Are you looking to pursue a career in the pharmacy industry? Do you want to become a certified Pharmacy Technician but don’t know where to start?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We will discuss the steps needed to get your pharmacy tech certification so that you can work in this field with confidence.
What You Need to Know About Pharmacy Tech
Being a pharmacy technician involves more than just counting pills and stocking shelves. It requires knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy law and regulations, pharmacology, and general pharmacy practices and policies.
It is also important to understand the different medications used to treat different medical conditions. To gain certification, you must demonstrate your proficiency in the above-mentioned areas.
To do this, you must complete a certification or diploma course in pharmacy technology, usually offered at a community college or vocational school.
Once you have completed your coursework, you can then apply to take the exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).
The prerequisites for taking the pharmacy technician certification exam are simple – you must have a high school diploma, GED, or foreign equivalent.
In some states, you must be certified to work as a pharmacy technician, though certification isn’t required in all states.
Employers typically prefer certified professionals, so it is wise to pursue certification so that you can stand out from other applicants.
Benefits of Obtaining Pharmacy Technician Certification
Obtaining pharmacy technician certification can provide many benefits. With certification, pharmacy technicians may have the opportunity to enjoy a favorable growth rate, reach higher to pursue more opportunities for career advancement, and gain prestige in the workplace.
Certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs) also benefit from delivering quality patient care while gaining personal satisfaction.
The Steps to Becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician
Once you have researched the requirements and are ready to take the next step, you can begin to understand the steps required to becoming a certified pharmacy technician.
To start, you must complete a Board of Pharmacy approved pharmacy technician training program.
Certificate and diploma programs are the quickest way to do this and will typically take around two semesters to complete. The cost to apply and take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is $129.
Once your application has been approved, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter which will include instructions on how to schedule the exam. After that, it is time to prepare for the exam and take it.
Step 1: Research the Requirements for Pharmacy Technician Certification
Before you start your journey to becoming a certified pharmacy technician, it’s important to research the requirements for certification. Generally, all states require pharmacy technicians to pass an exam and/or complete a training program.
Additionally, many states may require a certain number of hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers a certification test and requires that candidates complete either a PTCB-recognized education/training program or equivalent work experience in order to be eligible to take the exam.
Furthermore, make sure that the program you choose is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
Once you have all the information you need, you can start the process of becoming a certified pharmacy technician.
Step 2: Prepare for the Pharm Tech Certification Exam
Now that you know the requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician, you can start preparing for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).
The PTCE is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and is the most recognized and accepted certification exam in the United States.
To prepare for the exam, you can purchase a study guide or attend an accredited training program.
It is important to understand the scope of the exam and to familiarize yourself with the content areas that will be covered.
Additionally, you should practice with sample questions to get used to the structure of the exam and build your confidence.
Once you feel prepared, you can schedule your exam with Pearson VUE online or by phone.
Be sure to bring an approved form of identification matching the name on your PTCB account when you arrive at the testing center.
Step 3: Obtain a Higher Certificate or Diploma
The next step in getting your pharmacy technician certification is to obtain a higher certificate or diploma. There are several options to choose from, depending on your career goals and the amount of time you have available.
Certificate programs typically take two semesters to complete and provide you with the competencies required to work as a senior pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician.
If you want to complete an abbreviated curriculum and train for a specific career, you may do so by obtaining a certificate.
Higher certificates and diplomas, such as biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes in the biopharmaceutical and medical technology industries, may also be available.
Although they go by different names, a certificate and a diploma offer a comparable level of education.
Step 4: Complete an Associate Degree
If you’re looking for a more in-depth knowledge of the profession, you can consider obtaining an associate degree.
Associate degrees in pharmacy technology are offered at many different universities and community colleges throughout the United States.
These programs typically require two years of study and can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a certified pharmacy technician.
You’ll learn about pharmacology, medical terminology, pharmaceutical calculations, prescription medications, and much more.
Additionally, some schools may even offer job placement assistance upon completion.
Step 5: Consider a Degree Program at Community College
For those looking to take their career to the next level, a degree program at a community college is another option for becoming a certified pharmacy technician.
Community colleges offer both short-term certificate programs and associate degrees in pharmacy technology.
These programs provide students with the knowledge and experience needed to become a successful pharmacy technician.
Furthermore, community colleges often have flexible schedules and can provide students with hands-on training that aids in the learning process.
With the right education and credentials, students can successfully complete a certification or diploma course and start their career as a certified pharmacy technician.
Step 6: Meet the Prerequisites for Taking the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
To become a certified pharmacy technician, applicants must meet certain prerequisites. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED.
Additionally, applicants must have at least 500 hours of on-the-job training or complete a structured internship program at a healthcare institution.
A Letter of Competency Attainment (LCA) must be issued by the institution upon completion.
Once this is done, you are ready to apply and take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). The cost to apply and take the exam is $129.
Step 7: Take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
Once you have completed the prerequisites for taking the pharmacy technician certification exam, you are ready to take the exam. The exam is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and can be applied for on the PTCB’s portal or by calling Pearson VUE at 866-902-0593.
You must bring an approved form of identification that matches your name as it appears on your PTCB account, or you will not be allowed to take the exam.
The test typically takes four to six weeks from the date a license is issued to receive a Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certified certificate or diploma.
Step 8: Apply for Certification
Once you have completed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, you can apply for your certification. To apply, you need to visit the PTCB website and click on the “Apply for Certification” link.
You will need to provide your personal information, including your contact information and education history, as well as pay a fee of $129.
Once PTCB receives your application, they will issue a license within four to six weeks. Once you have received your license, you can officially register as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).
Step 9: Maintain Your Certification
Once you have successfully obtained your pharmacy technician certification, the next step is to maintain your certification.
Depending on the state in which you reside, you may be required to complete continuing education courses in order to keep your certification valid.
In addition to completing continuing education courses, you will also need to renew your certification every few years, usually after two or three years.
This is done by paying a renewal fee and proving that you have completed all of the necessary continuing education courses.
Furthermore, some states may require that you complete a certain amount of hours of work as a pharmacy technician in order to maintain your certification.
Keeping up with these requirements is essential for keeping your certification valid and ensuring that you can continue working as a pharmacy technician.
Step 10: Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians in California
In California, Pharmacy Technicians must be licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. To qualify, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent, be of good moral character, and be at least 18 years old.
Additionally, applicants must either complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program or have five years of experience working in a pharmacy.
While certification is not required for entry-level positions, many employers prefer to hire certified technicians.
To become certified, applicants must complete a PTCB-recognized training and education program or demonstrate equivalent work experience and then pass the ExCPT exam. Those who pass the exam will become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).
In conclusion, becoming a certified pharmacy technician is a great way to start a career in the healthcare field. It is important to research and understand the requirements for certification, as well as what is necessary for the certification exam.
It may also be beneficial to obtain a higher certificate or diploma, or even an associate degree to increase your chances of success in the field.
Finally, it is important to remember to maintain your certification once you have obtained it. With the right amount of preparation, dedication and hard work, becoming a certified pharmacy technician is well within reach.