CPhT – Why?

One of my staff has recently taken the CPhT exam (thats Certified Pharmacy Tech for those at home).
He showed me the sample test and study booklet. There is NO way a tech should know all of that. Think about it, the law states that a Technician is to preform the remedial tasks of a pharmacist under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.
Why are these overpriced classes teaching them about Cushing Disease, how coumadin works, and other horseshit. Why doesn’t it just test them on a bunch of brand/generic, sound-alike drugs? For 99% of the pharmacy techs out there, thats all they really need! If you need specialized training for a hospital, then get certified in a hospital-tech cert.
All this testing does it gives the technician enough knowledge to /think/ they know the correct answer without taking into consideration the tons of background information thats only acquired in pharmacy school. The tech now has enough information to sound like he/she knows what he/she is talking about, but really doesn’t.
I know all of you CPhT folks out there are going to chew my ass over this, but seriously. How much of that test actually applies to real-life retail pharmacy (where most of the techs are going to work)?

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203 Comments

  1. Liz says:

    I agree! I am a tech and have to do 20 CE’s every two years. Its a pain, and it costs so dang much! I felt like I was going to need all this knowledge and I can’t use it! I can’t counsel patients! Why do I have to know what a post prandial slump is????

    • Robert Himes says:

      If you are paying for ce’s in this day and age you are where you belong, get with the program, there are so many free ce’s on line I can’t believe you have a pulse. As to why know?? you get stagnant, you get lost, you go into a coma–you should never stop learning, it keeps you alive above the neck

      • Tammy says:

        I totally agree with you Robert. I have been a technician for 35 years in the retail setting. I just got IV Certified this year and am now teaching “these overpriced classes”. Yes, we are not a Pharmacist amd yes, we cannot counsel but, we are taking on more and more responsibilities in the pharmacy . There is more to working in a pharmacy then just counting pills and knowing the names of the drugs.

    • Yasmine says:

      Agreeing with Robert on this, first of all I don’t pay a penny for them try this website http://www.powerpak.com, just register and pick what interests you of the available courses.

      As for the comment as to why you should know the information, it is this kind of thinking that keeps this career from becoming a respeted profession. Wouldn’t it help for 1 more person to know this information in case someone says something wrong, they can say, “um, no..(insert pharmacist’s name) it causes hypoglycemia”

  2. Erin says:

    Hey, Im a CPHT and you are right about the test being ridiculous. I never use that extra nonsense (that’s what I work with pharmacists for) and honestly only retained whatever I have used in my work, which is the basic info. Such as the generic name for Zocor, how to count by fives, and why Mrs. Johnson’s pill looks different than last time.

  3. Marty says:

    CPht training should be known as how to increase tuition income for community colleges. At the end of every freaking semester we get a couple of resumes from poor idealistic grads thinking there is actually a job market out there for all the techs the local college is churning out. One large local chain has a technician training program and the others would rather hire minimum wage bodies off the street. I know because one of those techs came in looking for a new job because she had been with her big box employer 3 years without a raise and when she asked for one she was told she could be replaced. So prospective techs-look for another type of training-the local hospital has a staff where the least senior CPht has been there almost 20 years. And by the way we try to pay our techs well but the state assoc. wage survey is crap. Their survey says the average tech makes $13.50 per hour-but in one years survey if you read the data there was one respondent from community pharmacy. Don’t ya just love statistics?

  4. Kelly says:

    Im a certified tech…and I have been a tech for many moons…and I can say with out a doubt that you dont need to know any of that shit! honestly the only thing I use is dosage calculations and generic/brand names…even that you can look up on the computer…one of the perks of working for a whore corpo chain is that they paid for the classes and the test…there is no way I would pay out of pocket for that bs!

