Pharmacy Technician Test and Continuing Education

Not every state will require the pharmacy technician to have certification for this field; however, a pharmacy technician can choose to voluntarily earn their certification in order to increase their chances of finding employment. Currently you can take the pharmacy technician test through two different organizations: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Health Career Association. Here we will find out what the exam requirements are and also learn how you can maintain your certification as a pharmacy technician once you have completed the exam.

Earning your Certification through the PTCB and NHCA

The certification exam through the PTCB and NHCA will allow the pharmacy tech to perform their duties in a more effective manner with professional pharmacists, by providing effective and safe patient service and care. Pharmacy technician certification can be achieved through specific requirements such as being 18 years of age, having a high school diploma or equivalent, having no past felonies, no misdemeanors in the past five years and obtaining a passing grade on the technician exam. Both the NHCA and the PTCB exams are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, also referred to as NCCA.

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These exams will assess the student’s ability to perform duties in a pharmacy setting and requires the student to apply on either organizations website, in order for the organizations to determine if the applicant meets testing requirements. Should the student meet the requirements they will receive a list of testing sites in their area. The cost for the exam is 130$ and will focus on such areas of the profession as reading and transcribing physician orders, how to prepare insurance claim forms, how to manage a pharmacy’ inventory, establishing and maintaining a patient’s profile, and how to measure, count, weigh and pour medications. The tests will consist of both multiple choice and essay questions, with a total of three hours available to complete the exam.

How to Maintain Certification with Continuing Education

In order to maintain your certification as a pharmacy technician you will need to complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years, which can include re-taking the certification exam.  Some hours of continuing education will need to be devoted to pharmacy law or by completing in-service projects. These projects are work assignments that do not involve the technician’s routine duties in the pharmacy. The tech will need to make arrangements with their pharmacist for this type of CE credit. You can also find free continuing education options online through such organizations as the Council for Pharmacy Education, also referred to as the ACPE.  Home study or online study courses in medication distribution, math, pharmaceutical science, inventory control, pharmacology therapy and biology can be counted as two hours towards your continuing education with each course.


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