Pharmacy Technician Future 2020
We are covering discounts, PTCB Proposed Changes (CREST), and how to make the most out of our role as a pharmacy technician.
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Pennsylvania will likely have new law pass in 2012 to begin pharmacy technician registration
There are 23 states left that do not require training or PTCB to become registered or licensed in the state (you can see you state specifics on the State Info page). Four of these states do recognize national certification and increase the pharmacist to tech ratio for these techs. This leaves 19 states that have no PTCB or formal education requirement. Six states do nothing at all (ie, no registration, licensing, approval).
It appears that Pennsylvania state Representative Anthony DeLuca will most likely get the state pharmacy practice act amended to require formal training from a state board approved program and national certification. The Bill is House Bill 320. If passed, the bill allows for a 2-year grace period to let current pharmacy technicians obtain their national certification and show that they have worked at least 2000 hours in the last 3 years (prior to the bill becoming a law). The bill also creates a “pharmacy technician trainee” registration that can be issued to people enrolled in an approved pharmacy technician program. This trainee registration will only be good for a year and may only be issued once (there is a one-time 6-month extension available).
What this means for you: If you live in Pennsylvania, you will most likely not be able to get 2000 hours in prior to the bill being enacted, so go find a pharmacy technician program in your state and ask them if they know about the bill. Most programs in the state will probably get the approval from the board of pharmacy. You could also start working on your national PTCB certification, since you will need it anyway. This will overtime reduce the supply of technicians in your state, and will likely result in increased pay. For those in other states, well if you are one of the 18 states left, your time is probably short to have little to no requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician. I would get in now, get your national certification, and get your hours in so you can be grandfathered in when your time comes. For most of us, we are already there.
So, what states are left with no registration: Colorado, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The states with no training or national certification requirements but do register their technicians: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia*, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota*, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina*, Ohio (“approves” technicians and requires an exam), Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee*, and Vermont.
(*If a tech is nationally certified, the pharmacist to tech ratio is increased)
Pharmacy Technician Certification Help Coming Soon
There are a couple of things going on with Pharmacy Technician HQ. First, I have begun the creation of a PTCB national pharmacy technician study guide that will be more than the hard copy guide you can buy and read. Working with pharmacy technicians, it is clear that a guide needs to be able to teach you in multiple ways. Not everyone learns by reading alone. Some people like to hear it or visualize the concepts. Interactive learning also seems to keep someones attention more. In addition, a simple book does not utilize the technology of iPads, laptops, or the internet. The goal with our guide will be to give you an electronic training solution that can be read as a standalone document, but will have links to audio, video, and quizzes. We should be done by the end of the year. For a few select readers of Pharmacy Technician HQ, we will offer free versions to test out. If you want to get on this list, please email me and let me know.
Next, a fellow friend, colleague, and pharmacy director has joined Pharmacy Technician HQ. I would like to introduce Dallas. He has been a director for about eight years and is as passionate about taking care of our pharmacy technicians as I am. When I helped develop the pharmacy technician career ladder for our company, he was one of the first pharmacy directors to really embrace it and advance his pharmacy technicians through the career ladder, which resulted in higher functioning technicians with more pay (and hopefully more job satisfaction). We’ll have him add a picture and bio to the about page so you can learn more from Dallas. Our first endeavor is to finish the interactive electronic PTCB guide and then we will go from there.
Something I shared with one of my staff. Sometimes it can be hard to stay motivated and focused at work. When you get comfortable, it is often easy to let up and slow down. It happens slowly over time and from a manager’s perspective, a once hard working staff member has become less productive and not engaged at work. The thing to think about . . . Your pharmacy is paying for your time. If you are a traditional 40 hour per week employee working 8 hour days, then your employer is basically “renting” your time for eight hours a day. They are often paying you an acceptable sum of dollars for those eight hours, of which you deemed acceptable by taking the job. When your day gets tough and you don’t feel like working, remember that it is not your time, but your employer’s time they rented from you. Make good on it and you will be rewarded. Misuse that time and a good employer will hold you accountable.
Finally, I want to thank everyone who has left comments on the site and who have asked very good questions. I can tell our community is growing and I am very excited about that. We endeavor to provide the best information anywhere from experts who really know the ins and outs of pharmacy practice. Based on many of the comments, we are hitting that goal. Thank you again. -Rob
I frequently answer pharmacy technician related questions on various question and answer sites. The one thing that frequently comes up is “should I do it,” typically regarding pharmacy technician training or pharmacy technician certification. Well, the answer is yes. Whatever it is, do your research (thorough, but quick) and make a decision. There is something that I have run across during my training and experience, and it is “Analysis Paralysis.” We are afraid of making the wrong decision, so we make no decision. Can I just say that no decision is often the wrong decision.
I should clarify, making a decision doesn’t necessarily mean taking the first pharmacy technician school you come across and forking over your hard earned (or not even earned yet) money. If your state requires formal training or you have decided to go after formal training to set your self up for success, then take a look at as many options as you can around you. From this website, you can check out your state’s requirements and some of the schools in your state, hopefully you have already done this, if not then go there now. In addition to the schools I have listed, also check out your local community colleges. Take action by calling and visiting the schools. Talk to current students. Call a pharmacy and ask which program has the best trained techs. Do your research and then yes, make a decision and go for it.
This goes for national certification as well. Whether you are completing a formal training program or not, get a study guide and actually read it. From experience, the test is hard, but not too bad if you read the study guide. For a list of good study guides, you can see my recommendations on the certification page. Pick up one of the guides I recommend or pay a little more for the one at PTCB.org. In this case, I recommend all techs obtain national certification. So, get a book (unless you are in a formal training program and they have focused on passing the exam as part of your curriculum) and read it, study it, own the information. I strongly consider paying for the practice exam at PTCB so you can see first hand how the questions are (plus, they are very close to the actual questions you’ll get).
Okay, I hope you get the message . . . no analysis paralysis. Make a decision and go for it!
Best of luck all, -Rob
A Pharmacy Manager’s Take on Pharmacy Technician Certification
There is more specific information about obtaining national certification at the national certification page, but I want to talk about why you should do it in a little more detail.
If you are in a state that requires national certification, then you have to do it. If you are not, then you have a choice. I recommend you choose to get it. It will set you apart from those that do not, and you never know if you will move to a different state that does require it. As a pharmacy manager, it lets me know that you have met a minimum level of knowledge because you passed an exam that tests you to this base level of knowledge.
What else? It just sounds good! Nationally certified!!! I am right, aren’t I? I mean, that sounds better than, I am a registered technician in South Dakota (nothing against folks in South Dakota). You get to use CPhT after your name as a designation that you are certified. This adds a level of legitimacy. My opinion, but hey, I am just a guy who hires a lot of technicians for my job, what do I know. For links to the PTCB and ExCPT websites, and my recommended study guides, go to the Certification Page.
In the end, just do it. It isn’t massively expensive or time consuming.