Pharmacy Technician Certification Information
Read our comprehensive information page on becoming a pharmacy tech and getting pharmacy technician certification below to learn whether full qualification is the best solution for you.
The article covers what is required to gain full certification and start work as a fully trained pharmacy technician, and what exactly you will be able to do with your skills once qualified.
Getting Your Pharmacy Technician Certification
There are still many states in the US that do not require pharmacy technicians to be certified before they are allowed to practice. However, obtaining pharmacy technician certification is important in the sense that it provides a good foundational understanding of the technician’s responsibilities as well as raises one’s bargaining power as far as the pharmacy tech salary is concerned.
Despite these clear positives for certification, it is important that you undertake a significant amount of research before you enroll for a certification program. For starters, there are several organizations that provide pharmacy technician certification. It is important that you go for organization’s that have a long history and that are widely respected within the industry.
Your research however must go beyond the certifying institution and should take into consideration the prerequisites for the program. The good thing is that these prerequisites are almost the same across the different reputable certifying organizations. You will need to have a high school diploma, GED or an equivalent non-US qualification. A pharmacy technician’s role is a vital one but that can be easily abused.
With the modern phenomenon of more and more people becoming addicted to prescription drugs, the integrity of the any person attaining a pharmacy technician certification must be above board. It is for this reason that one must have a clear criminal record going back at least five years prior to the date of application. In addition, any record of ever having been convicted of a drug related felony will lead to the application being rejected. You will also be considered ineligible if you are under any form of restrictions imposed by the State Board of Pharmacy.
Once you are certain you meet the criteria and enroll for the classes, then you must start to brace yourself for the examination. Two of the most renowned pharmacy technician certification exams are the Pharmacy technician certification Exam (PTCE) and the Examination for Certified Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).
The PTCE for instance is a computer-based multiple choice 90 question exam. The exam focuses on the core responsibilities of the technician including the responsibility to both the pharmacist and the client, how to maintain medical inventory and control systems, and their role in overall administration. There is no limit to the amount of times the exam can be taken. However the exam fee must be paid at each attempt.
But sitting and passing the certification exam is not the end of the process. Similar to many professional organizations of today, you will be required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours in order to maintain your pharmacy technician certification. The minimum number of hours expected is 10 after every two years.
Of the 10 hours, at least 1 hour must be dedicated to the area of pharmacy law. This is not entirely surprising given the level of debate on laws around the medical industry in the US. Both the pharmacists and the pharmacy technicians must therefore be at the forefront in the awareness of any changes in the law that might affect the way they execute their functions.
As mentioned, certification is not a prerequisite for one to be employed as a pharmacy technician. That said, there are certain industry sectors where the need for certification is a de facto requirement. A good example of such a strict working environment is a hospital pharmacy.
If you are looking at pharmacy technician jobs and do not intend to remain as a technician forever, and if you have intentions of becoming a fully qualified pharmacist in future, then obtaining a pharmacy technician certification is the way to go. Pharmacy schools give a considerable amount of weight to applicants that already have the technician certification.
A pharmacy technician certification does not only mean higher pay but also a faster track to a management position than would be available if one were to remain a non-certified pharmacy technician.
Even though the certification will definitely cost you, this should not discourage you from going for it. In any case, if you are already working as a non-certified pharmacy technician there are a number of employers that will, based on organizational policy, reimburse you for the cost incurred for attaining the certification.
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the US while at the same time becoming increasingly competitive. If this is your chosen career, obtaining a pharmacy technician certification will ensure that you are well positioned to take advantage of the best opportunities available.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Advantages
There is no doubt about it, going for the pharmacy technician certification is something that more and more people are doing. Whether you are fresh out of high school and trying to plan for your future or you are simply looking for a different career path, you are going to want to make sure that you are learning all about the pharmacy technician certification. This way, you will know exactly what to expect and you will be able to decide if it is truly the best route for you to take.
The first thing that you have to do is to learn just where you can earn your pharmacy technician certification. There are a ton of colleges and training schools out there. Some online colleges are now even offering a pharmacy technician certification option, which would come in handy for single moms or those who are already knee deep in the work force.
It would also be wise to make sure that you have a fairly good understanding of what kind of classes you will have to take in order to earn your pharmacy technician certification. A few of the subjects that you will find yourself taking include that of human anatomy, chemistry, biology and computer organization. If you have already taken some of these courses in your four-year college then you can always apply for an exemption so that you do not have to take them again. However, if your grades in the classes that you are applying for the exemption for were not good enough, then you will have no choice but to take them again in order to even have a shot at obtaining your pharmacy technician certification.
As far as how long it takes to receive your pharmacy technician certification, there is no definite answer. It will depend on what exemptions you were able to get approved and how many credits you are taking each semester. Obviously, the fewer credits you take in a single semester, the longer it will take you to receive your pharmacy technician certification.
It seems that the general rule of thumb is that you want to allow up to 12 months to complete your training for the pharmacy technician certification, but there have been plenty of people who have been able to complete it in as little as 6 months. However, this should not be a deterrent because this is truly a career that you could continue through with for the remaining of your working years.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to the pharmacy technician certification. You want to make sure that you are starting out on the right path so that you are not wasting any time. The more thought you put into this and the more you research your decision to go for the pharmacy technician certification, the better. If you can, try to talk to some people who have already been working in this field for a while.
Even if you do not personally know someone that is a pharmacy technician with certification, then you could find a lot of people talking about it online. Read through discussions and ask questions. Remember, this is your career, your future, on the line so you should be willing to do just about anything it takes to make sure that the pharmacy technician certification training is right for you and will get you where you want to go.
So what are you waiting for? If you are ready for a change in the right direction than researching the pharmacy technician certification is just one of the things that you are going to want to do. The sooner you get started, the better.