Why Do Pharmacy Technicians Need to be Registered?
by Brook Beard, CPhT
Originally pharmacy technicians were simply assistants to pharmacists. Over many years we have evolved to do more and more complex activities. Often, pharmacists used to own their small shops and could complete all the required duties on their own.
Times have changed greatly since then!
As a technician, we have a heavy load to carry, and with the increase in responsibility comes an increase in regulations. With the increases in prescriptions and the ability to electronically conduct pharmacy transactions, a need for greater security and safety has arisen, which can be mitigated with licenses\registrations.
Perhaps it would be easier if regulations stayed the same, but in reality, we live in an ever-evolving world and must evolve with it for our future. Registering as a pharmacy technician is a positive step towards greater pay, promotions, and patient safety. There are scenarios where technicians could take advantage of their position and harm by stealing or using medications illegally. In this scenario, we need to have a system to keep track and prevent future misuse or abuse in pharmacy.
Pharmacy technicians need to be registered for a number of reasons and potential drug abuse. Registration allows checks and balances for ensuring the proper knowledge and ability is obtained by technicians for us to do our job correctly. The advancement of our career depends upon it!
Check with your state for the registration/licensure of pharmacy technicians. With the exception of a handful of states, almost all of the USA has tightened the reins on the career of a pharmacy technician through registration requirements. Working in this career field is a large responsibility. We have our pharmacists to check and ensure all is correct; however, so much of the pharmacy is truly dependent on pharmacy technicians.
With registration, there is accountability necessary for handling medications. As an IV room technician, I’ve handled drugs that will go directly into a patient’s bloodstream, and I do not take that lightly. This is serious business! It is vital to be at the top of your game and work to your ability for the patient’s safety.
Each state has its requirements. For example, in Texas, where I am registered, the board of pharmacy requires Texas law continuing education and a human trafficking prevention course.
Registration allows each state to set the requirements and expectations they would like to see in the technician role. Registering requires a nationally certified technician and meets minimum age and education requirements. As a Certified Pharmacy Technician, there are minimum requirements to gain and maintain the certification, such as education and CE credits.
In addition to the certification requirements, a registered technician will have additional expectations such as a background check, fingerprinting, and CE credits specific to your state.
Altogether the effect of registration is a positive for us as pharmacy technicians regarding our career and a positive for the increased security and safety of our patients. Often the time, expense, and effort put into registration with your state is well worth it, and literally (with increases in pay), it pays for itself!
If you're interested in earning your advanced certification, visit https://bpts.org/.