If you are going to work as a pharmacy technician in the U.S., it’s important to check with your state’s Board of Pharmacy to find out about their specific regulations.
The majority of states regulate pharmacy technicians in some fashion, such as requiring them to be registered, licensed or certified.
Even if certification is not required in your particular state, it is extremely advantageous to pursue the CPhT credential. Wherever you live, you’ll undoubtedly come across employers that will only consider candidates who are certified pharmacy technicians.
Registration, Licensure, Certification
Requirements vary by state and among those that regulate their pharmacy technicians, they may use terms like “registration” or “registered” and “licensure or “licensed.”
According to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (on their “Pharmacy Technician State Regulations” page), “Registration is the process of making a list of pharmacy technicians in the state or of being enrolled in an existing list” in order to “safeguard the public…” through “tracking of the technician work force and preventing individuals with documented problems from serving as pharmacy technicians.”
“Licensure,” adds the PTCB “is the process by which an agency of government grants permission to an individual to engage in a given occupation upon recognizing that the applicant has attained the minimum competency necessary to ensure that the public health, safety, and welfare will be reasonably well protected.”
Both the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) grant Certification—the CPhT status—at the national level. It involves passing a certification exam, among other requirements. It demonstrates the pharmacy tech is qualified and competent. Generally speaking, certification is voluntary, although it is can often be a criteria or an option towards meeting a state board’s requirements.
Find out about various Pharmacy Technician Regulators and Associations in the U.S.
— PTCB (@PTCB) October 29, 2014
Which States Regulate?
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) conducts an annual “Survey of Pharmacy Law.” Among the data it collects is how each state regulates its pharmacy technicians.
For example, according to the 2012 NABP Survey (which includes data on all 50 states plus D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam), 10 jurisdictions (9 states plus D.C.) did not require pharmacy technicians to be licensed, registered or certified. In other words 43 jurisdictions (including 41 states, Puerto Rico and Guam) regulated pharmacy technicians in some way.
However, the report revealed that some of the jurisdictions without pharmacy technician regulations were working on adopting some.
[You can view the status of Pharmacy Technician regulations by state (as of 2012) by visiting: https://pharmacy.uc.edu/admin/documents/2012%20Survey%20of%20Pharmacy%20Law.pdf]
Updates to State Regulations
The NABP releases a new survey annually and there have been updates since the 2012 results—there are now even more than 43 states/territories regulating pharmacy technicians in the U.S.
A great source to get regular updates is from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)’s “News & Updates” webpage.
For example, under “Regulatory Updates” it informs that Michigan will now be requiring pharmacy technicians to be licensed. (Michigan was among the 10 jurisdictions that had no regulations a few years back). The law became effective in December of 2014; starting June 30, 2015, “an individual shall not serve as a pharmacy technician unless licensed,” states Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.
Another update shared by the NHA in August 2014 was New York’s proposed bill. If enacted, pharmacy technicians in the state would be required to be registered and also, by, January 2017 certified.
In any case, remember the best source to consult is your State Board of Pharmacy. Contact them and ask exactly what the requirements are, and may be in the future, for pharmacy technicians working in the state.