Due to unprecedented growth in the medical industry, pharmacies in West Virginia and other states across the nation have become the preferred destination for individuals considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry. The demands for labor is especially high in those areas that manage and distribute medications. According to the BLS, employment for pharmacy technicians is projected to grow by 20 between the years 2012 to 2022. West Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy manages pharmacy technicians and pharmacy technician trainees in the state. They require all individuals to register before practicing at state pharmacies. West Virginia is one of a growing number of states where registered pharmacy technicians are nationally certified. Certification is not only important to the Board, but also to potential employers who seek to hire competent candidates.
West Virginia Pharmacy Technician Requirements
It is unlawful for pharmacy technicians to practice without a license from the Board. Additionally, pharmacy technicians cannot use the title prior to obtaining a license from the Board since the state defines the role as a registered supportive personnel who works under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist.
To be eligible for registration, pharmacy technicians must fulfill the following Board-mandated stipulations:
- Submit an application using a Board-provided form and pay the registration fee.
- Possess a high diploma or GED
- Complete pharmacy technician education and training
- Pass a nationally recognized pharmacy technician exam
In keeping with national industry standards, the Board also requires applicants to be drug-free and possess good moral characters as evidenced by a clean criminal history. Pharmacists with denied, suspended, revoked or restricted licenses are not eligible to register as pharmacy technicians.
It is unlawful for employers and proprietors to hire and permit unregistered pharmacy technicians to practice and tend to members of the public. Employers should, therefore, check the database at the Board of Pharmacy to determine a prospective employee’s status and ensure that current employees maintain up-to-date registrations with the Board.
Pharmacy technicians also bear the responsibility for maintaining their licenses by renewing on time in order to keep working legally as technicians. Apart from submitting the renewal application and paying the applicable fees, licensees should operate within technicians’ scope of practice to avoid an infraction of pharmacy laws.
West Virginia Board of Pharmacy will only process applications submitted by candidates who are 18 years and older.
Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy technician trainees must possess a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for registration with the Board of Pharmacy.
West Virginia’s pharmacy technicians cannot be abusers of drugs and alcohol. Those who are in a recovery process at the time of application will need to provide evidence of rehabilitation. Pharmacy technicians should not have felony convictions in any jurisdiction within ten years preceding the application date. Applicants must respond to all the criminal history questions on the application form and provide supporting documentation (police report, court documents, and a written account of the incident) with the completed application. Theft, assault, DUI, and MIP violations are just some of the criminal convictions that applicants must report. The Board will review the details and may conduct a criminal background check, before making a decision.
The Pharmacy Technician Program
Of all the pharmacy technician training programs, ASHP accredited programs provide the best value for money. However, with just two programs in West Virginia, students can enroll in programs accredited by other institutions. Employer-sponsored training is also acceptable to the Board of Pharmacy. The ASHP sets stringent requirements for training providers, requiring them to facilitate at least 600 hours of didactic, simulated and experiential training. Other accredited programs also use theory and practical instruction to prepare students for their role as pharmacy technicians.
Employer-based training may exceed ASHP programs in duration and content. The pharmacist-in-charge will pass on knowledge and demonstrate the skills trainees need to support pharmacists in the following tasks:
- Dispensing medication
- Compounding and stocking medications
- Receiving written or electronic orders
- Processing claims
- Packaging and labeling
- Dosage calculations
In a simulated lab setting, facilitators demonstrate essential skills and review students’ performance of each skill. The final part of the program involves work in a clinical setting at a hospital or community pharmacy or both. Students must register with the Board as pharmacy technician trainees before commencing the program or at some point after the class commences since they cannot practice without the Board’s approval.
Graduates of formal and employer-based programs will have the confidence to succeed at the national exams, such as the ones administered by the PTCB or NHA. Moreover, they’ll have the know-how and abilities to execute their roles as a pharmacy technician.
Duration and Cost
Financial aid may be available or pharmacy technician training in West Virginia, which costs an average of $3,650 at community colleges, universities, and vocational schools. Textbooks, uniform, registration, and course materials cost an additional $175. Furthermore, West Virginia training providers require students to pass a criminal background check, take TB and drug tests, and have up-to-date immunizations as part of the enrollment process. Those requirements will increase the cost of attendance.
Employer-based programs are usually free for pharmacy employees. A pharmacist-in-charge at the participating pharmacy will usually conduct the training over a period of 12 months. While an in-house program is desirable for many students, there are some drawbacks. The first is the waiting list. You will have to first secure employment at a pharmacy that is willing to train technicians, which could take a while. The second drawback is that employer training is not always portable from one pharmacy to another or one state to another as the skills and procedures varies from one pharmacy to the next.
If you’re unwilling to wait to begin training, you can enroll in a paid program meet the state’s training requirements in as little as 24 weeks.
