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How to become a certified pharmacy technician?

Where can I get test prep for the exam? Where do I take the exam? How long does the certification last? ?

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Brandi’s Answer

I work at CVS and am currently enrolled in their program to become state and nationally certified. They just started working with Pharmacy Technician University. So after I finish this online schooling, they will pay for me to take the national certification test and that will also complete my state certification (for SC)
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Tammy’s Answer

Hello Andrew,

There are two tests you can take in order to get certified nationally, the PTCB and the ExCPT. I do not know much about the ExCPT myself so I will be talking about the PTCB only. You can take the test at a testing center or PTCB now offers the test to be taken at home.

The certification is good for 2-years and must be renewed every 2-years. You do have to do CE's (continued education) hours over the 2-year period, but it is only 20 "hours" (most of the time you can complete them faster). One needs to be pharmacy law, one needs to be patient safety, and the rest can be whatever (This is only PTCB's requirements, your state board may also have others, but they can be used for both). Like if you need 20 CEs for the state board and 20 for PTCB, you only need 20 not 40 (hope that was easy to understand). You will need to sign up for a NABP (National Association of Boards of Pharmacy) account, this account keeps track of all you CE's and it is where PTCB and you state board will look to see if you did all the required CE's.

PTCB offers a pre-PTCB test resourse;
https://ptcb.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/sections/9134901070861-PTCB-Practice-Tools

There are Apps you can get as well but I have not used them, so I do not have one to recommend.
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Claudia’s Answer

Hello Pharmacy Technician -to-be!

Most states have a Pharmacy Technician training program at Junior colleges, Community colleges and Technical schools. They vary in how well they prepare you to take the National CPhT exam.

As an example, here is are some programs in Washington (the State):
https://www.pharmacytechnicianguide.com/Schools/Washington/

Enter your own state and/or zip code and check a few of them out.
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Kurt’s Answer

Hi Andrew, a pharmacy technician career can be a very rewarding and can open the door into many other related career fields that will keep you growing your capabilities as your career journey continues. It can be especially gratifying knowing you are helping people get well and educating them on how to do so safely. I partially put myself through college working as a cashier in a pharmacy. In that job I interacted with the pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on a daily basis. They were all very caring, friendly, and patient people who appeared to be really happy with the important work they were performing.

Kurt recommends the following next steps:

Now that you know pharmacy technician is the career you would like to pursue, here is a great resource to get you started down the path to being a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT): The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), is the body that administers the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE) and should be the first place you check out. This website is loaded with information on how to become a certified pharmacy technician: https://www.ptcb.org/credentials/certified-pharmacy-technician Within the PTCB website they outline two different pathways for achieving certification: Pathway 1: A PTCB-Recognized Education/Training Program (or completion within 60 days). Candidates choose from more than 1,400 recognized programs. (a link to explore all the available programs is provided on the website). Pathway 2: Equivalent work experience as a pharmacy technician (min. 500 hours).* This alternative secondary path serves experienced technicians who were not in a position to attend a PTCB-recognized program. PTCB accepts work experience across pharmacy practice settings that pertains to certain knowledge requirements. Once you have met the above prerequisite training or experience you can apply for the exam and use the many exam preparation materials available on the web page to increase your confidence that you will do well. I hope this encourages and motivates you to take the next step in pursuing and achieving your CPhT certification. Wishing you all the best in life!
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Samantha’s Answer

Hi Andrew!
Every state has their own policies, educational path, and exam rules. As a minor, there are tuition free courses/institutes for high schoolers that will train students for technical programs. If there is non that apply near your area, the other choice would be to enlist in a local technical program- private, public, online, or community college, after finishing high school. For pharmacy, it typically lasts for less than a year and you will have the choice to either apply for state ONLY license, or NATIONAL license. State means that you will only be eligible to work in your state, while for national you are able to work in every state.
To look at your options, try to search "Pharmacy Technician programs near me" (to give you an idea). Like said before, each state has their own policies, but nearly all license application processes are about the same. You will only take an exam when you apply for national license. There is no exam required for the state license.

Certification lasts for 2 years, both CPhT ($200) and PTCB (about $400). To enroll for the PTCB certification/license, you can always search for the website PTCB.org.

Hope this helps!
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