PTCB to change pharmacy tech-certification program

WASHINGTON — The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is making changes to its certification program that it said would advance pharmacy tech certifications, the group announced.

The PTCB said that over the next seven years, it would phase in the changes, which include mandatory background checks, accredited education requirements and changes in acceptable continuing education programs for recertification. The group said its requirements have remained largely unchanged since its 1995 founding.

"PTCB is elevating our certification requirements in order to meet the demands of the evolving healthcare system," PTCB executive director and CEO Everett McAllister said. "We have made bold decisions on what will be required for candidates to become certified pharmacy technicians. 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."

New candidates will be required to complete criminal background checks starting in 2014, and individual CPhTs will have to complete one our of medication-safety continuing education in addition to the one hour of CE law already required. By 2015, the organization will require all 20 recertification CE hours to be pharmacy tech-specific, and the allowable CE hours from college courses will be reduced from 15 to 10 by 2016, while allowable in-service hours will be phased out by 2018.

By 2020, the PTCB will require candidates for initial certification to successfully complete an American Society of Health-System Pharmacists-accredited education program, which includes didactic coursework and practical experience, thereby providing well-rounded training for technicians.