When considering a career in pharmacy, students and pharmacists must decide which tests to take before beginning their education at an accredited school. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers accredited courses and examinations that pharmacists can use to fulfill their state-mandated continuing education requirements for pharmacy technicians. States that do not require licensing will also offer these courses and exams for their pharmacy technicians.
In order to become certified as a pharmacy technician, students must successfully complete both the PTCB and the State Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. The PTCB exam is only accepted by states that have active reciprocity agreements with the PTCB. In addition to the PTCB certification exam, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians must complete coursework at a community college or technical/vocational school that has been approved by the PTCB. Students will need to successfully complete a PTCB course in order to be eligible for a State Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, and to practice on the job after becoming a PTCB certified.
Once a pharmacy technician has completed their PTCB coursework, they are required to take an examination administered by the PTCB to become certified by the states. Taking the examination and passing it will qualify for the pharmacy technician to sit for the State Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and earn their PTCB certification. Although it is not a career choice for most, becoming a pharmacy technician is a great career choice for those who enjoy helping people take their medications and have rewarding positions helping them.
How are the tests given? There are two ways to study for the PTCB tests: On the campus of an accredited university or community college, or online. Many pharmacists choose to learn on the campus because it provides a more personal interaction with students and their instructors. Some students prefer online learning because it is less expensive and allows them to learn at their own pace. The main thing to remember about any examination is that it is designed to test your knowledge, not your ability to memorize information. So, once you have been approved to take the test, study as much as you can and you should do very well.
Can I take this test more than once? The only way to get additional credit is to take it again and take a different set of questions. This is true whether you are renewing your license or starting your career as a pharmacy technician. It is also true that the questions and scenarios on the test can be transferred to other examinations in the future.
Can I take these tests at the local pharmacy? Although some local pharmacies are now administering the PTCB tests, this is not a good way to gain a competitive advantage over other students. Most students find the local pharmacist to be very easy to talk to about local pharmacists and to gain a good impression, the student takes a few of the local pharmacists’ test. This is probably not the best way to gain an edge over other pharmacy technicians.
Can I skip taking one of these tests? You can choose to take an examination to become a pharmacy technician without taking a PTCB. However, pharmacy techs who want to advance to level II or III will need to take the PTCB. There are a couple of reasons why this might be the best route. Skipping tests will give you time to get some practice before taking the real thing.
What other resources are there for pharmacy students? There are a variety of online resources to help you prepare for the tests to take when you are studying pharmacy. Some of them can be very helpful, but others just offer suggestions or general information. You should consider looking at a guide that includes sample questions from each examination type, so you have a good idea of what to expect. You can also find out information about local schools and community colleges that offer courses in preparation for the PTCB.