Understanding the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

Definition of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

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The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is a national organization that provides certification for pharmacy technicians in the United States. This certification is recognized and respected by employers, state boards of pharmacy, and other healthcare organizations.


The PTCB was established in 1995 and has since certified over 700,000 pharmacy technicians. It sets the standards for pharmacy technician education, training, and certification to ensure patient safety and quality healthcare services.

Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the healthcare industry. They assist pharmacists in dispensing medications, managing inventory, and providing excellent customer service. By obtaining PTCB certification, pharmacy technicians demonstrate their commitment to professionalism and competency in their field.

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Requirements for Certification

To become a certified pharmacy technician through the PTCB, individuals must meet certain requirements:

  • Education: Candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent education.
  • Training: Completion of a pharmacy technician training program accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or another recognized accrediting body is required.
  • Experience: Candidates must have at least 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician. This experience can be obtained through internships, externships, or actual employment.
  • Criminal Background Check: Applicants must undergo a criminal background check to ensure public safety and maintain the integrity of the pharmacy profession.
  • Passing the Exam: The final step in obtaining PTCB certification is passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). This comprehensive exam assesses knowledge and skills in areas such as medication safety, pharmacy law, and medication order entry and fill process.

Once certified, pharmacy technicians must renew their certification every two years. The PTCB requires continuing education to ensure technicians stay updated on the latest developments in pharmacy practice.

PTCB certification is widely recognized and accepted throughout the United States. Many states also require pharmacy technicians to be certified by the PTCB or a similar organization to work in a pharmacy setting. By obtaining PTCB certification, pharmacy technicians increase their job prospects and open doors to career advancement opportunities.

For more information on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the certification process, visit the official PTCB website.

Career Advancement Opportunities for Certified Pharmacy Technicians

Obtaining certification as a pharmacy technician can open up a world of career advancement opportunities in the medical field. Certified pharmacy technicians have the knowledge, skills, and credentials that make them valuable assets in various healthcare settings. Let’s explore some of the benefits and opportunities that come with becoming a certified pharmacy technician.

1. Expanded Job Prospects

With certification, pharmacy technicians become more attractive candidates for employment. Many employers prefer to hire certified pharmacy technicians due to their proven expertise and commitment to professional development. By obtaining certification, you can significantly enhance your chances of securing a job in a competitive job market.

Moreover, certified pharmacy technicians can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and mail-order pharmacies. This versatility provides you with the opportunity to explore different work environments and choose the one that aligns best with your career goals and interests.

2. Increased Earning Potential

Certification often leads to higher earning potential for pharmacy technicians. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified pharmacy technicians tend to earn higher wages than their non-certified counterparts. As you gain experience and advance in your career, your earning potential is likely to increase even further.

Additionally, some employers offer incentives such as bonuses or pay differentials for certified pharmacy technicians. These benefits can contribute to a more rewarding and financially stable career in the pharmaceutical industry.

3. Career Progression

Becoming a certified pharmacy technician is often just the beginning of a fulfilling career journey. With your certification in hand, you may have the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and advance into roles with greater challenges and rewards.

For instance, certified pharmacy technicians can pursue specialized certifications in areas such as chemotherapy, sterile products, or compounding. These additional certifications can open doors to more specialized positions and higher salaries.

Qualification to Become Licensed in Certain States

In some states, certification as a pharmacy technician is a requirement for obtaining a license to practice. This means that without certification, you may be limited in terms of where you can work as a pharmacy technician.

By becoming a certified pharmacy technician, you expand your career options and increase your chances of being eligible for licensure in states that require it. This can be particularly important if you plan to relocate or if you want to have the flexibility to work in different states throughout your career.

It’s essential to stay informed about the specific requirements for pharmacy technician licensure in the states where you wish to practice. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) are excellent resources for up-to-date information on state regulations and licensing requirements.

In conclusion, becoming a certified pharmacy technician offers numerous benefits, including expanded job prospects, increased earning potential, and opportunities for career progression. Furthermore, certification can qualify you for licensure in certain states, providing you with more flexibility and options in your career. Take the next step toward professional growth by pursuing certification as a pharmacy technician.

III. Steps to Obtaining PTCB Certification

A. Eligibility Requirements

To become a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), there are certain eligibility requirements that must be met. These requirements ensure that individuals possess the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this role. The eligibility criteria include:

1. Education: Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent educational qualification.

2. Training: Completion of a pharmacy technician program accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) or any program recognized by the PTCB is required. Alternatively, candidates can have equivalent work experience of at least 500 hours as a pharmacy technician.

