Pharmacy technicians are healthcare professionals who collaborate directly with pharmacists and are in charge of a variety of pharmacy-related tasks. Although not mandatory, being a pharmacy technician often requires having a PTCB certificate. With over 449K pharmacy technicians employed in the US, it’s the right time to switch careers to join the industry.
In this article, we’ll discuss 6 tips that will land you your dream job in the pharmacy industry.
1. Get Good Grades in High School Diploma
A mandatory requirement to land your dream job in the pharmacy industry is to complete a high school diploma. Without a high school diploma, you can’t take the PTCB exam to become a certified pharmacist.
There are several different certifications available for individuals looking to make pharmacy a career option, but the bare minimum criteria for most of them revolve around having a high school diploma or equivalent.
Remember, you must also ensure good grades. Although not a mandatory requirement for PTCB, having good diploma grades can increase the confidence of your employer and land a lucrative job right after being certified. Moreover, as you need the experience to get your pharmacy certificate, good grades help find you better opportunities.
2. Take Admission in a Training Program
You’re allowed to complete any high school diploma, but to take the PTCB exam, you also need to enroll yourself in a PTCB-recognized training program. These programs are designed and reviewed to fulfill the necessary educational qualification that a pharmacy technician may need to pass the test and operate in real setups. It’s your responsibility to understand the exam outline and prepare accordingly.
After the pandemic, most training programs have embraced online distance learning as an addition to their offline classes. However, when choosing an educator, consider reviewing their pass percentage and pricing.
3. Work in the Industry
A different path to appear in the PTCB exam after completion of a high school diploma is to have pharmacy technician experience. If you’ve been working in the pharmacy industry, you can take the PTCB test without needing to do the mandatory training.
PTCB requires that you complete at least 500 hours of practical experience before appearing for the test. Moreover, it is advisable to take free PTCB practice tests to be better prepared. However, it’s hard to work as a pharmacy technician without certification. Thus, the PTCB recognizes similar pharmacy work as experience.
This approach is specifically useful for individuals who haven’t been able to attend a PTCB-recognized training program due to various reasons. And since PTCB only allows you to appear for the exam within 60 days, a lot of applicants fail to do so.
4. Prepare for the PTCB Exam
On the basis of its relative importance, the PTCB curriculum is separated into four knowledge groups. 40% of the weightage is allocated to the medical sector. The other three groups are regulatory requirements (21.25%), order handling (21.25%), and patient safety (26.25%).
90 multiple-choice problems are asked over the course of 110 minutes. Two of the most important fields are mathematics and medicine. You are likely to encounter a varying number of mathematics questions, based on the question set.
A scale of 1000 to 1600 is used to determine the candidates’ scores. You need to earn at least 1400 points to be qualified.
If you use study materials designed for the PTCB exam, passing the test will be a lot easier. The study materials provide details on the most commonly prescribed medications, allergic reactions, dosing, and math issues for your convenience.
5. Take PTCB Practice Tests
Official PTCB practice exams are paid sample examinations that simulate the examination environment and the kind of problems you’ll see on the real test. The PTCB practice examinations cost $29 each and have a 90-question pattern with a 110-minute time limit. Although the sets aren’t graded, you may verify the validity of each problem once the test is over.
The PTCB practice exams provide you with a preview of what to anticipate and if you’re up for the task. Since the majority of people need to pass the examination on their first attempt, being ready through adjustments and practice exams is crucial.
Studying smartly is the best way to obtain your PTCB certificate. Preparing for the regulatory requirements for 8 hours a day will prohibit you from learning other important topics like drugs and patient safety. Assessing the significance of each area and planning your study time accordingly can help you prepare better.
If you only can study for 8 hours, spend 3 hours on pharmaceuticals, 2 hours on patient welfare and order handling, and the remaining 3 hours on federal laws.
If you are unable to tackle each domain daily, split the week into equal quadrants to be able to split your time wisely. However, trying to memorize the same information repeatedly for a full day makes it challenging to remember the key points.
6. Take the PTCB Exam
You must schedule a time to take the PTCB test with the administrators at VUE by signing into your account or contacting them directly. The $129 charge will not be refunded in the event of a missed appointment. However, withdrawals can be made in case of an emergency.
The PTCB exam is administered at more than 1400 professional centers. You can schedule your exam at any time of the year, but as they limit it to 60 days after completion of training, you may see an influx of applicants after semester exams.
You need to commit at least 2 hours to the exam. Out of which, 5-minutes are allotted for tutorials, 110-minute for exams, and another 5-minutes for exam surveys. You’ll be presented with an unofficial result right after the exams are over, but you won’t be able to view your official result before 2-3 weeks.
PTCB recommends that you arrive at your Pearson VUE center at least 30-minutes prior to the exam. You also are required to bring an ID that matches the PTCB account. Without proper identification, you won’t be allowed to take the exam.
The Bottom Line
Getting good grades in a high school diploma is the first step toward becoming a pharmacy technician. You need to take a PTCB training course to appear for the exam or must have 500+ hours of professional experience. To crack the PTCB test, consider taking practice tests and committing hours towards study. All it takes is dedication and smart efforts to clear the PTCB tests and land a career that has always topped your wish list. All the best!