Do you need to have national certification to become a pharmacy technician? It depends! Almost every state has a different requirement for becoming a pharmacy technician, you really need to check your state requirements to find our. Google your state's name and board of pharmacy (eg, Texas Board of Pharmacy). You could also find a website that has already summarized this information for you, I have done this on my website. This will get you to your state's website; from there you need to look for pharmacy technician requirements. Some states do require national certification, some have it as one option for becoming licensed/registered, others increase the pharmacist to technician ration when techs are nationally certified, and others do not recognize it. Yes, it is all over the place.
Where do you get a national certification from? There are two main organizations that nationally certify pharmacy technicians. The first is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). They have been around since 1995. I was in the Navy at the time and remember when it came out. I was in the group of technicians that first became nationally certified. A few years ago, a second national certification became available. The Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT), their exam is called the exam for the certification of pharmacy technicians (ExCPT). Both have similar cost (within $10 of each other). They use different testing centers in many states, so you will want to see when and where you can test. In the end, this may be the biggest factor for which exam you take. In addition, some states only recognize the PTCB, so once again, check your state requirements.
How do you prepare for the exam? Both PTCB and ICPT offer practice exams and training material (for a cost). You can also check Amazon for some study guides. If you completed formal training, you are probably in good shape to take the exam. If you haven't, definitely get a study guide and hit it hard. If you come up with anything you don't understand, send me an email and I will try and help you.
My Recommendation Get nationally certified no matter if your state requires it or not. If you live in a state that does not require it, then you will more competitive when you are interviewing for a job.
I hope this was helpful. Please leave me a comment if you have further questions> As always, I would love to get some feedback on this article or requests for future content.