Certification for Pharmacy Technicians: Is It Necessary?

Pharmacy technicians play an imperative aspect in the healthcare industry. They work alongside pharmacists to ensure that medications are properly dispensed, managed, and stored. The demand for pharmacy technicians has increased in recent years as the healthcare industry continues to grow.

With this growth, the question arises: is certification from a pharmacy tech school necessary? The answer is yes; it is.

Why Pharmacy Technicians Need Certification

Certification is necessary for pharmacy technicians for several reasons, including:

  • Ensure they have the knowledge and skills. Certification programs provide comprehensive training in drug dosage calculations, medication safety, and pharmacy law and ethics. This way, pharmacy technicians can perform their duties accurately and safely.
  • Often required by employers. Many pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities require their pharmacy technicians to be certified. This is because certification indicates that a pharmacy technician has met certain education and training standards. It also demonstrates a commitment to professionalism and excellence in the field. 
  • Lead to increased job opportunities and higher salaries. Many employers prefer to hire certified pharmacy technicians because they know they have the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job well. Certification can also lead to increased salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified pharmacy technicians earn, on average, 20% more than their non-certified counterparts. 

How to Become Certified as a Pharmacy Technician

Complete a Pharmacy Tech School Program

These programs are offered at vocational schools, community colleges, and online institutions. They typically take between 6 months and 2 years to complete, depending on the program. 

Moreover, pharmacy tech school programs mostly cover pharmacy law and ethics, drug dosage calculations, medication safety, and pharmacology. Additionally, many programs include hands-on training in a pharmacy setting so students can gain practical experience and apply what they have learned in the classroom. 

Take a Certification Exam

Several institutions deliver certification exams for pharmacy technicians, including the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). These exams test a pharmacy technician’s knowledge and skills in medication safety, drug dosage calculations, and pharmacy law and ethics. 

Remember, there are various types of certifications that pharmacy technicians can obtain, including Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician (CSPT), and Certified Technician in Sterile Compounding (CSPT). Each certification requires specific training and experience, so you must research and choose the certification that best fits your career goals and interests.

Maintain the Certification through Continuing Education

Certification doesn’t mean a pharmacy technician’s education is complete. Continuing education is necessary to maintain and renew the certification.

The PTCB requires pharmacy technicians to complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years, while the NHA requires 10 hours annually. One can complete continuing education through online courses, conferences, and workshops. This ensures that they stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field and continue to provide safe and effective care to patients. 

Final Thoughts

Strong arguments exist for and against the necessity of certification for pharmacy technicians. While certification can provide a standardized level of training and knowledge, it may not support competence and may create barriers to entry for those without the means to pay for it. Ultimately, it is up to individual employers and regulatory bodies to determine the requirements for pharmacy technicians in their specific settings.

Become a certified pharmacy technician in no time at Northwest Suburban College, the premier pharmacy tech school near Schaumburg, IL. Enroll now and start your journey toward a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Take the first step today!

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