Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Career and Certification

Becoming a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) shows you have the knowledge to help serve customers with prescription medication needs. Learn more about certification requirements, job duties and career outlook. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Pharmacy technicians perform clerical and inventory duties in pharmacies, hospitals and other stores. A few states require certification before you can be employed in this rapidly growing field. Certification programs generally require didactic courses and an internship.

Responsibilities Customer service, inventory and clerical tasks
Certification Available through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians
Average Salary (2014) $31,090

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Tasks Do Certified Pharmacy Technicians Perform?

As a certified pharmacy technician, you assist licensed pharmacists with managing prescription inventories, labeling prescription bottles, identifying medicines and calculating dosage. You also provide administrative assistance in the form of accepting new prescription orders, answering phones, contacting physicians and maintaining files.

Is Certification Required to Work in the Field?

There is no universal certification requirement for pharmacy technicians. Most states require that you have a high school diploma, or the equivalent of one, and a clean criminal record. However, 16 states require you to be certified (www.ptcb.org). You can acquire certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT). To become certified, in addition to having a high school diploma and clean criminal record, you need to pass an exam.

You may need to renew your certification every two years. To do so, you will need to attend approximately 20 hours of continuing education courses.

How Can I Complete a Training Program?

Both online and on-campus pharmacy technician training programs are available. These programs contain the same curriculum regardless of format. They consist of lectures covering topics such as pharmacology, prescription writing, drug names and inventory control. Upon completion of the lecture portion, you complete between 60-80 hours of an internship at a local pharmacy. Many programs are approved by state pharmacy boards and prepare you for certification exams.

What Are My Career Prospects?

According to a 2012 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than half of all pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies (www.bls.gov). Also according to the BLS, employment opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to grow 20% during the 2012-2022 decade. As of 2014, there were about 368,760 technicians in the nation. These technicians earned an average of $31,090 per year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • George Mason University

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  • Widener University

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  • Fortis College

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    • Maryland: Hyattsville, Towson
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