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Pharmacy Technician Certification Demand is Rising!

Earning your pharmacy technician certification is easier and can be done faster than you have probably ever imagined! Pharmacy tech schools are looking for students and the national demand for pharmacy technicians is growing! According to the latest data from the, there is tremendous growth expected for pharmacy technicians at 20% over the next decade! Below we have clearly laid out all the detailed information for you to decide if getting certified as a pharmacy technician is for you!
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Requirements for Pharmacy Tech Certification Programs

If you are looking to become a pharmacy tech, it will require that you have earned a H.S. diploma or GED equivalent. Pharmacy techs will usually learn through pharmacy technician programs that are accredited or through on-the-job training. There are only a few states that do not mandate pharmacy tech certification before employment eligibility. See below for your state’s certification requirements.

Basic Skills Needed to Be Prepared for CPHT Certification Programs

  • Be Detailed Oriented
  • Have Customer Service Skills
  • Basic Mathematics Skills
  • Strong Organizational Skills
  • Ability to Listen

Selecting Pharmacy Tech Schools

Picking the Right School

Though on the job education is very common across the country where possible, as larger companies buy pharmacies everyday, a national certification is going to become standard quicker than most may think. Attending an accredited pharmacy technician program will get you prepared to sit for the (PTCB) Certification Exam.

Check the Program’s Accreditation

Be sure to check your school’s accreditation at the (ASHP) American Society of Health System Pharmacists website. This will make sure that your education is up to the level of the national accrediting bodies. Accreditation has become a growing concern nationally and make sure you have your bases covered.

Talk to Multiple Certification Programs to Gather Information

Gathering information can save you money for tuition and books and it can provide insight to program layouts and more. Hearing the style different schools teach can really help you make a smart conclusion for what is the best pharmacy technician certification program for you.

Online Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy tech classes online are an extremely popular option for many. Not just pharmacy tech students. And yes they are very popular with pharmacy tech students! The combination of online training for the classroom portion of your training with on the job training for your clinical portion is very popular for many employers nowadays too. Be sure to look at our guide to online pharmacy technician programs.

How Long Until you Will be Ready for Certification Testing?

Programs are 6 months to 2 years in length. It depends on what state you live in too. Some states have longer demands for their technicians. Set a plan with your school’s admission staff to get your timetable in front of you so you have hard goals to reach for and meet.

On-the-job Training

Is on-the-job Education Common?

Yes it is very common. As of last year (2013), there were 7 states plus Washington D.C. that do not require pharmacy technician certification. Those states are Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In these states, on the job training is the usual method of pharmacy assistant or technician training. But a national certification will enhance your employment opportunities even in the states that do not require it.

How Long is Typical on the job Training?

Training on the job in a pharmacy environment can take 3 months to a full year in some cases. That solely depends on your ability to learn. Most states have a 600 hour minimum on training. See your state board or employer for more details. Being a good pharmacist assistant takes time and training.

On the Job Learning is Natural for CPHTs

With customer service and other basic clerk like tasks and duties, the job as a pharmacy technician can easily be done of the job. With the natural progression of cash register work to the handling of medication can be learned slowly at the necessary pace of the place in which you are working. Some may be more aggressive than others. So be aware. Remember a national certification avoids all this!

Licensing and Certification

What to Know About Pharmacy Technician Licensing and Certification

There are two main national agencies. The (NHA) National Healthcareer Association and the (PTCB) Pharmacy Technician Certification Board that offer the national exams for pharmacy technician certification and licensing. Testing is done at a local testing center chosen by the respective board. The PTCB certification is the one to get in our opinion at, all states accept PTCB certification and even states like Arizona, Louisiana, Texas and Washington only accept a PTCB certification. The PTCB certification will get you on the path to your CPHT certification fast!!

Certification Exam

National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Details

For starters, (PTCE) or Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam is a 90 multiple choice question exam. You will be tested in three areas. But one area is two thirds the test.

  • Pharmacist Assisting – 66% of test – In on the job training this is the last portion you would perfect. It is how you perform the functions of the job when working with the medicine, customers and with the pharmacist.
  • Inventory Control and Management – 22% of test – Managing the inventory all medications and supplies accurately is imperative to the job.
  • Standards of Practice and Regulations – 12% of test – From federal guidelines to how to use automated dispensing technology will be covered.

Certification Exam Locations

The Pharmacy Technician licensing test is also available at any Pearson VUE Centers in the United States. All U.S. military personnel can use DANTES sites. The test is is offered throughout the calender year and all applications are accepted 24/7. You will have 90 days to take the exam after getting approved for sitting for the test. Also, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam has a fee of $129.

How Long Does the PTCE Last?

The certification test usually lasts about 2 hours. The final score of all exams are based on the total number of correct answers. So clearly, it is in your best interest to answer every question on the test. When using the computer based software at a testing center, you will find out your results right away! You can take the exam three times if needed.

Career Outlook

What is the Outlook for a Pharmacy Technician Salary?

As you can see below, the salary expectations are growing for pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy Technicians Data from
Average salary 2015 $30,410
Average pay 2015 $14.62
Education and training High school diploma or equivalent
On-the-job training In some cases
Jobs increase through 2024 372,500
Job growth through 2024 9%
New jobs added in that time 34,700

As you can see the job outlook for pharmacy techs is looking really good for the future!

Types of Employers

There are many employer types for aspiring pharmacy technicians. Below we feature them with the latest data.

Employer Types % of Overall Employment
Pharmacies/Drug Stores 53%
Hospitals 17
General Stores 12
Grocery Stores 7
Healthcare Centers 3

Get Pharmacy Tech Certification Information by State

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