  5. Alex says:

    Aaaaaamen! I took that damned test several years ago, after I’d already been a tech for a few years. Lots of headache for the measly pittance my employer raised my hourly wage. I was actually naive enough at the time to think it would help me! Here’s what it did not do: 1)Help me type faster (skill I acquired with… hello! PRACTICE)
    2)Deal with snotty customers (another acquired skill, though a sense of humor helps)
    3)Perform remedial math acurately (thanks to my first grade teacher, I’ve got the ol’ + and – thing down)
    The test is a hyped up scam, scaring the shit out of baby techs across America. I’m an asset to my pharmacy because I show up on time and do what needs to be done. Not because I pull incomplete drug trivia out of my ass while the pharmacist isn’t looking!
    Au contraire, dear Angry Pharmacist. Any hate mail should go straight to the exam board!

  6. DanTech says:

    I do wish that the PTCB would differentiate between the various practice settings. I’ve done nothing but retail for years and have never had to deal with IV bags.
    I do believe that we should learn what various drugs do. Not in any great detail mind you, but when patients ask us to refill their “sugar pills” we need to know that they are not asking for the ones next to the alcohol pads on aisle 3.
    We should also know about pharmacy laws, and at least have a clue about common health conditions (diabetes, hypertension, etc…) Cushing’s disease is a bit rare.
    WE DO NOT COUNSEL PATIENTS. WE ARE NOT PAID ENOUGH TO TAKE THAT KIND OF RISK.
    That is the big problem with a little bit of knowledge. We think we know something, and it doesn’t help that the general public confuses the two job titles. People think that everyone that works in a pharmacy is a pharmacist.
    What pharmacist goes to school to learn about third party adjudication? Maybe leave that for us technicians.

  7. somedaynurse says:

    You have an interesting point. I have always thought that knowing as much as possible about the field in which you work is a good thing, but you are right, there is no way a Pharm Tech school can provide an adequate education in such topics, and a little knowledge can be dangerous.
    Techs would definitely benefit from studying common drug errors, interactions and such, because any other questions should be referred to you anyway.
    I had a classmate in my A&P class- a prerequisite for our nursing program- who would always say, “What does this have to do with wiping butts?”
    ~Raven

  8. Sehnsucht says:

    Yeah, I was really surprised at that too. Some technican’s “CE” was an article about depression, and then questions discussing whether a hypothetical patient had it? WTF?
    If I had come out of high school, worked in a retail pharmacy environment and then had to learn about Cushing’s Syndrome I’d wonder what the hell was going on. Problem is, some people will now think they’re equivalent to docs/pharmacists. A technician training program here does “pharmacology / anatomy and physiology ‘modules’ “. Why?

  9. Metaka says:

    I agree 100%, and then add my own personal rant:
    PTCB and pharmacy teachers, WHY the HELL are you writing this stuff in textbooks and teaching us this stuff in a class, then when we’re in an actual pharmacy, we are NOT ALLOWED to use more than 25% of it?! You teach us all sorts of crap about classes and side effects and interactions and such, then when we’re in the pharmacy, we’re expected to be little more than register/filling/data entry robots. If that’s the way it’s going to be, then why bother teaching us anything about the medications? Just test us on counting back change, dosage calculations, and pharmacy administration, and call it done.
    Signed,
    the girl who’s tired of getting yelled at for trying to use the knowledge she was tested on.

  10. Jory (C.PhT) says:

    I totally agree with you. I took it on a whim to get extra cash 2 years ago and was shocked with all the crap they make you study. The kicker is none of that is on the actual test. And if anything, when I took it, the test was too damned easy. A co-worker of mine went to take it to look good on his pharmacy school app and the day before he looked at me and asked me what Hydrocodone was for. Needless to say he passed because he received one of the versions that was almost solely math.
    Its good for Tech’s to know some of that stuff to help spot common interactions but to know actual mechanisms and what not? That is far and above what is needed

  11. Megan says:

    Not a whole lot… a lot of useless math that you should know how to do before you work in the pharmacy, as a high school diploma is normally required… Of course, we do have one tech who recently passed her certification exam and thinks she knows everything. Only, she certainly does not, and her trying to sound smart makes all of us fight not to laugh at how stupid she sounds…

  12. Heather says:

    Completely true! I heard one of my so called ?certified techs? telling a coumadin pt they could take IBU (with the MD knowing) because it was ok as long as they have their blood drawn regularly. While this is somewhat true, I couldn?t believe she was actually telling a pt that with out me talking to them or their MDs OK.

