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PTCB Announces Certification Program Changes

by PTCB Staff | Feb 27, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC — The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) announces future changes to the PTCB Certification Program. The new changes will advance pharmacy technician qualifications by elevating PTCB’s standards for national certification and recertification. During the next seven years, PTCB will phase in the changes, including mandatory background checks, accredited education requirements, and changes in acceptable continuing education (CE) programs for recertification. 
 
“PTCB is elevating our certification requirements in order to meet the demands of the evolving healthcare system,” said PTCB Executive Director and CEO Everett B. McAllister, MPA, RPh. “We have made bold decisions on what will be required for candidates to become certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs). Our Board of Governors is sharply focused on ensuring that the PTCB Program prepares CPhTs for the integral roles they play in supporting pharmacists in all practice settings.” PTCB’s requirements have remained largely unchanged since the organization’s founding in 1995. 
 
The PTCB Board of Governors decided that new candidates for PTCB certification will be required to complete criminal background checks, beginning in, or around, 2014. Many employers already require background checks as a condition of employment, and PTCB plans to collaborate with stakeholders to synchronize with the existing systems.  

As part of the 20 hours of CE required for recertification, individual CPhTs will need to complete one hour of medication safety CE, effective in 2014, in addition to the one hour of law CE already required. By 2015, PTCB will require all 20 recertification CE hours to be pharmacy technician-specific. Many existing CE offerings already fit this definition. The allowable CE hours from college courses will be reduced from 15 to 10 by 2016, and allowable in-service hours will be phased out by 2018.

By 2020, PTCB will require candidates for initial PTCB certification to successfully complete an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)-accredited education program. ASHP-accredited programs include didactic course work and practical experience, thereby providing well-rounded training for technicians.

Beginning today, PTCB is conducting a 90-day open, online comment period at www.ptcb.org to allow members of the pharmacy community to share best practices for implementing the new requirements. PTCB intends to begin releasing the policies and procedures regarding the implementation of these decisions later this year.  

These program changes are the result of a PTCB initiative which began with a 2011 summit focused on five areas related to pharmacy technicians: Consumer Awareness, Resources, Education, State Policy and Testing (C.R.E.S.T.). Summit attendees included pharmacists, certified pharmacy technicians (CPhTs), educators, major employers, state boards of pharmacy, and others. Summit findings, combined with results from two profession-wide surveys, called for PTCB and the pharmacy profession to make decisive changes in certification standards.

Visit www.ptcb.org for more information on the certification program changes.