What is it really about?
In order for us to advance into our careers, getting certified is a way to prove to people that we are indeed skilled and knowledgeable in carrying out the tasks. Some certifications are also intended to weed out those who really know what they’re doing from those who don’t to protect the lives of others. This is why nurses, doctors, and other careers in the medical field require certifications and licensing. Being a pharmacy technician requires certification and licensing too, and for a good reason.
The Pharmacy technician certification exam is comprised of the 200 prescription drugs and the formulas that would allow you to make use of prescription conversion. Contrary to what others believe, there’s math involved in a Pharmacy technician certification exam, so don’t expect that you won’t be seeing any numbers with this career. In fact, you’ll be seeing a lot of it. The Pharmacy technician certification exam also covers the names of the brands and its generic values, as well as the common names for medications. Depending on which school or reviewer you went to, the Pharmacy technician certification exam will force you to use study guides or summarized versions of your lessons so it will be easy for you to study. Once you pass the Pharmacy technician certification exam, you will be given the suffix of CPHT or Certified Pharmacy Technician after your names to let people know about your certification. The PTCB or Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is responsible for giving out these exams and for providing the certifications.
Once you become a certified pharmacy technician, your career options and salary rate will increase because you are not just some medicine pusher. You are given more sets of responsibilities with more options for accountability, so everyone’s lives hang in your hands. Like most certifications, there are several instances where the PTCB or Pharmacy Technician Certification Board will not give you your license even if you did pass. One instance is cheating or fraud, especially if you ask someone to take the Pharmacy technician certification test for you. Being convicted of a crime will also force the PTCB not to give you your license. Remember, a pharmacy technician has the same capacity to harm or hurt others just like the doctors and nurses so it’s important that the pharmacy technician knows how valuable human life and security are.
So how long does the Pharmacy technician certification test last? The Pharmacy technician certification test is made up of 90 pharmacy-based questions and it will take you at least 2 hours to browse through the medications and its side effects. These are pertinent information that will help you save a life, as some pharmacy technicians are known to provide counselling to patients when it comes to their medications. Alongside the medications, the Pharmacy technician certification test also involves the law and pharmacy rules and regulations, especially those that are intended to safeguard the lives of people. The Pharmacy technician certification test will also include the conversions and some calculations.
The Pharmacy technician certification test requires you to finish it in 2 hours with 90 questions. 66% of the Pharmacy technician certification test is focused on how to assist the pharmacist and patient relations, as they are 90% of your working conditions. Interpersonal skills and communication skills are also covered in the examination. The remaining 30% of the exam is geared towards inventory, which involves the naming and identification of generic and branded medicines, as well as the side effects.
Once you acquire the certification, you are now responsible for a wide range of medications that are at your disposal, so the need for the government and other governing bodies to be strict is nothing short of normal. The skill that it takes to remember, identify, and label the medications is more than just remembering a few items on an ingredient list. The profession of being a pharmacy technician is technical, to say the least. The cost of the Pharmacy technician certification test will run around $129 dollars and will increase within the next few years due to the demand of the job. You are only given three chances to pass the exam and you are required to renew your license every 2 years as required by the PTCB or Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
Becoming a pharmacy technician in the UK and USA
Prior to taking the Pharmacy technician certification exam, the PTCB requires examinees to finish at least a 2 year course in pharmacology and other related courses for pharmacy technicians. Some doctors and nurses take up vocational programs and Associate Degrees that are technically focused on preparation for the said Pharmacy technician certification exam. But a common question usually rises out of this scenario: If I took my Pharmacy technician certification exam in the UK, will I still be considered a CPhT in the USA? Let’s find out.
About the Pharmacy technician certification test in the US
Pharmacy technicians in the USA who pass the Pharmacy technician certification exam are given the title of CPhT or Certified Pharmacy Technician which is a requirement in the field of pharmacology and its corresponding industries. Hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical labs, mental health care centres, and other institutions will require their PTs to have a license.
In the USA, the Pharmacy technician certification exam is made up of multiple choice questions and examinees are given 110 minutes to complete the entire thing. 66% of the test covers patient service, 22% covers medication inventory and control, and the remaining 12% covers pharmacy administration and management. This is to provide examiners with an insight on what they will be doing for the rest of their careers, even though the degrees and vocational training courses provide more than what’s going to come out of the exam. In the USA, re-test is given three times only and if you want to take the exam again, you need to wait for 2 months or 60 days between each attempt. To date, the cost of the Pharmacy technician certification exam is at $129. In addition, the National HealthCare Association also offers a Pharmacy technician certification exam as well and awards the passers with the title of CPhT. The certification coming from the National Healthcare Association and the PTCB are not different as both offer the same qualifications and coverage.
