Pharmacy Technician Certification
Is a certified pharmacy technician
the same thing as a pharmacist?
No. The job duties of a certified pharmacy technician include
many of the same duties as a licensed pharmacist, but they require
supervision of the pharmacist. The primary purpose of a technician
is to take care of various administrative tasks of the pharmacy,
thus freeing the pharmacist to take care of the primary responsibility
of dispensing medication to patients, as well as educating them
about the medications they are taking. A technician's duties
will vary depending on their job setting, whether they are working
in a pharmacy, a hospital, or answering questions about pharmacy
Most often, technicians in a pharmacy will cover duties such
as accepting patient orders, establishing or updating patient
records and insurance information, cashiering, filling and labeling
medication bottles, coordinating refills with doctors' offices,
and any other duty the pharmacist requires.
In a hospital, the duties may be somewhat different, including
delivering and picking up medication ordered by doctors to the
various areas of the hospital.
Do I have to have a pharmacy
certification to work in a pharmacy?
Depending on the state you work in, you may be able to assist
in a pharmacy without the certification. However, such jobs
may have time limits to get the certification, and your duties
and salary may be limited by the lack of a certification. A
pharmacy certification usually requires some hours of pharmacy
experience, which can be obtained on-the-job, or through courses
taken at accredited schools in conjunction with an externship.
Some larger pharmacy chains offer externships, which more often
than not can result in a career with that pharmacy.
How much does it cost to get a pharmacy certification?
The fee for the exam, the PTCB, is currently set at $129, which
may or may not include testing center fees. The cost of preparation
courses will vary depending on the school and method of training.
This training may not be eligible for financial aid, but some
government programs will pay for vocational training, so check
with your local employment office for financial assistance.
Do I have to attend a school to get the certification?
You can attend a vocational school or college to prepare for
the exam, however, there are a number of online courses available
to prepare for the PTCB. On average, about 70% of students who
take the exam pass it, so it is a good idea to be as well-prepared
as possible. The exam itself requires you to go to a licensed
testing center, so find out about testing centers in your area
How long is the pharmacy certification good for?
The PTCB is only good for two years, after which you have one
year to recertify. The PTCB requires a minimum of 20 hours of
continuing education in those two years. This ensures that all
pharmacy technicians keep their job skills and knowledge up-to-date,
which is vital in a market in which there are new medications,
and findings about possibly deadly side effects, nearly every
day. Pharmacies and hospitals have a responsibility to their
patients to do as much as possible to prevent potentially deadly