An explosion in the variety and quantity of medications, the upsurge in the number of pharmacies and retail drug chains, and the ever-growing aging population drive demand for more pharmacy technicians nationwide. Based on reports from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in the pharmacy technician workforce is expected to be 4 percent over the next decade – a rate that is about the national average for all occupations. The current shortage is behind the hike in wages for technicians. Apart from better salaries, technicians today have an abundance of opportunities as pharmacists are taking on new roles in the pharmacy. Although the outlook is better today than it ever was, there has been a dip in enrollment in pharmacy technician programs, with the expected shortage of new technicians to replace retirees. Oklahoma stands as one of the slower states for pharmacy technicians with just a few program offerings and one that is accredited by the Association for Health Systems Pharmacists.
The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy regulates pharmacy technicians and requires all technicians to register before practicing. There are two phases that prospective technicians must complete in preparation for a permit. Phase I is the initial stage that must be completed before applying for a permit from the Board of Pharmacy. Phase II training must be completed within 90 days of employment. Applicants for registration must complete meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Must have a high school diploma or GED
- Must be proficient in the English Language
- Must have no felony convictions – especially drug-related convictions (fingerprinting may be required)
Phase I and phase II training are typically conducted by a licensed pharmacist in a workplace setting. The pharmacist will keep an accurate record of the training conducted. The Board of Pharmacy will issue a permit to eligible candidates upon verification of training and background check. The Board does not recognize or require national certification. However, many employers may expect it from prospective employees.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old to register as a pharmacy technician in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy requires all applicants to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Completing phase I and phase II training before and after employment is another requirement for obtaining a pharmacy technician permit.
A pharmacy technician, working under the supervision of a pharmacist, has a key role in the distribution of prescriptions. This ready access to controlled substances can pose a danger to public health. The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy, like other state pharmacy boards, will perform a background check to ensure that each candidate for registration has the capacity to fill the role. The background check will confirm that the candidate has no criminal history, especially drug-related, or disciplinary actions taken against him or her that would exclude the candidate from working in a pharmacy.
The application will require disclosure of any past legal offenses. The crimes that may result in outright denial of registration varies from state to state. The Oklahoma Board of Pharmacy reviews each request on a case-by-case basis. A fingerprint record may be required as part of the criminal background check. Each applicant must cover the cost of the background check and fingerprint.
The Pharmacy Technician Program
Each candidate for a permit must complete phase I (initial training) prior to receiving a permit. Both phase I and phase I must be taught a pharmacy that employs pharmacy technicians. The pharmacy manager will design and conduct the training. The program will be kept on record to be submitted to the Board on request.
Phase I training prepares the candidate for a pharmacy technician permit. The courses will include a tour of the pharmacy, confidentiality of patient information, pharmacy literature, the role of the pharmacist, the role of supportive personnel, role of the pharmacy technicians, and the pharmacy technician’s relationship with pharmacists, patients, physicians, and nurses. Other critical topics include pharmacy law, pharmacy rules, identification of DEA drug labels, allowable functions of pharmacy technicians, and security and safety. Upon completion of this phase, the technician will receive a permit and begin phase II (on-the-job training).
Phase II of the pharmacy technician program in Oklahoma is equivalent to on-the-job training and provides hands-on training and real-world scenarios where students learn under the keen eye of the pharmacy manager or designee. Courses covered include pharmacy terminology, abbreviations and symbols, mathematical terminology, drug nomenclature, classifications of drugs, pharmaceutical dosage forms, routes of administration, materials management, drug dispensing, data entry, container selection, labeling, and preparing the finished program for a final check by the pharmacist. Phase II training must be completed within 90 days of the issue of the pharmacy technician permit.
The pharmacy must issue and correct an exam before approving the technician’s application for a permit.
Duration and Cost
Pharmacy technician candidates who choose the path of the pharmacy technician internship can complete the requirements for a permit in 6 weeks plus an additional 90 days for completing phase II of the required training. There are a few benefits of this pathway. The first is that it gives students the opportunity to learn under the guidance of a pharmacy manager and collaborate with the pharmacy team from day one. The hands-on training conducted during phase II takes place in the actual pharmacy, so students will work directly with the team, customers, physicians, and other health care providers. The training is generally free and may even include a paid stipend until the conclusion. Another great benefit is immediate employment upon completion as most pharmacies conduct this training for prospective employees.
There are other pharmacy technician training options in Oklahoma. These include those offered at community colleges, proprietary schools, and vocational institutes. The duration of the program is in line with pharmacy-based programs and can be completed in 5 to 9 months. The cost of such programs varies from $3,200 to $5,700.
The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy does not require technicians to obtain certification. It also does not recognize of the national certification agencies. Certification could be a requirement for employment as many employers hold the certification as the standard for pharmacy technician employees.
Pharmacy technicians in Oklahoma can apply for and obtain PTCB certification after meeting the following requirements:
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must provide proof of completing high school or GED equivalency
- Have a clean criminal record with no disciplinary actions from a State Board of Pharmacy
- Must have completed an accredited pharmacy technician program (ASHP accredited)
- Complete the application for the national exam and pay the fee of $129
The certification is valid for two years and can be renewed after completing the continuing education requirements. Renewal candidates must complete 20 hours of CE during the cycle. One hour must be related to pharmacy law and regulations, one hour for patient safety, and the rest must be related to the professional work and practice of a pharmacy technician. The renewal cost is $40.
The ICPT designs and develops the ExCPT exam. To be eligible to take the ExCPT, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Must have a completed a training program or have at least 12 months of pharmacy-related experience – completed within 36 months of the application date
- Take and pass the ExCPT exam
- Pay the exam fee of $105
Pharmacy technician programs at community colleges and vocational schools will include modules dedicated to success on the national exam.
Acquiring Your State Permit
Candidates for a pharmacy technician permit must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. The Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy will issue a permit to candidates who complete phase I training. Phase II training must be completed within 90 days of the issuance of the permit or else it will be revoked. The permit must be signed by a registered pharmacist to be valid.
Pharmacy Technician Application:
- Read the application instructions and include all requested documents to avoid it being returned
- Complete the application – answering all questions and indicating N/A where applicable
- Include the non-refundable application fee of $40 – check or money order
- Provide a clear copy of driver’s license, state ID, or work authorization card
- Complete the citizenship affidavit – option 1 or 2
- Must be employed in a licensed Oklahoma pharmacy under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist
- Indicate any charges or convictions and have the supervising pharmacist initial the appropriate column
- Have a supervising pharmacist sign and date the application verifying completion of the required training and examination
- The corrected exam must be kept on file at the pharmacy to provide to the Board upon request
Applications for the permit may take up to 21 days to process.
Permits that are not renewed will be canceled 30 days after expiration. Canceled technicians cannot apply for a new permit. The permit must be reinstated upon returning to work as a technician. Reinstating cannot be completed online. The paper application must be completed and submitted to the Board. All permits expire annually on the last day of the technician’s birth month. Renew using the following procedures:
- Renew online or download and complete the paper application and submit it to the Board
- Pay the renewal fee of $40. The fee doubles 15 days after the expiration
- The supervising pharmacist must sign and date the application
- The technician must indicate if working in multiple locations and must request a permit for each additional place of employment. There is an additional fee of $10 per additional permit
The permit will not be renewed unless actively employed in an Oklahoma pharmacy under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. The reinstatement fee of $80 must be submitted with the application for reinstatement.
Contact the Board:
Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy
2920 N Lincoln Blvd, Ste A,
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
ASHP Accredited Pharmacy Technician Schools in Oklahoma
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P.O. Box 477200
Tulsa OK 74147
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