3. Criminal Background Check: A clean criminal background is essential for certification. Any felony or drug-related convictions may disqualify an applicant from becoming a certified pharmacy technician.

4. Compliance with PTCB Policies: Applicants must agree to comply with all PTCB policies, including the Candidate Conduct Policy, which ensures ethical and professional behavior.

B. Application Process and Fees

Once the eligibility requirements are met, aspiring pharmacy technicians can proceed with the application process for PTCB certification. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

1. Create an Account: Visit the PTCB website and create an account using a valid email address.

2. Complete the Application: Fill out the application form with accurate personal and educational information.

3. Pay the Application Fee: The current application fee is $129 (subject to change). Payment can be made securely online via credit or debit card.

4. Submit Supporting Documents: Provide documentation of completion of a pharmacy technician program or equivalent work experience, as well as high school diploma or equivalent.

5. Schedule the Exam: Once your application is approved, you will receive an email with instructions on scheduling the exam.

6. Exam Accommodations (if applicable): If you require any accommodations due to disabilities or other special circumstances, submit the appropriate documentation during the application process.

C. Exam Prep and Testing Process

Preparing for the PTCB exam is crucial for success. The exam tests candidates’ knowledge and skills in various areas related to pharmacy practice. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

1. Study Resources: Utilize reputable study materials such as textbooks, online courses, and practice exams. PTCB offers a comprehensive Candidate Guide that outlines the topics covered in the exam.

2. Practice Exams: Take advantage of practice exams to familiarize yourself with the format and types of questions you may encounter.

3. Time Management: Develop a study schedule and allocate dedicated time for each topic. This will help you cover all the necessary content before the exam.

4. Review Important Topics: Focus on key areas such as pharmaceutical calculations, drug classifications, pharmacy laws, and regulations.

5. Exam Day: Arrive early at the testing center, well-rested and prepared. Follow all instructions provided by the testing center staff.

Remember, the PTCB exam is computer-based and consists of 90 multiple-choice questions to be completed within two hours. The passing score is 1400 out of 1600.

For more information on PTCB certification, visit the official PTCB website at www.ptcb.org.

By following these steps and adequately preparing for the PTCB exam, aspiring pharmacy technicians can enhance their career prospects and demonstrate their commitment to providing safe and effective medication management in healthcare settings.

Maintaining PTCB Certification

As a pharmacy technician, obtaining your Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification is a significant achievement. However, it is equally important to stay up-to-date with the evolving field of pharmacy and continue your education to maintain your certification. This article will provide insights into the continuing education requirements and the recertification process for PTCB certification.

Continuing Education Requirements

Continuing education plays a vital role in ensuring that pharmacy technicians remain knowledgeable and competent in their field. The PTCB requires certified pharmacy technicians to complete a specified number of continuing education hours during each recertification cycle, which is typically every two years.

Here are some key points to remember about continuing education requirements:

  • PTCB mandates completing 20 hours of continuing education during each recertification cycle.
  • These hours must be obtained from recognized educational programs or activities related to pharmacy practice.
  • At least one hour of the 20 hours must cover pharmacy law.
  • Pharmacy technicians can earn continuing education credits by attending conferences, workshops, webinars, or online courses approved by the PTCB.
  • It is important to retain documentation of completed continuing education activities as proof for recertification purposes.

By participating in continuing education, pharmacy technicians can enhance their knowledge, stay updated with industry advancements, and provide better patient care.

Recertification Process

The recertification process ensures that certified pharmacy technicians continue to meet the standards set by the PTCB. It is essential to understand the recertification requirements and timeline to maintain your certification without any interruptions.

Here is an overview of the recertification process:

  • Recertification is required every two years from the initial certification date.
  • To be eligible for recertification, pharmacy technicians must complete the required continuing education hours and submit the recertification application before the expiration date.
  • The recertification fee must be paid along with the application submission.
  • PTCB offers a 60-day late application period after the expiration date, subject to an additional late fee.
  • Failure to recertify within the specified timeframe will result in the loss of certification, and the individual will need to retake the certification exam to regain their credentials.

It is crucial to stay organized and keep track of important dates to ensure a smooth recertification process. Setting reminders and establishing a routine for continuing education can help pharmacy technicians meet their recertification requirements on time.

For detailed information on continuing education requirements and the recertification process, you can visit the official PTCB website: https://www.ptcb.org.

Remember, maintaining your PTCB certification demonstrates your commitment to professional growth and ensures that you are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills to provide exceptional pharmaceutical care.