Pharmacies have a vast list of career options in the field. If you are interested in getting into pharmacy, you have wide career options available. You can become a pharmacist, pharmacy clerk, pharmacy dispenser, pharmacy technician, pharmacy assistant, nuclear pharmacist, chemotherapy pharmacist, long-term care pharmacist, director of the pharmacy, pharmacist in charge, pharmacy manager, pharmacologist, clinical pharmacist, or pharmacy specialist.
In this post, we will talk about the pharmacy technician career option. Pharmacy technicians are health care providers who work perform pharmacy-related functions. They work under the supervision of pharmacists. Pharmacy technicians work in different locations, like community, retail, and hospital pharmacies. They assist pharmacists, help patients, count and measure medications, and maintain pharmaceutical inventory.
If you want to work as a pharmacy technician, it is essential to become licensed or certified. The requirements for certification or licensure will differ from one state to another. Almost all states require the individual to obtain a pharmacy technician license to work in a pharmacy.
Licensed Pharmacy Technician vs Certified
Pharmacy technician licensure and pharmacy technician certification might seem very similar. Students often get confused between these two. Let’s understand the difference:
What is A Licensed Pharmacy Technician?
A licensed pharmacy technician is someone who meets all the state’s requirements for working in a pharmacy. A person becomes a licensed pharmacy technician only after he/she meets all the state’s requirements. Depending on the state you are in, the requirements to become a licensed pharmacy technician may differ.
Almost all states have some sort of requirements for it. However, there are also some states without any pharmacy technician license requirements to work in the pharmacy. Licensure is the process in which the agency of government grants permission to work in the pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. Once you fulfill all the licensure requirements by your state, you will be called a licensed pharmacy technician.
What is A Certified Pharmacy Technician?
As we have seen, to become a licensed pharmacy technician, the individual needs to fulfill all the pharmacy technician requirements of his/her state. Talking about pharmacy technician certification, the individual needs to meet the non-governmental agency’s requirements and pass the examination.
Once you meet the non-governmental agency’s requirements and pass the exam, you can obtain the pharmacy technician certification. The certification states that the individual has the necessary knowledge, skills, and/or experience.
Can You Work As A Pharmacy Technician Without Being Certified?
Pharmacy technician certification are conducted by two agencies: PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) and NHA (National Healthcareer Association). Both agencies have different criteria for the pharmacy technician certification exam. To become a CPhT, you need to pass the certification examination, i.e., PTCE (Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam).
Many people often ask, “Is it possible to work as a pharmacy technician without being certified?”
The answer is Yes. It is possible to work as a pharmacy technician without being certified. Without certification, you may not get a job in a hospital or clinical pharmacy. Without pharmacy technician certification, it is a good idea to get a job in a retail pharmacy.
Are CPhT and PTCB The Same?
No, CPhT and PTCB are not the same. CPht stands for Certified Pharmacy Technician and PTCB stands for Pharmacy Technician Certified Board. To become a certified pharmacy technician, it is essential to pass the certification exam.
The certification exam for pharmacy technicians is conducted by non-government agencies. The two main agencies which conduct this exam are PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certified Board) and NHA (National HealthCareer Association).
To get pharmacy technician certification from PTCB, you need to pass the PTCE (Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam). Talking about NHA, if you want to get pharmacy technician certification from NHA, you need to pass the ExCPT (The Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians). Between PTCE and ExCPT, PTCE is a more popular exam.
The cost of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is $129, and the cost of The Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) is $117.
How To Get Pharmacy Technician License?
As we have seen, the pharmacy technician license is quite different from pharmacy technician certification. Licensure is about fulfilling the state’s requirement to become a pharmacy technician, while certification is about passing the exam conducted by a non-government agency to show up your skills and expertise in the field.
Passing the pharmacy technician exam and getting the certification will not be enough, you will also need to have a pharmacy technician license. The requirements for licensure will differ from one state to another. There are also some states that do not require a license to work in the pharmacy.
Depending on the state, you may need to maintain your PTCB certification to obtain licensure. If you want to get a pharmacy technician license, contact the Board of Pharmacy of your state and they will provide you all the details you need to know to apply for the license.
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs
To pass the pharmacy technician certification exam, you can enroll to any good training program, as self-training can be quite difficult. You can complete Pharmacy Technician Certificate/Diploma Program or complete Associate Degree (AA). Certificate/Diploma program will take 1 year or less, while an Associate Degree (AA) will take 2 years.
The Certificate/Diploma program is of around 1 year. The program will be focused mainly on the pharmacy technician profession. If your aim is to fulfill your state’s requirements for a pharmacy technician certificate, this program is for you. It will help you prepare and pass the PTCE or ExCPT examination.
Associate Degree (AA)
If your purpose is not just to get the certification, but to get more from the pharmacy field, you may consider about Associate Degree (AA). This degree program will take about two years. The degree program is especially for those who are willing to continue pharmacy education in the future.
Difference Between Licensed And Certified (Real Technicians)
We have curated the below information from multiple forums so you don’t have to take our word on this. The only changes we made are to grammar or spelling when needed.
Real Technician Answers
1. AC1985 – I worked at a private pharmacy and most the techs were not certified, once they were hired the company paid for them to get registered with the state. To be certified you have to take the PTCB and that will allow you to work in any pharmacy regaurdless of the state. Its usually not that common for pharmacies to hire pharm tech with no certification, unless they are small or private like mine. Taking the PTCB is very helpful and its not that hard at all, then you can apply to any phamacy thats hiring and know you have a good chance at getting the job. Although I dont live in FL, but pretty sure its the same. Certification is national and registered is only with the state.
2. Pavouaxiong – To my understanding, a registered pharmacy tech and certified pharmacy tech are not the same. A registered pharmacy tech is a pharm tech that is recognized in the state that you registered in. A certified pharmacy tech is one who passed the PTCB.
Since I got accepted to the pharmacy school in Virginia and will be attending in August, I have decided to not registerd with the state of CA as a pharm tech. Plan A was: get accepted by a pharmacy school in 2010. Plan B was: if I do not get accepted, then work as a pharmacy tech in CA in 2010. I went through a pharm tech class from Aug 2009 – Dec 2009 as a backup plan but since plan A worked, I’ll stick to the orginal plan.
I bought Mosby’s Review for the PTCB to study, but I am still deciding whether I should take this test. What do you guys think? Should I take the PTCB next month or should I just hold it off since I’ll be attending pharmacy school in August? I don’t plan to move to VA until June or July, and I currently have a job (not related to pharmacy).
Plan 1: Just relax, work, and save up $$$ to move to VA.
Plan 2: Study for the PTCB, take PTCB, work, move to VA, registered as a pharm tech in VA, try to look for a pharm tech job in VA
Here we have shared everything you need to know about licensed and certified pharmacy technicians.