A career as a Pharmacy Technician can be extremely rewarding. Working under the direct supervision of a Pharmacist, the technician is a valuable and indispensable part of the health care system. With duties ranging from filling prescriptions to customer service, the need for trained and skilled employees is a growing necessity. Technicians will assist Pharmacists with the safeguard of prescriptions and personal information along with filling prescriptions.
To become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) in Washington DC, a candidate must first demonstrate they are of good moral character and complete required qualifications, which includes a training course, certification exam and maintaining registration. The candidate must be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma, general education diploma (GED), or foreign/equivalent diploma. Completion of a pharmacy technician course is necessary. Classes can be found at a community college, some technical schools or through the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists website.
Upon completion of formal training, candidates will need to apply online for certification testing through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). PTCB will verify your age, high school or equivalent diploma and require a criminal background check, regardless to whether one was completed with your training course or not. Requests for disclosure of any criminal charges, state board registration or licensing actions disclosure will be required. Applicants can be disqualified for criminal conduct, actions taken by state board registration or licensing and violation of PTCB’s code of conduct and/or certification policy. Further, once certified, Pharmacy Technicians must report any felony convictions, drug or pharmacy related violations and actions taken by state registration or licensing agencies. Review for disqualification is on a case by case basis.
The certification exam through PTCB consists of 90 questions; 80 questions are scored and 10 questions are randomly placed throughout the exam, are unidentified and are not scored. Completion of the exam takes 2 hours with 1 hour and 50 minutes for the 90 questions and 10 minutes for a tutorial and post exam survey. Test results are mailed within one to three weeks. Passing results will include a certificate. Failed results are eligible for retesting 60 days after the initial exam. A second failure will allow another chance 60 days after the second attempt. A third failure will allow one additional retest 6 months after the third attempt. Any attempts thereafter will have to be requested in writing and are of the discretion of the Board.
Certification must be renewed every 2 years. It is important for CPhTs to take continue education courses to maintain competency, stay abreast of new legislation and to improve skills. To renew certification, a technician must complete 20 continued education units every two years. Documentation of the continued education will be required when applying for certification renewal.
There are no licensing requirements to work in Washington DC. Completion of proper training and maintaining certification is required. PTCB is recognized by all 50 and The District of Columbia although license requirements, if applicable, will vary from state to state.
The day to day activities of a Pharmacy Technician can fluctuate depending on the needs of the pharmacy or industry. Generally, a CPhT can expect to receive prescriptions, count tablets, label bottles, maintain patient profiles, assist with insurance claims, taking inventory and ordering and stocking supplies. In addition, excellent customer service skills are necessary for answering the phones and handling customers.
Pharmacy Technicians can enjoy employment in a variety of industries such as a hospital, home health care, mail order pharmacy, retail pharmacy, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living homes, drug manufacturers, software companies, drug wholesalers, and pharmacy technician instructors. Salaries can vary depending on the industry and position. The minimum salary is $28,466 and maximum salary is $41,710 annually. The average salary is $34,862 annually in Washington DC.
Working as a Pharmacy Technician is a gratifying career. It is important for technicians to stay abreast of federal and local legislation. Proper training and continued education is the key to being successful, maintaining competency and improving skills. For individuals who enjoy working in the health care field and providing customer service, CPhT offers an excellent opportunity with growth potential in other pharmaceutical fields.