What is PTCB Certification?

Compared to many other medical professions, it’s easy to get started as a pharmacy technician. In general, you can start a pharmacy tech position with a high school diploma and then receive on-the-job training with your employer. You may or may not need to obtain certification, yet certification could benefit you in this field. One of the main certifications for pharmacy technicians to pursue is PTCB certification.

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Why Get PTCB Certification?

If certification is not always necessary to get started as a pharmacy technician, why should you consider it? Some employers and states require you to have certification to work as a pharmacy technician. Even if it’s not required, though, certification may help you stand out when you’re looking for a job and could potentially give you a higher salary and advancement opportunities.

About PTCB Certification

PTCB certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board helps people gain a credential to get started or advance as a pharmacy technician. As of 2019, this certification only requires passing an exam on top of meeting eligibility requirements. This is changing in 2020, as you will then need to complete a training program recognized by PTCB, unless you can show the equivalent in work experience, and also pass the exam.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) shows you have the knowledge that will allow you to practice competently as a pharmacy technician. You take the exam on a computer at a Pearson VUE test center. These are conveniently located across the country, so you should be able to find one in your area. The 90-question, multiple-choice exam goes on for one hour and 50 minutes, and then you participate in a tutorial and post-exam survey for 10 minutes.

You can use the Pearson VUE tutorial and official practice tools to prepare for taking the exam.

The exam content is changing as of 2020 to reflect a new Job Analysis study. The new PTCE exam will include updated information and remove content that will be covered in a pharmacy technician training program.

PTCB Certification Eligibility and Application Requirements

Before going for certification, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. You need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, or be acquiring one within 60 days. (In 2020, you will need pharmacy tech training.)

You need to fully disclose any criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions. And you need to follow PTCB certification policies. A problem with these could result in disqualification from the exam and certification.

When you take the PTCE, you need to achieve a passing score to earn certification. 

To take the exam, apply online and schedule your appointment. You will need to pay $129 to apply and take the exam.

Alternative Certification

PTCB is one option for getting certified as a pharmacy technician. You also have the choice of a different pharmacy tech certification, which is Pharmacy Technician Certification (CPhT) through the National Healthcareer Association. To achieve this certification, you need a high school degree or equivalent and to complete a pharmacy technician training program or have one year of qualifying work experience. You also need to pass the ExCPT exam, which is currently $117.

Getting certified as a pharmacy technician may be a smart move for your career. It expands your opportunities, as some states and employers require it. It may also help you get a pharmacy technician job over someone without the certification and could help you with career advancement. Some employers will help you get certification, so you could check in advance. By gaining certification, you can ensure you have as many opportunities as possible available to you, helping you move forward within a rewarding career.