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Whether you are currently studying to become a pharmacytechnician or you have worked in the industry for a while,obtaining a pharmacy technician certification could be the key to afulfilling career.

“The pharmacy technician field is growing. The Bureau of LaborStatistics cites a 30 percent growth rate over the next 10 yearsfor pharmacy technician positions,” says Alaric Barber, master ofbusiness administration, certified pharmacy technician and pharmacycurriculum manager for Everest Colleges, Institutes andUniversities. “There will definitely be a demand for certifiedpharmacy technicians with opportunities moving beyond the usualretail and hospital pharmacies. Pharmacy technicians with acertification can also go into rehabilitation and long term carefacilities – even as instructors – and work in compoundingpharmacies.”

The most common reasons for becoming a certified pharmacytechnician are for improved job opportunities, advancement,enhanced education and a well-earned respect in the industry.

What is a pharmacy technician?

The definition of a pharmacy technician varies from state tostate. However the most common use of the position is an individualworking under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist who assistsin various activities. Those duties include preparing prescriptionmedications, providing customer service, taking prescriptionrequests, counting tablets, labeling bottles and performingadministrative duties within a pharmacy setting.

How do I become a pharmacy technician?

Education and training are key. Currently, there is no nationalstandardized training for pharmacy technicians. However, there area number of pharmacy technician schools and training programs availablenationwide. Most of the schools and programs are bothprogrammatically and educationally accredited and range from sixmonths to two years.

How do I get certified as a pharmacy technician?

Either a State Board of Pharmacy or the national PharmacyTechnician Certification Board (PTCB) currently awards competencyfor pharmacy technician certification. Requirements vary in eachstate. Candidates should know that even with certification, manystates might require additional licensing.

How do I prepare for the pharmacy technician certificationexam?

The best way to prepare for the pharmacy techniciancertification exam is through completion of an accredited program.For existing pharmacy technicians, a PTCB refresher course is alsoavailable, as well as a number of books that can help participantsprepare for the test.

“Most candidates are worried about their mathematics,” saysBarber. “It’s really just basic math – addition, subtraction,multiplication, division, percentage and basic algebraic formulas.Some people have a fear of mathematics, even balancing theircheckbooks. There’s no reason. If a candidate is still concernedabout passing the math portion, there are many tutoring servicesavailable.”

One of the other major concerns candidates have when preparingfor these certification tests, according to Barber, is rememberingall the drug names. He suggests the following tips in preparationfor any state or PTCB certification exam:

* Brush up on basic mathematics functions.

* Study the pharmaceutical drug names – both brand andgenerics.

* Take a refresher course.

* Find and review books and published study guides.

* Take a practice exam.

* Get plenty of rest and nourishment right before the test.

Upon graduation, certification as a certified pharmacytechnician (CPhT) is granted through the Pharmacy TechnicianCertification Board. PTCB is the only nationally recognizedcertification body. Certification is valid for two years andrequires 20 contact hours of pharmacy-related continuingeducation.