CAREER GUIDE FOR PHARMACIST Technician In Texas
A pharmacy technician works under the guidance of a pharmacist and performs several administrative and clerical tasks, such as refilling prescriptions, responding to patient inquiries and acting as a liaison between doctors and the pharmacy.
The path to becoming a pharmacy technician in the United States does not require any formal education, though pharmacy technicians are required to successfully pass a certification exam offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and have active registration status with the board of pharmacy in the state they are practicing, which is also needed for training. It is highly recommended that you check the requirements of the board of the state you’re applying in since each state may have different procedures and guidelines. The following guide provides a brief overview on the steps for becoming a registered pharmacy technician in Texas.
Decide if You Want to Complete a Board-Approved Pharmacy Technician Program
As stated above, there is no formal requirement for education to become a pharmacy technician; however, the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) encourages aspiring pharmacy technicians to obtain education through local community colleges or vocational schools. These programs differ significantly in terms of length and price. For a list of programs approved by the TSBP and accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), visit https://accred.ashp.org/aps/pages/directory/technicianProgramDirectory.aspx.
Note that the Houston Community College (HCC) offers a pharmacy technician program at its Centers for Excellence. The program requires that students hold a high school or GED degree and takes two semesters. This year, the program cost was $2,764.00, which is subject to change. For more information, visit HCC’s website, http://www.hccs.edu/programs/programs-a-z/pharmacy-technician/. Students receive a certificate upon completion of the program.
Obtain Initial Registration from the TSBP
Registration from the TSBP is required to complete a training program in a clinic, whether as a requirement for a pharmacy technician program, or in general, as well as to become a pharmacy technician (see below for more information).
According to the TSBP, a pharmacy technician trainee is someone who has obtained registration status from the board and is completing training in a pharmacy’s training program. Registration from the TSBP is valid for two years, during which trainees must register for and pass the PTCB Exam (see below), before their registration expires. Upon completing the PTCB exam, trainees can then request a modification to their registration status, from trainee to pharmacy technician through the TSBP. Note that trainee registration cannot be renewed.
Initial registration for a pharmacy technician trainee can be completed online. Here are the steps:
- Register for an account online at: https://vo.licensing.hpc.texas.gov/datamart/login.do. Be sure that your address on file is up-to-date and accurate; this is where the TSBP will mail all your information.
- Select the option of applying for a new license and “Initial Technician Trainee.”
- Pay the application fee of via credit card.
- Complete a fingerprinting session. In Texas, applicants may use the following website: https://uenroll.identogo.com/workflows/11G3HG.
- Registration is typically completed within 2 to 3 weeks. You cannot practice as a pharmacy technician trainee until you receive your active registration status.
Initial registration to become a pharmacy technician without completing a training program can also be completed online. The steps are the same as those for a pharmacy technician trainee, except that you must have valid certification and pass the PTCB Exam (see below).
- To apply for initial registration, visit https://vo.licensing.hpc.texas.gov/datamart/login.do
- Select “Initial Registration,” and complete the steps above (pay application fee, complete fingerprinting session).
- Provide your PTCB certification number and expiration date in the online application.
Apply for Certification and Take the PTCB Exam
Applying for certification is completed through the PTCB. To be eligible for certification, applicants must hold a high school or GED degree, abide by the policies of the PTCB, provide any information regarding criminal background or disciplinary actions, and pass the PTCB examination. For more information, visit http://www.ptcb.org/get-certified/apply#.WQOJ1VMrLVo.
You can apply for certification and the exam online at https://portal.ptcb.org/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fProfile%2fDefault.aspx. You are required to pay a fee of $129.00. Once you are deemed eligible to take the exam, you will be able to schedule a time at Pearson VUE, http://www.pearsonvue.com/ptcb/. Your authorization to schedule an examination will be sent by e-mail and will remain valid for 90 days during which you must take the exam. If you’re unable to take the exam during this period, you may be required to pay a fee.
The duration of the examination is two hours and it contains 90 multiple-choice questions, 10 of which are not scored. The exam content includes questions about laws and regulations, medication safety, calculations, billing, inventory management and other topics. For more information, refer to PTCB’s exam blueprint, http://www.ptcb.org/docs/default-source/get-certified/new_ptce_blueprint.pdf?sfvrsn=15.
An official practice exam is offered by PTCB through Pearson VUE, http://www.pearsonvue.com/ptcb/practicetests/ for a fee of $29.00. You must purchase this through the Pearson VUE website.
If you do not pass the examination, you can wait 60 days to retake it. After the third attempt, you must wait 6 months before retaking the exam. If you do not pass the exam after four attempts, you are required to complete specific preparatory activities. For more information, visit http://www.ptcb.org/get-certified/exam/scoring#.WQOO4lMrLVo.
Upon completion of the exam, test takers receive an unofficial score at the testing location and an official score on their online accounts two to three weeks later.
Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician and Apply for Active Registration
You will receive your certificate by mail four to six weeks after passing the exam and you will now have a “CPhT,” which stands for certification. The certificate is required to apply for active registration through the TSBP. Note that you cannot practice until you receive an active registration in the mail.
As a pharmacy technician trainee, you can change your status from a technician trainee to a technician through your online account once you pass the exam and become certified, https://vo.licensing.hpc.texas.gov/datamart/login.do;jsessionid=XEt3dyvHvFGP5iQQnY5gyiMs.i-798b01e7. Select “upgrade to technician” in the menu and submit your certificate information. You may be required to submit an additional fee and to complete a fingerprinting session if it has been more than three years since your last one.
Typically, active registration for both pharmacy technician trainees and non-trainees is received in 10–17 days after submission of your application. To verify the status of your registration, visit http://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/dbsearch/tech_search.asp.
Once you receive active registration, you can start practicing as a pharmacy technician in the State of Texas. Note that you will have to renew your registration every two years and you will be required to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to be able to renew this registration. For more information on CE course requirements, see below.
Continuing Education (CE) Credits
Pharmacy technicians are not required to complete CE credits during initial registration; however, when renewing their active registration, they must complete 20 CE hours in pharmacy-related subjects. CE courses must be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). For programs accredited by the ACPE, visit https://www.acpe-accredit.org/accredited-providers-by-state/. TSBP also offers ACPE accredited CE courses. For more information, visit http://www.pharmacy.texas.gov/ce_program.asp.