Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)


Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

With the need for prescription medications growing each year, the demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase rapidly through 2016. The Pharmacy Technician program prepares students to work under supervision of a licensed pharmacist carrying out duties such as assisting patients, filling prescriptions, and keeping pharmacy records.

This 50-hour program consists of:

  • Medical terminology specific to the pharmacy
  • Dosage calculations and conversions
  • Dispensing of prescriptions
  • Drug compounding
  • Inventory control
  • Billing and reimbursement

Successful completion will allow students to enter into a career as a pharmacy technician, and take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Pharmacy Technician exam.

Work Environment

To be successful as a pharmacy technician, an individual must enjoy working with people, be attentive to detail, and be well-organized. Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists. They are often employed at hospitals, retail/community pharmacies, in-patient and out-patient hospital pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and other businesses that sell drugs. Pharmacy technicians should be willing to spend a lot of time standing and may be required to work evenings and weekends. Many technicians and aides work part-time.

Admissions Requirements or Prerequisites

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have high school diploma or GED

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some Q&A's for Pharmacy Technician job seekers. (NOTE: Regulations are changing and this information is current as of December 2014)

A: In order to work as a pharmacy technician in MN, the state says you must be 18 and have a HS diploma or GED. Each state has its own requirements.

When you look for a job, many employers will be looking for certification as a CPhT. The DCTC course will issue a "certificate" that you completed the course, and will prepare you for an entry level position and the certification exam. Certification is achieved by passing a national examination conducted through a professional organization, The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Today, there are no specific education requirements for taking this exam. Even if you complete a two year course, you will still need to pass this national certification exam to be certified. Your certification, CPhT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) is good for 2 years and you will be required to do 20 units of continuing education. The certification of CPhT is good in all states. See www.ptcb.org for more information.

Once you are employed in MN as a pharmacy technician, the state of MN requires that you register with the MN State Board of Pharmacy. In addition to completing continuing education, new technicians registered after January 1, 2013 must have also completed, or will complete an "educational component".

The "education component" can be achieved any of these 4 ways:

  • Military or public health training,
  • an ASHP approved program – will have internship components and is a minimum of 600 hours,
  • a MN Board of Pharmacy approved program – will have an internship component,
  • or an employer based training program (minimum of 240 hours)

The DCTC course does not qualify as the "education component" because we do not have an internship component today. However, our 51 hour program has been approved by the MN Board of Pharmacy in June of 2013 to count towards the didactic portion of an employer based training program. See www.phcybrd.state.mn.us for more information.

A: Not necessarily. If you look at job postings, probably 90% want you to be certified. Again, that means passing the national exam. So if you take the DCTC short-term training course you will be prepared for an entry level job and prepared for the national exam. If you then go to work for an employer that has an employer based training program meeting the MN Board of Pharmacy guidelines, you will then have met that "education component". Employer job qualifications will differ.

Note: By the year 2020, you will need to have completed an ASHP/ACPE certified program (600+ hours and externships) to qualify to take the PTCB national certification exam, but it is not a requirement today.

A: Not necessarily. Certification may or may not be a requirement by the employer. The vast majority of employers want you to be certified either before you are hired or within "x" months of being hired. Being certified should increase your chances of getting a job and may result in a higher wage.

Note: Currently, the state of MN has no requirement that you be certified.

A: Yes. Any new pharmacy technicians, registered with the state after January 2013 must have completed or will complete an "education component".

Related Programs

Contact Information

Karen Christiansen
Karen Christiansen
Health & Human Services Coordinator