  13. Heather says:

    Completely true! I heard one of my so called “certified techs”? telling a coumadin pt they could take IBU (without the MD knowing) because it was ok as long as they have their blood drawn regularly. While this is somewhat true, I couldn’t believe she was actually telling a pt that with out me talking to them or their MDs OK.

  14. Bradley says:

    Hmm. Does the CPhT course teach enough info that I might be able to pass as a pharmacist for one of those jobs that doesn’t ask for a license?

  15. Lucky says:

    I have had a real problem with techs in my pharmacy jumping in with nuggets of “knowledge” when taking in scripts or when I am speaking to patients. Techs perform a critical role in pharmacy settings, but pharmacology and pharmacotherapy are not in their skill sets, nor should they be. We have had discussions that have taken care of that problem.
    Courses pretending to give them these skills will only make it worse.

    • HospitalCPHT says:

      The whole purpose of the CPHT exam is to weed out the morons from those capable of following basic instructions. Where are you finding these idiots?! AT NO POINT is a tech legally ALLOWED to give a patient (nurse, doctor, or anyone else, for that matter) medical advice on medications!

      My sole purpose as the tech is to prepare medications for the patient. Period. Be they P.O. meds, I.V. vials or I.V. bags or boluses..that’s what I do. Day in, day out..until I friggin’ die. And you know what? I’ve made my fucking peace with that. I decided a few years back NOT to go to pharmacy school, because I saw what the pharmacists go through every day, and I didn’t want ANY part of it.

      So, while I agree with TAP’s assessment on the stupidity of the test, I disagree with him on what techs need to know (it would help both me and the patient to know how to make an Amiodarone drip, the filter required, and why it’s important that I get it done now instead of touching myself while waiting for Nurse Nancy to call me and bitch about why it isn’t there yet)..and also disagree with the retail tech not needing to know hospital stuff. (Face it, friend: some day you’re going to get sick of that large pill-pushing retail chain treating you like shit on a daily basis, and you’re going to want to slide on over to where the real teching money is…and when you do, it would help me greatly, if I didn’t have to train you! lol!)

      So, in my opinion, the test serves a purpose: It keeps the mouth-breathers out of your I’V room, drooling on your Diltiazem vials. However, it does delve into ridiculous territory, and it would be nice if they scaled it back to what goes on in the actual work environments.

  16. Andrew says:

    When I was in training to become a CPhT, I thought the same thing, but the longer I work, the more I’ve realized that it can be worth it. I’ve caught mistakes in dosing and interactions that the computer didn’t catch and the pharmacist wouldn’t have seen because they weren’t looking at the patient’s profile.
    I guess anything that can prevent a possible error is worth it. I, for one, am glad I learned what I did.

  17. Transfat says:

    Speaking as a CPhT, I agree with you 100% Along with everything you said, add to the fact that we are legally restricted (at least in my state) from giving any kind of medical advice. Therefore it seems that giving us medical information would lead to an unnecessary temptation to try to use it, in the process endangering our patients and breaking the law.
    I also don’t appreciate ignorant customers that think I’m being a jerk when I don’t answer their medically related questions (whether I know the answer or not), because hey, everybody with a white vest on must be a pharmacist.

  18. nikki says:

    that’s great. im still bitter about when i took the exam. there was no increase in pay at all. i studied for 8 months before taking the exam. a guy that went with me, studied on the way to the exam in the car and i scored ONE point higher than he did.
    i have yet to mix an IV.
    although it is good to know that the best time to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning when you wake up (yes that was a question on the test)

    • Robert says:

      if it really took you eight months to study for that test, please be sure to take that pg test EVERY morning

    • ldd.taryn says:

      if you read the instructions or even just the box of a pg test it says take in the am for best results because that is when your urine is most potent!

      and that question was not on mine or my 3 other friends tests.

