IBMC Articles

How To Become a Certified Pharmacy Technician

The pharmaceutical industry offers endless career opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians but often there is some confusion regarding how to start this journey.

First, you must have an interest in the medical field. Why wouldn’t you? It’s the fastest-growing career field and it’s constantly evolving.  If this is enticing to you, pursuing a career in the Pharmacy will not disappoint.

It starts with getting your high school diploma or GED, then you can focus on researching and enrolling the program that’s right for you.

There are two paths to becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician. The most sought-after path forward should include an educational/training program recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Finding a program backed by the PTCB is crucial as you’re starting your training. This organization’s recognition confirms that you’ll be taught the skills necessary to succeed in the field and places you at the top of the hiring pool and can enhance your earning potential.

How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?

Your training may take anywhere from one to two years. The length will depend on several factors. For instance, the diploma program might only last a year or less, while an associates degree program will typically take longer to complete. IBMC College offers both a diploma and a degree program.

The second step in your training to becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician is to work in a Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Technician for a minimum of 500 hours prior to applying for your certification exam.  Both pathways require that you study for and pass a certification exam.

Obtaining your PTCB Certification sets you above the competition, it highlights your skills as a Pharmacy Technician and demonstrates that you are dedicated to providing quality patient care. The PTCB is a nationally recognized credentialing organization which means that you can work anywhere in the US after achieving your certification.

Talk about career stability!

Thinking about skipping schooling entirely and starting your career by working in a pharmacy?

While this is an option to obtaining your PTCB Certification, it does not set you apart from others in the field the way obtaining a diploma or degree will.

This route requires that you self-teach, prepare, and study on your own and in your own, time prior to taking the exam. The PTCB Exam is an in-depth 90 question exam that covers several topics that pharmacy technicians must have a thorough understanding and knowledge of prior to attempting the exam.

Topics that are included on the exam include the following:

  • Sterile and non-sterile compounding
  • Billing, reimbursement
  • Inventory management
  • Medication safety and management
  • Drug dosage calculations
  • Processing medication orders
  • Medication uses
  • Side effects
  • Drug interactions
  • Regulatory requirements/standards
  • Patient assistance
  • Quality assurance.

Is the classroom environment more your speed?

Imagine going to class and learning about medication uses, side effects, drug interactions, compounding techniques, drug dosage calculations, and much, more, then actually getting to implement all that you learned in your career.

IBMC is not like other colleges, we get to the most interesting aspects of the career training early in your program so that you can feel motivated and engaged because you’re learning the things you actually need to know.

Starting your career in an educational training program will ensure that you can hit the ground running right after graduation and have a better chance of landing the job you want.

Whether you choose to work in a retail pharmacy, a compounding facility, a mail-order pharmacy or maybe you have your eyes set on working in a hospital pharmacy.  No matter what area you decide to focus on, you will find a career that can offer stability, security, and ample growth opportunities.

IBMC College is here to help you with your educational and career goals! We are one of the few local colleges in the Northern Colorado area that is backed by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).  This recognition sets us apart from our peers by ensuring that the education you receive is in compliance with the PTCB’s high standards for education and certification.

So why wait? Check the Pharmacy Technician program, currently available at IBMC’s Longmont campus, and contact us to learn more about the program, the many benefits IBMC provides, and how to enroll quickly and easily.





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