About the Pharmacy technician certification exam in the UK
United Kingdom has a different story when it comes to their certifying pharmacy technicians. In the UK< the General Pharmaceutical Council has a registration of all qualified individuals who’re working in the pharmacy industry, including technicians. They are also in charge of monitoring the educational programs that are involved in the qualification and certification of these technicians.
Technicians who will register with the GPC must complete specific professional and educational training as part of their qualification. The examiners or aspiring technicians will need to have four GSCEs with a grade of C or higher in subjects like math, science, English, and other subjects, as well as a minimum of a 2 year-GPhC accredited pharmacy technician course. They will also be required to undergo at least 2 years’ worth of job experience in a GPhC-approved field.
Pharmacy technicians can choose to complete one of the three certification groupings:
- Level 3 NVQ in Pharmacy Service and Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science
- Level 3 NVQ in Pharmacy Service and BTEC National Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science
- National Certificate in Pharmaceutical Science and National Certificate in Pharmaceutical Services, Level 3 SVQ Pharmacy Services and Level 3 SVQ/Level 6 SCQF Pharmacy Services (all 4 qualifications required).
Any one of these three choices, combined with work experience, is necessary to become a registered technician under the GPC.
The essence of taking practice Pharmacy technician certification test
If you’re lucky, the review centre or even your school will offer some form of practice test for the Pharmacy technician certification exam wherein they will provide you with an exam that’s similar to what you will be seeing in the actual Pharmacy technician certification exam. Take note that the PTCB certifications are not easy so sometimes you really need to practice on your own or with a mentor. The more you’re familiar with the questions, the easier it will be for you to manage the exams. The practice questions come from PTCB’s website, but they are not adequate enough to give you a good insight on the actual exam itself. There are numerous websites on the Internet that will help you practice for the Pharmacy technician certification exam. These practice tests are also going to help you achieve the highest score possible, or at least give you enough edge to avoid failing.
One misconception with the practice Pharmacy technician certification exams is that people assume that the questionnaires they will be seeing is what will be used in the exam. Quite the contrary, the questions in the practice Pharmacy technician certification exams are modelled or mimicked after the actual questions, so there’s at least an 80% similarity in terms of context. The idea here is to provide examiners an idea on what will come out of the exam. For example, if one question on the practice exam asks about the generic name of a popular medicine, the actual question in the exam will have the same context but different items. On a more concrete example, you’d see something like “what are the side effects to aspirin?” in a practice questionnaire, but you’ll be seeing something like “what are the side effects of ibuprofen?” in the actual test. The purpose of differently constructing the practice tests is to avoid the risk of cheating, be it leakage or having a cheat sheet.
The main Pharmacy technician certification exam will examine the candidates in the areas of pharmacy law, calculation, maintaining medication and participation administration, naming, and pharmacology as a whole. The questions in the exam will require you to memorize while there are also questions that require understanding and reasoning. The practice PTCB tests will expose you to what the tests will look like so you won’t be shell-shocked the moment you open your actual Pharmacy technician certification exam. The practice tests are presented similarly and carried out in the same fashion as an actual exam – it’s still going to be 90 items and should be finished in 2 hours. If you can’t finish a practice test in 2 hours, you will be in trouble. But don’t worry. Remember. Practice makes perfect. You also cannot afford to make mistakes so the practice Pharmacy technician certification exams will help you minimize the occurrence of these mistakes.
Unlike the actual PTCB, the practice Pharmacy technician certification exam will have examiners using questionnaires with different items so the more practice exams students take, the higher the chances of being able to pass on the first try. The key to your success in the Pharmacy technician certification exam is to answer as many questions as you can in the fastest time possible so you will have some time to review your answers. Some people don’t get the 90 questions in 2 hours in one go, so repetition is the key. The test items in your practice Pharmacy technician certification exams will be rephrased or constructed similarly, but not the exact replica of the test. They are mnemonically designed to help you retain information in taking the exam. Some instructors or professors divide the practice Pharmacy technician certification exam into different parts so you will be taking up segmented parts of the exam as opposed to taking the whole exam in one go.
The goal of the practice Pharmacy technician certification exam is to help people who’re good in theory but bad in practice as well. Their ability to put their theories into practice is enhanced when they take up their Pharmacy technician certification exam into practice. As they progress with the practice, they are able to do things differently. They will be able to recall more, implement more, and to score higher.