Pharmacy Technician Requirements: Education, Certification, & Licensing

Working as a pharmacy technician can be a great career. Pharmacy technicians earn a decent salary while helping people stay healthy and getting plenty of opportunities to learn.

Becoming a pharmacy technician is also a great way to get experience for more advanced healthcare degrees and careers.

The road to becoming a pharmacy technician can be a little confusing. Some states require pharmacy technicians to attend an accredited program, pass a certification exam, and get a pharmacy technician license. Others require only a high school diploma and some on-the-job training.

This guide gives a state-by-state breakdown of pharmacy technician requirements and the best ways to meet those requirements.

State-by-State Pharmacy Technician Requirements

Since each state requires something different, it can be hard to know what you have to do to become a pharmacy technician. You can check out our guide to pharmacy technician licenses vs certifications to learn more about the differences between the two. Here, we’ll review the requirements for each state.

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Alabama

Pharmacy technicians in Alabama must register with the Alabama Board of Pharmacy. This includes completing a Board-approved training program within the first six months after their registration. Alternately, if you pass a Board-recognized pharmacy technician certification examination, that will be accepted in place of the training program.

Alaska

Alaska requires pharmacy technicians to have their high school diploma or GED and register with the Alaska Board of Pharmacy.

Arizona

In Arizona, pharmacy technicians must pass a PTCB or ExCPT exam and be licensed with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

Arkansas

Arkansas requires pharmacy techs to be registered with the Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy. To complete certain tasks, the pharmacy technician must complete training and testing and be supervised by the pharmacist-in-charge.

California

In California, pharmacy technicians must be licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. This requires one of the following: completion of coursework or graduation from accredited program for Pharmacy Technician (per their list of requirements), PTCB certification, ExCPT certification, or military training. 

Colorado

Pharmacy technicians in Colorado must get certified by the Colorado State Board of Pharmacy. This application requires proof of certification by a board-approved, nationally recognized organization that certifies pharmacy technicians.

Connecticut

In Connecticut, pharmacy techs are required to register with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection after they have accepted a job. Then, they must work under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

Delaware

As of May 2023, there are no licensure requirements for pharmacy technicians in Delaware.

District of Columbia

As of May 2023, there are no licensure requirements for pharmacy technicians in the District of Columbia.

Florida

Florida pharmacy technicians have to complete a training program that has been approved by the Florida Board of Pharmacy and register with the state board. Passing a certification exam cannot replace a state-approved course.

Georgia

In Georgia, pharmacy technicians must register with the Georgia Board of Pharmacy, but they do not require pharmacy techs to be certified.

Hawaii

As of May 2023, there are no licensure requirements for pharmacy technicians in Hawaii.

Idaho

Idaho allows people who are as young as 16 years old to work as pharmacy technicians. However, they must register with the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses. To be a Certified Pharmacy Technician, you must obtain and maintain certification from PTCB or ExCPT.

Illinois

In Illinois, all pharmacy technicians are required to register with the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Within six months of employment, they must be trained by a licensed pharmacist in specific tasks. Certified Pharmacy Technicians must complete an education program and pass PTCB or ExCPT exams. 

Indiana

In Indiana, pharmacy technicians must have completed an Indiana Board-approved training and education program or have passed the PTCE or ExCPT exam. Pharmacy techs must register with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency.

Iowa

To begin a career as a pharmacy technician in Iowa, you must earn your certification and register with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. You must also disclose any criminal convictions prior to working as a pharmacy technician.

Kansas

All pharmacy technicians in Kansas must register with the Kansas Board of Pharmacy and pass the PTCB or ExCPT exam before the first renewal.

Kentucky

Pharmacy technicians in Kentucky must simply register with the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy. They are required to keep their registration card with them at all times while they are working.

Louisiana

Requirements in Louisiana are some of the most stringent. The Louisiana Board of Pharmacy requires candidates to obtain a pharmacy technician candidate registration while they complete educational and training requirements. Within two years, they must complete a nationally-accredited and board-approved training program with the number of hours of practical experience required by the training program's curriculum or 600 hours of on-the-job training in Louisiana and pass either the PTCB or ExCPT exams.

Maine

Complete an on-the-job training program and register with the Maine Board of Pharmacy. Technicians seeking “advanced” designation must also become nationally certified through the PTCB. Maine has a special registration for authorization to administer vaccines.

