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Pharmacy Technician Certification Resources

The Collaborative Education Institute (CEI)

The Collaborative Education Institute (CEI) is offering a pharmacy technician training series to prepare technicians for the national certification exam.  This online series can be purchased as a full series (5 programs) or individually, depending on which of the 5 modules are needed.   Click here for details and registration information.

Technician Tidbits e-Newsletter

IPA sends electronic Technician Tidbits newsletters to pharmacy technician members approximately twice per month.  Technician Tidbits are concise, easy to read, ‘tidbits’ of information that may appear on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.  Other important information for pharmacy technicians will be included as well.

To access previous issues of the Technician Tidbits newsletter, click here.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Pharmacy Technician Certification

Note: These are brief answers to the most frequently asked questions. For more detailed information on the PTCB exam, please click here

Q: Do all Iowa pharmacy technicians need to be certified?
Clarification regarding technician certification timeline in Iowa

Q: What is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)?
A: PTCB was established in January 1995, by the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the Illinois Council of Hospital Pharmacists (ICHP), and the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) to create one consolidated voluntary national certification program for pharmacy technicians. PTCB is a national certification program that enables pharmacy techs to work more effectively with pharmacists to offer safe and effective patient care and service. PTCB develops and implements policies related to national certification for pharmacy technicians.  PTCB administers a nationally accredited certification examination for pharmacy technicians which tests knowledge in all practice settings.

Q: What are the eligibility requirements to take the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination?
A: To be eligible to take the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination, the candidate must have a high school diploma or GED or foreign diploma, have never been convicted of a felony, have no denial, suspension, revocation, or restriction of registration or licensure, consent order or other restriction by any State Board of Pharmacy, have no admission of misconduct or violation of regulations of any State Board of Pharmacy and must disclose any drug or pharmacy related convictions, including misdemeanors to PTCB.

Q: What is the cost for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination?
A: The application fee is $129. This fee covers the costs of the development and administration of the examination and the ongoing operation of the certification program.

Q: How do I apply for the exam?
A: Information about the exam can be found on the PTCB
website. A direct link to the application for the exam can be found here.

Q: When and where is the examination administered?
A: The exam is offered continuously throughout the year. Applications are accepted every day, 24 hours a day, and approved exam candidates are given ninety (90) days of eligibility in which they must schedule an appointment for and take the exam. The PTCE is taken at Pearson VUE Professional Centers located all over the
United States. For a list of these sites click here.

Q: What is the content of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination?
A: 90 multiple choice questions consisting of assisting the pharmacist in serving patients (66%), maintaining medication and inventory control systems (22%), and participating in the administration and management of pharmacy practice (12%). Candidates have two hours to complete the exam.

Q: Where can I find resources for exam preparation?
A: The Iowa Pharmacy Association has created a recommendation list of preparation materials including online programming and print material. This “certification study material options” can be found

Q: What is the recognition of certification?
A: Individuals who meet all eligibility requirements and who successfully pass the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination may use the initials "CPhT" after their names. A certificate and wallet card will be sent to newly certified pharmacy technicians approximately six to eight weeks after the examination. Certification is valid for two years, at which point the CPhT must meet the recertification requirements.

Q: What are the recertification requirements?
A: Renewal of certification is required every two years. A total of 20 contact hours of continuing education in pharmacy-related topics are required within the two-year period. At least 1.0 contact hour shall be in the area of pharmacy law. The re-certification fee is $40 if done online, and $65 if a paper application is submitted.

Q: Where can I obtain continuing education?
A: The Collaborative Education Institute & Iowa Pharmacy Association offer
educational programming throughout the year, as well as on-line continuing education programs. In addition, local pharmacy organizations throughout Iowa and other educational bodies offer continuing education for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Q: What is the PTCB Universal Continuing Education Form?
A: Up to 10 contact hours required for re-certification may be carried out in the practice site under the supervision of the pharmacist(s) for whom the certified pharmacy technician works. However, these credits may not be earned by working ten hours at your regular duties. The pharmacy technician may participate in continuing education (such as in-service training) that the supervising pharmacist deems to be appropriate for the needs of the individual technician.

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