • CE Audit: If you were selected for a CE audit and didn’t respond with the proper documentation, you may face renewal issues.
  • Incomplete Training: If you haven’t completed the required technician training program within 12 months of your initial registration, you won’t be able to renew.
  • Missing Payments: Ensure all fees associated with your registration are paid before attempting to renew.

If you encounter any problems during the renewal process, contact the Board of Pharmacy for assistance.

By following these guidelines and staying current with your continuing education and renewal requirements, you can ensure a seamless continuation of your pharmacy technician career in Minnesota.

Additional Tips for Success as a Pharmacy Technician in Minnesota

Obtaining your pharmacy technician license is just the beginning of your rewarding career journey. To truly thrive in this field and reach your full potential, consider these additional tips:

  • Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT): While certification isn’t mandatory in Minnesota, it offers significant advantages. Earning your CPhT credential from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the ExCPT certification from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) can lead to better job opportunities, higher earning potential, and increased responsibilities.
  • Continuously Expand Your Knowledge: Even though Minnesota only requires 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years, consider exceeding this minimum. Engage in additional CE activities like webinars, conferences, or online courses to stay current with the latest advancements in pharmacy practice and expand your skillset.
  • Network with Pharmacy Professionals: Connect with other pharmacy technicians and pharmacists in Minnesota by joining professional organizations like the Minnesota Pharmacists Association (MPhA) or the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP). Networking can open doors to mentorship opportunities, career advancement, and a supportive community of peers.
  • Seek Out Opportunities for Specialization: If you’re interested in a specific area of pharmacy, consider specializing. Options include hospital pharmacy, long-term care, compounding, or nuclear pharmacy. Specialization can lead to higher demand for your skills and a more fulfilling career.
  • Develop Strong Communication Skills: Effective communication is crucial for pharmacy technicians. Practice active listening, clearly explain medication instructions to patients, and collaborate effectively with pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
  • Embrace Technology: Familiarize yourself with the various pharmacy software systems and automation tools used in Minnesota pharmacies. These technologies can streamline your workflow, improve accuracy, and enhance patient care.
  • Prioritize Patient Safety: As a pharmacy technician, your work directly impacts patient safety. Always double-check your work, adhere to established protocols, and report any errors or concerns immediately.
  • Be a Team Player: Pharmacy work is a collaborative effort. Foster positive relationships with your colleagues, communicate openly, and be willing to lend a helping hand when needed.

By following these tips and consistently striving for improvement, you can establish a rewarding and successful career as a pharmacy technician in Minnesota. Remember, your dedication to professional growth, patient safety, and teamwork will set you apart and open doors to a bright future in this dynamic field.


Becoming a pharmacy technician in Minnesota is a rewarding and attainable goal. With a growing demand for skilled professionals, diverse work settings, and competitive salaries, the opportunities are abundant for those passionate about healthcare and medication management.

By following this comprehensive guide, you can confidently navigate the requirements and application process to obtain your pharmacy technician license in Minnesota. Remember, your journey doesn’t end with licensure. Embrace lifelong learning, consider pursuing national certification, and actively seek out professional development opportunities to reach your full potential.

Your dedication and commitment to the pharmacy field can make a real difference in the lives of patients across Minnesota. Take the first step today and embark on a fulfilling career as a pharmacy technician in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

FAQs About Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Minnesota

Q: Is certification required to work as a pharmacy technician in Minnesota?

A: No, certification is not mandatory for obtaining a pharmacy technician license in Minnesota. However, becoming certified through the PTCB or NHA can streamline the licensing process and offers numerous benefits, such as increased job opportunities, higher earning potential, and broader professional recognition.

Q: What are the benefits of becoming a certified pharmacy technician in Minnesota?

A: Certified pharmacy technicians in Minnesota are exempt from the training program requirement for licensure. They are often preferred by employers, may have access to higher-paying positions, and may be eligible for expanded responsibilities within the pharmacy.

Q: How much does it cost to become a pharmacy technician in Minnesota?

A: The application fee for a pharmacy technician license is $60. Additional costs may include the certification exam fee and study materials if you choose to become certified.

Q: How long does it take to get a pharmacy technician license in Minnesota?

A: The processing time for pharmacy technician applications in Minnesota varies depending on the completeness of the application and the current volume of applications being processed. Generally, you can expect to receive a decision within a few weeks.

Q: What is the average salary for a pharmacy technician in Minnesota?

A: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for pharmacy technicians in Minnesota is $46,430 as of May 2023. However, salaries can vary based on experience, certification, location, and work setting.

Q: How often do I need to renew my pharmacy technician license in Minnesota?

A: Pharmacy technician licenses in Minnesota expire annually on December 31st. You must renew your license before it expires to continue working legally as a pharmacy technician. The renewal fee is $20.

Q: What are the continuing education requirements for pharmacy technicians in Minnesota?

A: Pharmacy technicians must complete 20 hours of Board-approved continuing education every two years. These hours must be completed within the registration period ending on December 31st of the renewal year. You must also report your completed CE hours to the Board by July 31st of every odd-numbered year.

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