Maryland

There are several different ways to become a licensed pharmacy technician in Maryland: submit certification from a national pharmacy technician certification program; complete a board-approved pharmacy technician training program that includes 160 hours of work experience and pass a board-approved technician exam; submit evidence of registration in another state with similar requirements.

After meeting one of the above requirements, pharmacy technicians must register with the Maryland Board of Pharmacy.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts has two different ways to become a pharmacy technician. The first option is to apply for your pharmacy technician license after completing a board-approved pharmacy technician training program and passing your exam.

Both the PTCB and NHA certifications are accepted by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy. You’ll also have to pass a criminal background check, have a high school diploma or GED, and be at least 18 years old.

The second option is to apply for the technician in the training program, which allows you to gain experience while working towards your pharmacy technician certification.

Michigan

Do one of the following and register with the Michigan Board of Pharmacy:

  • Complete an employer-based pharmacy technician training program that cumulates in a board-approved exam
  • Become nationally certified through the PTCB or another approved certifying agency

Minnesota

In Minnesota, pharmacy technicians must register with the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy after completing one of the following:

  • A program offered by a Board-approved, accredited vocational/technical college or institution
  • A program accredited by a board-approved, national organization
  • An employer-based program that includes at least 240 hours of clinical and didactic instruction in one year
  • A program provided by the US military or public health service

Mississippi

Pharmacy technicians in Mississippi are not required to be certified. They do have to register with the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy.

Missouri

The only requirement in Missouri is that pharmacy technicians register with the Missouri Board of Pharmacy.

Montana

You can become a pharmacy technician in Montana after you pass the PTCB or ExCPT examination and register with the Montana Board of Pharmacy.

Montana pharmacy technicians can work under a provisional license for one year while they study for their PTCB.

Nebraska

Nebraska only requires registration with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

Nevada

Nevada provides several options for completing education before pharmacy technicians can register with the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy.

  1. The completion of an ASHP-approved PT school or training program 
  2. Submit evidence of active practice in good standing from another state plus the completion of at least 1,500 hours of employment as a PT in that state 
  3. The completion of at least 1,500 hours of training and experience as a registered pharmaceutical technician in training (PTT) in Nevada licensed pharmacies 
  4. The completion of a training program conducted by a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the Indian Health Service, or the Department of Veterans Affair

New Hampshire

Pharmacy technicians in New Hampshire only need to register with the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy.

New Jersey

Pharmacy technicians in New Jersey only need to register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

New Mexico

New Mexico allows applicants to work as non-certified technicians for one year before taking their required certification exam.  After passing the PCTB or ExPCT exam, pharmacy technicians must register with the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy.

New York

To be a registered pharmacy technician in the state of New York, you must receive certification from PCTB or ExCPT and apply for a license with the New York State Education Department, Office of Professions.

North Carolina

North Carolina pharmacy technicians must register with the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy after they have either: completed an approved on-the-job training course or received certification issued by PTCB or NHA's ExCPT.

North Dakota

North Dakota requires registration with the North Dakota State Board of Pharmacy. Registrants must have passed the PTCB examination and have completed either an accredited pharmacy technician training program or an on-the-job training program directed by a pharmacist.

Ohio

All pharmacy technicians must have an active registration with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. They must complete either an employer-based training program that meets state requirements or a non-employer-based program such as: 

  • A program accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists/Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education 
  • A program of the Armed Forces of the United States, the Indian Health Service, or the Department of Veterans Affairs 
  • A program approved by the State Board of Pharmacy that is offered by an Ohio public high school as part of a career-technical education program 
  • Completion of a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program within five years of the application.

Oklahoma

All Oklahoma pharmacy techs must complete Phase I (initial) and Phase II (on-the-job) training. Phase II begins after they receive their permit from Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy.

Oregon

In Oregon, pharmacy technicians must register with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy and can work for one year before renewing that license or applying for a Certified Oregon Pharmacy Technician license which requires passage of either the PTCB or ExCPT exam.

Pennsylvania

Pharmacy technicians are not currently regulated by the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy. National certification is not required.

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Board of Pharmacy issues two kinds of pharmacy tech licenses: Tech I and Tech II. Tech I requires training by a licensed pharmacist and Tech II requires passage of PCTB or ExCPT exams.