  19. Pharmacy tech gone postal says:

    It’s necessary to be certified because no one will work this hard, for so many ungrateful hydrocodone addicts, crackheads, welfare spongers and general assholes for minimum wage. We have to justify the better paycheck somehow.

    • Brandi says:

      WTF??? What better paycheck… I make as much as my un-certified co-worker and I am the one that is dealing with the dumbass, greedy, good for nothing but collecting a government paycheck people. In addition to dealing with those people with no extra compinsation, I am the one that catches 90% of the MD screw ups and dosage issues. Like today my uncertified coworker took an eye drop (10 ml = 200 gtt) — 1 gtt OU BID — and put a funking 20 day supply on it because she thought she would try it… Try telling that to the anal PharmD and the insurance companies that love to suck every last dime out of pharmacies by auditing for stupid mistakes and making the pharmacy pay the money back… AHHHHHHHHHH It can be good to be certified but all the info that PTCB shoves down your throat is wasteful and a headache!

    • Chronic Pain Patient says:

      TO “Pharmacy tech gone postal “,

      It’s people like you who shouldn’t be allowed near a pharmacy in the first place, go work at a gas station…you’ll see more addicts there. My pain is from a fractured pelvis that healed incorrectly, and I’ve had many surgeries to try and repair the first complications and without success. I live in CONSTANT pain….so just because you decided to take a few classes to be a pharm tech, that gives you the right to compare me and every other legit pain patient to an “ungrateful hydrocodone addicts, crackheads, welfare spongers and general assholes “?

      If I traded our lives, for one hour and actually got to wake up pain free and go to a job where I could do something productive, meaningful and helpful for other people….and you would be the one stuck in bed, worrying about being able to walk to he bathroom or even how much longer you could live in the amount of pain that I have to experience day in and day out, not to mention the TERRIBLE effect it has on your family!

      And then on top of that you go to your monthly Dr appointment, and after you visit with your MUCH, MUCH MORE QUALIFIED DOCTOR (compared to you and your HOURS of education), who prescribed a legal script for you based on his/her diagnosis. Then you take it to your pharmacy to get it filled. Hopefully you will run into someone, who is the likes of you. A person who has no objectivity at all, and from what I’m hearing on this thread, has just enough education to make you dangerous. You would have to pray that you would be lucky enough to get a professional, and that you were not going to get treated like crap from some wanna-b-jerk, who has NO CLUE and 1/1000 the information about your condition as you have learned from your doctors and from experience, after dealing with it for 10 years.

      Maybe, instead of Crushing’s Disease, they should stress that techs have NO place to assuming that everyone who walks into a pharmacy and asks to have a dr’s pain medicine prescription filled is a junkie and to treat them like that. If they are giving you reasons to suspect that the prescription is faked then by all means call the dr…WHO ACTUALLY EXAMINED THEM, to make sure the script wasn’t stolen and faked. Unless you can prove there is criminal action by a SPECIFIC person, keep your personal, worthless opinions to yourself and stop lumping every patient toether.

      Get over yourself. And if your so freaking smart, then save the world from US junkies and go to medical school and find the cure to chronic pain!

  20. mysterytech says:

    i’m a NON-certified technician in new hamshire and i agree with you, and it’s one of the reasons i never bothered to become certified. techs i’ve worked with who considered certification bring in booklets and practice tests and i look them over and i KNOW i’m never going make practical application of 80% of this stuff. i’m not legally permitted to give advice or council to patients. and i’m never going to need to know anything about mixing IV bags in my retail setting. if the test looked more practical to my actual situation, maybe i would spend the money and take the time out of my life to study and take the test.

  21. Grace with a sigh says:

    I’m a CPhT (required for techs in my state) and an intern. I liked what I learned for the tech test so much that I quit my art degree and went to pharmacy school!

  22. A CPhT says:

    I agree that most of the stuff on the exam is pretty useless. But consider… we have had people apply for tech positions that can’t do the math to determine an amoxicillin dose. I have worked with techs that don’t know if Lipitor is for cholesterol or diabetes. And customers call all the time saying “Can you fill my blood pressure pill?” Would you prefer the tech to have to say, “Hey Angry, is Norvasc for blood pressure?” or just fill it and have done? Do you remember that 20/20 episode that aired not so long ago? Techs really need to have some sort of standardization. At least the CPhT exam is a start at that.

