By Adam King, B.S., C.Ph.T., R.Ph.T., PRS, billing, technology and regulation specialist, Keystone Pharmacy, Grand Rapids
In all the frenzy that surrounded pharmacy technicians becoming licensed with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, there are a couple of glaring notes about the laws surrounding your license. First, depending on your employer, you may not have to complete a certification exam to obtain full licensure by the State. Second, you are not required to remain certified to renew your license. Third, depending on your employer-based training program, you may not ever need to become licensed at all. With all that in mind, why do I need my certification? I’ll give you four good reasons to do just that!
First, your employer may require you to maintain active certification. This is particularly true with my employer. Our owner asks his technicians to remain licensed and certified. While this sounds like a cumbersome employment requirement, the continuing education requirements are similar and the same credits can count for your license and certification. Make sure you stay compliant with your employer’s requirements.
Second, your next employer may require active certification. This is particularly true in compounding pharmacies and hospital pharmacies. If you want to work for the federal government, Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification is the only acceptable requirement. Obtaining and maintaining your certification might just help you make your next career move.
Third, due to the patchwork nature of pharmacy technician licenses between states, pharmacy technician licenses are not reciprocated from state to state like pharmacist licenses. If you plan to move or get involuntarily moved to another state, you will have to go through their license process, and in most states, that process is obtaining or possessing national certification. Additionally, if you plan to practice in Canada, PTCB certification is a pre-requisite to taking their licensing exams unless you have received a pharmacy technician degree from a college.
Fourth, licenses do not relate to professional competence. In a recent survey by PTCB, 85 percent of patients want the pharmacy technicians in their pharmacy to be certified. Many of our patients think that pharmacy technicians are already pharmacists, so proving you have taken an interest in your profession by remaining certified goes a long way earning the respect of your patients. Remember you once your certification lapses, you lose the ability to use the “CPhT” designation.
Maintaining your certification is important to your career. If you aren’t certified, get certified. If you are certified, maintain it. It helps your profession, your patients, your pharmacists and your career to have that demonstration of competence.