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What Is A Certified Pharmacy Technician?

Huge transformations are taking place in the pharmacy tech industry. More challenging and complex roles are being added to the job description of technicians, as their bosses the pharmacists - take on greater responsibilities in the field of patient care.

This calls for hiring a more qualified tech workforce. Acquiring certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) might soon be part of the minimum requirement for employment.

Currently employed technicians are also required to pass the certification exam given by the board. Certification regulations vary from state to state.

What Is a Certified Pharmacy Technician?

A certified pharmacy technician is an individual who has met all requirements of a credentialing agency and passed the exam given by the agency to obtain certification. A licensed pharmacy technician, on the other hand, is one who has met all requirements set by the state for him to be able to practice professionally.

National Examinations for Certification

There are two national examinations given. One is the PTCE (Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam) given by the PTCB and the other is the ExCPT given by the ICPT (Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians).

The Two Exams Compared

A court ruling made in 2008 upheld that the two exams should be considered as equals. The ICPT and the PTCB are both accredited by the authorities. The exams have similar content and the degree of difficulty is the same. Fees dont differ much, with the ExCPT charging $105 and the PTCE $129.

State by State Recognition

Though the exams are taken as equals in the legal sense, potential employers favor one over the other. In certain states, the ExCPT is still unrecognized, although there are states where certification from either of the two agencies is not required.

States that require certification are the states of Wyoming, Washington, Virginia, Utah, South Carolina, Texas, New Mexico, Oregon, Massachusetts, Maryland, Montana, Iowa, Louisiana, Idaho, Illinois and Arizona. Only Arizona, Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana dont accept certification other than the PTCB. All other states recognize both.

Different employers have different preferences. Employers of large businesses think that the PTCE has a higher level of difficulty and that it includes more math and drug questions. However, some people believe that one should choose to take and pass the ExCPT if they want to have a career working in commercial pharmacies such as WalMart, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.

Choosing which exam to take might require that you call the company you intend to work for and ask for their certification requirements.

Eligibility to Take the Certification Exam

The following criteria may be required:

* Candidate is at least 18 yrs old
* Candidate has a high school diploma (or a GED)
* Candidate has no criminal records or felony convictions
* Candidate has not received any disciplinary action and his license or registration has not been revoked or suspended by authorities.

Application form for certification is available online. Visit the websites of the duly-accredited certification agencies.

Acts of misrepresenting eligibility or violation of rules set by the certification agency shall be considered ground for disqualification of application.

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