The Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program
was developed in response to a rising need for trained technicians to work in
either the hospital or retail pharmacy setting. In recent years, the Pharmacy
Technician profession has become indispensable to the health care field. A
nationwide shortage of pharmacists and a growing consumer demand for
prescription medications have allowed pharmacy technicians the opportunity to
play a continually more important role in today's pharmacy industry.
With this growing opportunity for pharmacy techs, however, has also come
increased responsibility, and this increased responsibility has made Pharmacy
Technician Certification an important issue for many industry employers and
even to some state legislatures. Some states now require all individuals who
work as pharmacy technicians to become nationally certified.
A pharmacy tech is an individual who, under the supervision of a
pharmacist, assists in the performance of activities of the pharmacy department
not requiring the professional judgment of a pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians
assist and support licensed pharmacists in providing health care to patients.
Pharmacy Technicians have been called pharmacy helpers, pharmacy clinicians,
pharmacy support personnel and various other titles, depending on their
In all parts of the country, pharmacy techs must
have a broad knowledge of pharmacy practice and must be skilled in the
techniques required to order, stock, package, and prepare medications, but they
do not need the advanced college education required of a licensed pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians may perform many of the same duties as a pharmacist;
however, all of their work must be checked by a pharmacist before medication
can be dispensed to a patient.
In order to sit for the national pharmacy tech certification exam,
candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent; therefore, it is
recommended that students have this before enrolling for this program. Students
should be proficient in keyboarding (approximately 35 words per minute), have a
basic understanding of a word processing computer program (Microsoft Word
recommended), and have a command of English grammar and punctuation. No
healthcare or medical office work experience is required.
The target audience for the Pharmacy Tech program is individuals
interested in learning job skills for pharmacy technician employment
opportunities or individuals interested in changing job skills to become
How can I find my state's requirements for pharmacy tech certification?
The Internet is a great resource. All states currently
have a site with board of pharmacy information. You can access this information
directly from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) website at www.ptcb.org.
If you cannot access this information via the Internet, you can always call the
state board and ask for the current technician regulations.
What if my State requires more than what is offered in this program?
Most states still offer employment prior to pharmacy
tech certification. This often comes with the stipulation that certification is
acquired with a period of time (usually a year). During this period you will be
considered unlicensed personnel, clerks, or aides.
On-the-job training/internships are a great way to obtain the increasing number
of hours required. If your goal is to work in a hospital pharmacy, finding that
job while you are still a student will help you reach your employment
requirements (many states require a minimum number of hours worked before
registration/certification with the board can occur), along with the
educational clinical requirements.