Pharmacy Technician Certification
How do you become a certified pharmacy technician?
Many employers now require pharmacy technicians to be certified or licensed. These include two different credentials. A pharmacy technician must pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam to the level of accepted standards to become certified. Licensing may be an additional step required in some states. Each state has different requirements to practice as a pharmacy tech.*
Often the first step to preparing for pharmacy technician certification is to complete an accredited program. The program prepares students to pass the pharmacy technician certification exam or test based on the knowledge and skills obtained through the eight-month career training, including externship.
However, be aware that some states require state or national certification of pharmacy technicians in addition to graduation from an accredited pharmacy technician program. Certification of competency for pharmacy technicians is currently awarded by either a State Board of Pharmacy or the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and varies in each state.
Upon graduation, certification as a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) is granted through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. PTCB is the only nationally recognized certification body. Certification is valid for two years and requires 20 contact hours of pharmacy-related continuing education.
Preparing for the pharmacy technician certification exam
Study and do your homework — Preparation for the test begins with the training program. Put your best into the program, and the skills and knowledge you gain can help tremendously.
Understand the calculations and formulas — The math is really just basic functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages and basic algebra. Many programs make tutoring available, as well as a calculator for those functions should students need the help.
Know the pharmaceutical drugs — Learn brand and generic drug names backwards and forwards.
Ask questions — Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians already working in the field have likely already completed the pharmacy technician certification test and can offer valuable guidance.
Take a refresher course — If you are an existing pharmacy tech, consider taking a PTCB refresher course to help you prepare for the certification exam.
Read books and published study guides — Familiarity with the material contained in basic pharmacy technician training manuals or books may be helpful in preparing for the exam. Everest's Pharmacy Technician program provides books and training tips as well as tutoring to help students review for the PTCB exam.
Take a practice exam — The PTCB provides a practice exam for anyone wishing to prepare for the pharmacy technician certification exam. Your instructor may also be able to provide a practice exam.
Learn if intravenous (IV) proficiency is also required — Some state boards, hospitals or specialty pharmacies prefer technicians to be proficient on Intravenous (IV) use. Find out if IV proficiency is required, in your area.
*Many State Boards of Pharmacy require any or all of the following: registration, certification, or licensure of pharmacy technicians. Students should check with program directors at their pharmacy technician school or campus to check their respective State Board of Pharmacy requirements and fees.