In order to reap the benefits of a well-paid position as a pharmacy technician or `PT`, individuals are recommended to attend a qualified PT program or obtain a 2-year Associates’ degree with emphasis on becoming a pharmacy tech.
With that education, program attendees and college graduates can easily take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and earn their CPhT, which will help ensure their access to the best employment positions and not only basic retail positions.
About the Pharmacy Technician Test in the US
US PTs who pass the PT Certification Exam will earn their CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician), which makes them available for employment by one of the increasing numbers of facilities that are requiring certification for pharmacy techs.
Comprised of multiple-choice questions, the PCTE is a computerized exam given in one sitting at numerous testing locations, with a time allotment of 110 minutes to complete it.
Of those questions, 66% of the test covers assisting pharmacists in serving patients, 22% covers medication control and inventory and 12% covers pharmacy management and administration.
The purpose of these questions is to determine an examinee’s knowledge of the pharmacy industry, their role as an assistant and other important topics that are essential when working as a pharmacy tech.
Those who pass the exam receive the certification of CPhT. Those who do not pass the exam may re-test up to three more times. In order to take the PCTE exam again, a period of 60 days must pass between each attempt; 6 months must pass before the last re-test will be permitted. Currently, the cost of taking the exam is $129 USD each time.
Additionally, the National Healthcare Association offers a PT test as well, which also awards those who pass with the certification of CPhT. There is no difference in certification received; both exams offer the same qualifications.
About the Pharmacy Technician Test in the UK
In the UK, the General Pharmaceutical Council maintains a registration of all qualified individuals working in the pharmacy profession including technicians, as well as monitors all educational programs that provide qualifications in which technicians can become registered with the GPC.
Those looking to become GPC registered must complete specific educational and professional training in order to qualify. They must possess four GSCEs that are grade C or higher and must include math, science, English, and one other course, as well as have either completed a 2 year GPhC accredited pharmacy technician course or have accrued 2 years worth of GPhC approved, job-related experience.
They must also complete one of the following three certification groupings as follows: a) Level 3 NVQ in Pharmacy Service AND Level 3 Diploma Pharmaceutical Science,
b) Level 3 NVQ in Pharmacy Service AND BTEC National Diploma Pharmaceutical Science,
or c) National Certificate Pharmaceutical Science, National Certificate Pharmaceutical Services,
Level 3 SVQ Pharmacy Services AND Level 3 SVQ/Level 6 SCQF Pharmacy Services (all four qualifications).
One of these three choices, with the work experience requirement fulfilled as well, are necessary to become a Registered Pharmacy Technician under the GPC.
More detailed information about taking the PHTC PT Test – including study guides, tutorials and practice tests – can be found on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s website.
Additionally, all certifications and qualifications have specific requirements for continuing education and professional development, as most healthcare industry professions do.
Continuing education accredited courses and information is also available at these sites. Information differs depending on country and region, but today most countries either require – or recommend – certification of all PTs via educational programs and work experience or externship.
Although it may seem like there is a lot involved with obtaining the highest certifications for a pharmacy technician, taking the pharmacy technician test in order to earn the title of CPhT, Pharmacy Technician or other qualified title is recommended.
While it is possible for individuals to take the required testing on just work experience alone, passing is harder to do without the educational background typically given by any of the recognized or accredited programs or college courses designed to help students take, and pass, these exams.
Only by having the necessary certifications will a pharmacy tech be able to obtain a more diverse, advanced and high-paying position.