A growing number of states require certification of pharmacy technicians before issuance of a state license. The process of certification for pharmacy techs in the United States generally involves a pharmacy technician test. Two main organizations administer such a testing service. These are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). Which test a pharmacy technician needs to take depends on the rules of his state’s pharmacy board. In many cases, applicants for a license can take either national pharmacy technician certification test. At any rate, future techs can find out how to prepare for and take either exam and then decide which one they need to take.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Board
This is possibly the most popular organization that gives a national pharmacy technician exam. The test offered by PTCB is very widely accepted by pharmacy boards that require certification or provide certification as one option for getting licensed or registered as a state pharmacy technician.
What basically happens is that you study and take a PTCB test. The value of this test is that it is essentially the only major requirement to getting national pharmacy technician certification through PTCB. Thus, you can get certified by passing the test if your state board requires certification, and there is no classroom or even online training requirement to take the PTCB test.
If you want to take the PTCB pharmacy tech exam, it will cost you $129, as of December 2010. You may register online by filling out a form and then checking your email for an Authorization to Test letter. Make sure you use a good email address that is not going to bounce on you. Do not register until you have already studied, though. There is no rush to register because you can take the test on an ongoing basis within days of registering. It is not like an SAT or other major tests that are usually given only a few times a year.
Studying for the PTCB pharmacy technician test may involve substantial reading. For starters, the organization tells you exactly which books are used to create the exam. You can find this bibliography list online.
In addition to that list, you can also access more study guides and books by going to the main page and clicking on “Exam Resources.”
Finally, you can also go to the “Exam Preparation” page and click on the content outline links. Use those outlines as a roadmap to help you study for the pharmacy tech certification test.
Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians
This appears to be the second most popular source for a pharmacy technician test. An increasing number of states accept the ICPT ExCPT exam and certification as at least one way of qualifying as a licensed pharmacy technician.
This exam is a bit cheaper, as it costs $105, as of 2010. Just like PTCB, this organization also provides certification to those who pass the ExCPT exam. If you want to take this exam, then you should call PSI, the exams adminstrator, at 800-211-2754.
As far as preparation for the ICPT pharmacy tecnician exam goes, the organization states that the “National Pharmacy Technician Training Program,” which is available as a study guide here, contains many of the topics on the exam. It is not clear whether you should rely solely on this study guide, but ICPT clearly recommends it as at least one source of study for the exam.
In addition to that training program, ICPT also has a number of other resources listed in the official Candidate Guide for the pharmacy tech certification exam.
Regardless of which organization you choose, you will receive national certification by passing one of these pharmacy technician tests. Whether this is required by your state pharmacy board or not, it could go a long way towards advancing your career as a professional pharmacy technician.
PTCB Exam Preparation
ICPT Exam and Certification FAQ