South Carolina

The South Carolina Board of Pharmacy requires an active pharmacy technician registration which does not require national certification or an SC State-Certified Pharmacy Technician registration which requires passage of PCTB or ExCPT exams. 

South Dakota

Pharmacy techs in South Dakota must register with the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy. To do this, they must be employed in South Dakota as a pharmacy tech or enrolled in an approved program. They then have two years to become a certified pharmacy technician.

Tennessee

Pharmacy techs in Tennessee only have to register with the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy.

Texas

The Texas State Board of Pharmacy requires registration as either a Pharmacy Technician or a Pharmacy Technician Trainee (only valid for two years). National certification through PCTB or NHA is required before you can receive a license as a Pharmacy Technician.

Utah

In Utah, pharmacy technicians have to complete the following:

  1. Register with the Utah Department of Commerce as a pharmacy technician trainee
  2. Complete a pharmacy technician training program with at least 180 hours of on-the-job training
  3. Pass the PTCB or ExCPT exam
  4. Apply for a pharmacy technician license with the Utah Department of Commerce

Vermont

Pharmacy technicians in Vermont only need to register with the Vermont Board of Pharmacy.

Virginia

In Virginia, to register as a Pharmacy Technician with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, you must complete a pharmacy technician training program that is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), or operated by DOE's Career and Technical Education program, or a federal agency or branch of the military, or a program accredited by an accreditation body approved by the board.

You must also pass a national certification examination administered by PTCB or NHA. There is a trainee registration that allows you to work as a pharmacy tech while you are completing these requirements.

Washington

In Washington, pharmacy techs must complete a PTCB training program and pass the certification exam before they can register with the Washington State Department of Health.

West Virginia

Pharmacy techs in West Virginia must complete a State-approved training program and register with the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy.

Wisconsin

As of May 2023, there are no licensure requirements for pharmacy technicians in Wisconsin.

Wyoming

Wyoming requires pharmacy technicians to pass the PTCB or ExCPT exams and register with the Wyoming State Board of Pharmacy. There is a technician-in-training permit that allows you to work for two years while you pursue your certification.

States With No Registration or Certification Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians

The following states do not have registration or certification requirements:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

States That Require Pharmacy Technicians to Attend a Training Program

The following states require pharmacy technicians to have gone to school or a training program:

  • Alabama (or pass exam)
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California (or pass exam)
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana (or pass exam)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan (or pass exam)
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina (or pass exam)
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Washington (or pass exam)
  • West Virginia

States That Require Pharmacy Technicians to Be Certified

The following states require pharmacy technicians to be certified by an organization such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or National Healthcareer Association (NHA):

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine (for advanced designation)
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island (for Tech II designation)
  • South Carolina (for State-certified designation)
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

If you live in one of these states, check out our guide to becoming a certified pharmacy technician to see what you have to do to be eligible to work.

States That Require Pharmacy Technicians to Register with the State Board of Pharmacy

The following states require pharmacy technicians to register with the state board of pharmacy:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

How to Find an Approved Pharmacy Technician Training Program

There are many pharmacy technician training programs available to choose from. Whether you choose an online pharmacy technician certification program or an associate degree, you want to spend some time researching what kind of program will work best for you.

To choose a program that will meet your needs:

How to Choose a Pharmacy Technician Certification

There are two main pharmacy technician certification options to choose from. Like choosing a program, you want to select a certification that will meet your needs.

Things to consider when choosing a pharmacy technician certification include:

  • Whether your state accepts the certification
  • Cost
  • How long certification lasts
  • Renewal requirements
  • If the certification is accepted in other states

Below you can see some of the most popular pharmacy technician certification options:

Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) – Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

The PTCB offers a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) exam that is accepted in all states. Their exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and usually takes 2 hours to complete.

To maintain your CPhT, you must complete 20 hours of CE every two years, including 1 hour in pharmacy law and 1 hour in patient safety.

Certified Pharmacy Technician (ExCPT) – National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

To take the NHA’s ExCPT exam, you must first complete a pharmacy technician training program or have 1,200 supervised hours of pharmacy-related work in the last 3 years. The NHA exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions.

You must recertify for your ExCPT every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education and paying the $55 recertification fee.

The NHA’s pharmacy technician certification is accepted in all 50 states.

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