Working as a pharmacy technician means greeting customers and answering the phone, offering educated advice and empathy, organizing and managing paperwork, filling prescriptions and working closely with a pharmacist to help the business run smoothly. Pharmacy techs are employed at a variety of healthcare businesses including hospitals, neighborhood pharmacies, clinics or other health centers. If you’re interested in medicine and health and wellness, you’re just a few steps away from earning your pharmacy technician certification.
As a pharmacy tech, you’ll likely need some type of document that verifies your qualifications. The options include certification, licensure or registration. Specific requirements vary by state. While some certifications are required to get a job, others will give you an edge over the competition.
The Pharmacy Technician Certified Board (PTCB) functions as an agency to help each State Board of Pharmacy develop and enforce high quality standards for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. They developed the nationally recognized Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) which is administered in all 50 states. However, not all states require the certification:
- States that do NOT regulate pharmacy technicians: New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, District of Columbia and Colorado
- States that require national certification: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut
- State that regulate but do NOT require national certification: California, Alaska, Nevada, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine
Most states require pharmacy techs to register with the State Board of Pharmacy. This process ensures that all practicing pharmacy technicians are registered with the state and have obtained the proper education to work as a pharmacy tech. It’s also a way to track pharmacy techs who move from one state to another. Individuals should always contact the Board of Pharmacy in their state to find out exactly how to register.
When you complete a pharmacy tech training program, or have a lot of on-the-job training, you are eligible to obtain official certification. This is done by taking the PTCE mentioned above or the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) exam. Passing either exam earns you the certificate to prove you are a legitimately trained pharmacy tech which can help you get the job of your dreams.
Essentially, licensure and certification are the same thing with one exception. Once you meet your state’s requirements by passing the PTCE or another state-mandated test, you must apply for licensure in that state. It again shows that you are a legitimate pharmacy technician and meet all the state’s requirements.
While all of the requirements can be confusing, the most important thing to remember is to follow the guidelines set by your state. Once you earn your pharmacy technician certification, it is usually a matter of taking a test and filing paperwork with the state. Then you can pursue a career in a variety of healthcare settings.