CE requirements for pharmacy technicians vary by state. In states where certification or registration are required, pharmacy technicians can earn CE credits through colleges, professional pharmacy associations or certification agencies. CE hours may be undertaken in a technician's place of employment, but they should be focused on learning new technologies and practices. Continuing education courses are often available online.
|Required Education||High school diploma and on-the-job training; 1- and 2-year certificates are available|
|Required Experience||Registration is required by most states; some also require certification|
|Exam Requirements||20 hours of pharmacy-related continuing education|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||20% (for all pharmacy technicians)*|
|Average Salary (2013)||$30,840 (for all pharmacy technicians)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Registration and Certification
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require pharmacy technicians to register with the state board of pharmacy, but many do not require pharmacy technicians to be certified (www.bls.gov). Voluntary certification is available through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), a private organization that offers national certification examinations. Because registration and certification requirements vary from state to state, technicians should check with their state's board of pharmacy for more details.
For example, Colorado does not require registration or certification to work as a pharmacy technician. California, however, requires registration but does not have certification or continuing education requirements for registration or renewal. Pharmacy technicians in Virginia seeking registration need to either already be PTCB-certified or must pass an exam approved by the state board of pharmacy. Registered pharmacy technicians in Virginia need to complete five hours of continuing education per year for registration renewal.
Continuing Education Requirements for Recertification
The PTCB requires certified technicians to recertify every two years. In order to recertify, pharmacy technicians must complete at least 20 hours of pharmacy-related continuing education (www.ptcb.org). Up to ten hours can be earned at a technician's place of employment under a pharmacist's supervision, but these hours shouldn't be earned by performing regular duties. Instead, technicians are encouraged to complete tasks that facilitate professional growth, like training on pharmacy software. At least one contact hour must be spent studying pharmacy law.
Continuing Education Providers
CE courses are offered online for free by the PTCB. Technicians may also take one college-level life science or math course per 2-year certification cycle, which counts for 15 hours. Another option is to take a continuing education course through a professional pharmacy association. Below is a list of online CE providers provided by the PTCB website:
- American Pharmacists Association (www.pharmacist.com)
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (www.ashp.org)
- National Pharmacy Technician Association (www.pharmacytechnician.org)
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment of pharmacy technicians was predicted to increase 20% from 2012-2022, according to the BLS. This rapid increase is likely due to pharmaceutical advances, as well as a growing elderly population using more prescription medications. In May 2013, the BLS reported an average annual salary of pharmacy technicians of $30,840.