Thinking of Becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician

In the past, the majority of online apotheek technicians were trained on the job after being hired. The problem with this is that on the job training by its very nature is very employer specific and usually limited to the tasks that employer would like you to perform. In most cases, it does not provide the necessary training or background regarding pharmacy practice. Formal education requirements, competency exams and registration with a State Board of Pharmacy is now slowly taking over on the job training. Many states in the USA already have certification requirements to even be eligible for a technician job. It’s only a matter of time until more and more states adopt legislation requiring all pharmacy technicians to receive formal training and to become certified.

Certification Exam

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is an exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and is taken upon completion of the pharmacy technician training course. The exam is officially recognized by over 25 individual State Boards of Pharmacy. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and needs to be completed in a 2 hour window. There are three areas of measured competence:

  • Assisting the pharmacist in serving patients – This is the most comprehensive portion of the exam. In includes material on dispensing prescriptions, distributing medications and collecting/organizing information. You also will need to scan prescriptions for accuracy and validity, perform certain counting tasks and performing certain pharmaceutical calculations. This section of the exam consists of 66% of the total exam material.
  • Maintaining medication and inventory control systems – This section will test you on knowledge of placing and receiving drug orders, storing drugs correctly and other inventory related questions. This section of the exam consists of 22% of the total exam material.
  • Knowledge of pharmacy operations – This section will test your knowledge on general pharmacy operations including various workflow based questions, maintaining pharmacy establishments, various legal questions and questions on dispensing and computer management systems. This section consists of 12% of the total exam material.

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