West Virginia pharmacy technicians must pass a national exam and acquire certification to register with the Board of Pharmacy. Assessment exams, such as the ones offered by the PTCB and NHA, evaluate pharmacy technicians’ competency in light of their responsibilities in the workplace.
The PTCB exam is widely recognized and accepted by state boards and employers. The Board has contracted with Pearson Vue to administer the exam electronically at hundreds of testing centers across the nation. Before receiving permission to take the exam, technicians must submit an application to the PTCB and satisfy the Board’s requirements, including:
- A high school diploma
- Good moral character with no criminal convictions or disciplinary actions from any pharmacy board
- Agree to abide by the Board’s policies.
The final requirement is to pass the exam, which contains 90 questions – 80 questions count towards the final score. The fee for certification is $129. However, the certification is valid for two years, so technicians must renew in order to maintain certification. The Board requires technicians to fulfill the continuing pharmacy education requirements and pay the $40 renewal fee.
The ExCPT, a product of the NHA, is an alternative to the PTCB. The exam comprises of 110 multiple-choice questions, which covers three major categories: pharmacy regulations and technician duties, dispensing medication and brand name and generic drugs. The duration of the exam is two hours. Apart from passing the exam, candidates must possess the a high school diploma or GED, meet the age requirement of 18 years or older, and provide proof of completing pharmacy technician training or 12 months of employment in a pharmacy setting.
Once the NHA approves the application for certification, candidates can schedule a test date at any one of LSI/LaserGrade testing centers – there are more than 200 centers across the United States. The cost of certification is $105.
Acquiring Your State License
Applicants who do not hold national certification at the time of application, must apply for registration as a Pharmacy Technician Trainee. For registration as a Pharmacy Technicians, applicants must submit proof of national certification from the PTCB or NHA. Those who are Certified Pharmacy Technicians at the time of application, must also submit proof of completing at least 20 hours of training administered by a pharmacist-in-charge. All applicants should have completed high school or GED and be 18 years or older.
Pharmacy Technician Trainee Application:
The Board defines a Pharmacy Technician Trainee as an individual enrolled in a Board-approved pharmacy technician training program who may also work under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.
- Individuals who meet the requirements of a pharmacy technician trainee should complete the Pharmacy Technician Trainee Notification. The pharmacist-in-charge should fill out the application and submit a copy to the Board and post a copy on the pharmacy wall.
- Pharmacy technician trainees can be younger than 18 and don’t need to have a high school diploma or GED. However, they must be at least 18 with a high school diploma by the time they register as Pharmacy Technicians.
- Trainees can work up to 15 months and accumulate at least 960 hours in the pharmacy to register as Pharmacy Technicians.
- Trainees must also complete the requirements for national certification during the allocated 15-month period.
Pharmacy Technician Application:
- To apply for registration as a pharmacy technician, use this Board-provided form.
- The application fee is $25. The Board accepts checks or money orders only.
- Applicants must certify completion of a national certifying exam – PTCB or NHA. A copy of the certificate must be included with the application.
- The Pharmacist-in-charge must certify to your completion of the required 20-hour training.
The Board will process the application in 4 to 6 weeks as long as the applicant submits all the required documents. Pharmacy technician trainees who fail to meet the Board’s required hours can submit a written note to request an extension. Previous criminal convictions or a history of drug abuse can delay the processing of the application.
Pharmacy technician licenses expire on June 30 annually. License holders must maintain their national certification in order to renew. Although the Board does not have continuing pharmacy education requirements for renewal, the PTCB and NHA both have CPE requirements that technicians must fulfill as a requirement for maintaining certification. The renewal fee is $30. If you do not renew your license within the designated renewal period, you will need to reinstate your license. Reinstatement involves taking the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy Technician Examination and submitting a payment of $260 to the Board.
Due to specific training and certification requirements, West Virginia’s Board of Pharmacy does not practice reciprocity with other states. In order to work legally, out-of-state pharmacy technicians must meet WV training requirements, pursue national certification and submit an application for pharmacy technician registration.
Contact the Board:
West Virginia Board of Pharmacy
2310 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25311
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs West Virginia
Beckley, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Academy of Careers and Technology
390 Stanaford Road
Beckley, WV 25801
Charleston, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
5707 MacCorkle Ave, SE, Suite 20
Charleston, West Virginia 25304
Carver Career and Technical Education Center
4799 Midland Drive
Charleston, WV 25306
Fairmont, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
North Central WV Opportunities Industrialization Center, Inc.
120 Jackson Street,
Fairmont, WV 26554
Huntington, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Mountwest Community and Technical College
One Mountwest Way
Huntington, WV 25701
Morgantown, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
West Virginia Junior College-Morgantown
148 Willey St,
Morgantown, WV 26505
Monongalia County Technical Education Center
1000 Mississippi St,
Morgantown, WV 26501
Moorefield, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College
316 Eastern Drive
Moorefield, WV 26836
Pakersburg, WV Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
West Virginia University – Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive,
Parkersburg, WV 26104-8647