Certification: Your Ticket to Success as a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy tech at work
Becoming a pharmacy tech was not Kristen Choate’s plan A, but her education left her with no job opportunities. Searching for an in-demand career, she found Career Step and enrolled in the Pharmacy Tech program. Two weeks after graduation, Kristen had 2 great job offers, due in large part to her CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) credential.

Kristen’s path is a success story because she knew the value of a good education in an in-demand field and the importance of getting certified. Certification can also be your ticket to a successful career as a pharmacy technician. Here are the whys and hows:

1. Certification may be required.
As of April 2015, 23 states require pharmacy techs to be certified. There are 2 different exams you can take to earn certification:

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification exam is the most widely accepted certification. You also must have a high school diploma to be eligible.

The ExCPT Exam given by the National Healthcareer Association is an option if you have a high school diploma and have completed a professional training program or have one year of relevant experience.

2. Certification proves your skills.

Certifications represent a high standard of practice and prove your expertise and commitment to the pharmacy tech profession. This makes you desirable to employers. By becoming certified, you also prove to yourself that you have the necessary skills and knowledge, and confidence in your abilities is essential for a fulfilling career.

3. Certification improves your career prospects.

Jobs in the pharmacy tech world are growing faster than other fields: 35,000 new pharm tech jobs are projected to open within the next 8 years. As a CPhT, you’ll be a natural first choice since employers know that you have the skills they’re looking for. You’ll also enjoy networking opportunities and employment resources through your affiliation with a recognized industry association.

4. Certification keeps you up to date.

The medical industry changes constantly, so what you learn in school may eventually be obsolete. Certifications make sure you aren’t made obsolete because you are required to recertify every 2 years by completing 20 hours of continuing education.

5. Certification pumps up the paycheck.

Certified pharmacy techs are more likely to get a promotion and/or pay raise compared to their non-certified counterparts. On average, a certified pharmacy technician earns 8% more an hour than a pharmacy tech that is not certified.

You could have a success story just like Kristen’s: “Less than a month after graduation I started my new job . . . Everyone is impressed with my knowledge of drugs, my quickness at learning, and my certification.” Make the most of your training and start your career off in the best way possible by becoming certified.

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