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How to Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

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Certified pharmacy technicians provide a valuable service to the community. Their main responsibility is to assist the certified pharmacist with medication management such as receipt, reconciliation, preparation, inventory and destruction. Before taking the test to earn your certification, you should obtain proper instruction and some hands-on training working in a pharmacy. The national Pharmacy Technician Certification Board ultimately will bestow your certification, assuming you pass its test.

Register with your state board of pharmacy. Most states require that you register with the Board of Pharmacy before working in a pharmacy as a trainee or pharmacy technician.

Scout formal pharmacy technician training programs. Many community colleges offer a formal education and hands-on training to prepare you for a career as a pharmacy technician. Your State Board of Pharmacy may not require you have a formal education as many feel on-the-job training will suffice. However, if you choose this career, give a formal education strong consideration.

Choose the right institution. Formal training is most beneficial to you when it comes from an institution recognized by an accrediting board such as the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. As you look at schools, ask if they offer an Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education approved College of Pharmacy program. If you are going to pay for an education, get one that will benefit you.

Get hands-on-training. Once registered with the board of pharmacy and employed by a pharmacy, you will receive on-the-job training from the pharmacists. However, if you choose to get a formal education and then become certified, choose a program that provides externship. No matter how many books you read, experience is the best possible learning tool.

Register on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board website to take the exam and start studying. The PTCB offers a sample test on its website. Once you have completed the training and studied, take the test to become a certified pharmacy technician.


Certification lasts for two years. You must undergo 20 hours of training to be recertified.

You can retake the exam up to three times.


Your certification can be revoked if you are convicted of a felony or demonstrate a lack of understanding about pharmaceutical practices, among other reasons.

You have 90 days after your application is approved to take the test.

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