    • EdisEd says:

      @ A CPhT – on the 20/20 you are referring to, it is always best to keep in mind, that much of their “statistics” and “scenarios” that were shown in the episode were based on false pretenses. If I remember correctly, they had people pose as customers and purchase a prescription AND aspirin at the same time, with a medication that should NOT be taken in combination with aspirin and were SHOCKED at the number of patients who received no warning at the dangerous reaction. However, they were assuming that the person behind the counter was most likely a pharmacist, which is usually not the case.

      While I do agree that techs should have some knowledge base to catch simple interactions like that, and refer them to the pharmacist, the PTCB exam is a poor way to fix the issue.

      As someone who has debated whether or not the certification is worth it (where I work, CPhT’s make about $1 more) I have come to the conclusion that it is not, until they diversify the tests to reflect actual working situations. There should be 2-3 different certifications. Retail and Hospital for sure, and maybe a Specialty/Compounding exam (the last would be beneficial to those techs in states where the law permits them to do compounding) and you would need a separate certificate for each pharmacy setting. And please, leave the elementary math and pharmacology out of it!

  23. Rebecca says:

    As a former technician for almost 10 years prior to finally deciding to go to pharmacy school, I can attest to 2 things. 1) getting the certification for a job in retail is a waste of time and money
    2) when your a tech you may think you know what your talking about…but you have no idea.

    • PharmGoneRn says:

      Dear Rebecca, it is never safe to make such broad generalizations. I for one was trained by the military and DO happen to know what I’m talking about (although I’m forbidden to talk about it!). Military techs (and there are a lot of us out there) ARE required to know quite a bit more and often perform INDEPENDENTLY WITHOUT PHARMACISTS (as I did). It’s just a shame there is isn’t room for us in the ‘real world’. I just wish there were a REAL test for people who DO know what they’re talking about – and a REAL job for those who pass.

      • SusannahMio says:

        PharmGoneRn, my guess is you don’t have nearly the amount of knowledge a pharmacist does. And while it is quite possible that you know more than us lowly non-military techs, the reality is that it doesn’t matter. The whole point of the pharmacy technician job is to assist the pharmacist in things that don’t relate to quality assurance or counseling (A.K.A. the stuff we can’t do!). You want a special title because you know a little bit more than the rest of us? How about super pharmacy tech? And what is it that you do again? Oh you answer some questions about a few things you might know. But not everything. Because you don’t know everything. And you know why? Because you’re not a pharmacist. If you want to counsel then do what the rest of us do and go to pharmacy school. Otherwise you can take your so-called advanced military knowledge and shove it up your ass.

      • PharmIntern says:

        “I just wish there were a REAL test for people who DO know what they’re talking about – and a REAL job for those who pass.”

        In my neck of the woods, there are! The test is called the NAPLEX, also known as the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination, and the job is that of a Pharmacist, acquired once one passes said NAPLEX.

        Perhaps you’ve heard of them?

    • ldd.taryn says:

      i have been a tech for 2 years now and have worked in mail order and retail pharmacy settings. i can openly and honestly say i have run across some pharmacy student with one year left to becoming a pharmacist that doesnt know that a duragesic patch is a narcotic! and some pharmacists that cant comprehend youngs law and clarks law for child dosing. i think my schooling and the books they provided me taught me well enough to assist the pharmacist whom ever they may be. i dont know every thing out there that there is to know but i do know alot.

      plus in my state you have to be certified with in a year of working in a pharmacy and for most jobs in my state as well being certified will get you a higher pay.

  24. rxgal says:

    I personally cringe when I hear/see techs, certified or not, giving medical advice to patients. I am an intern. When the pharmacists are busy, it is MY job to give that advice. I have been in college for 6 years and have that much plus more of retail/hospital/clinic experience. I don’t think just because you pass one test you are suddenly educated enough to make recommendations to patients. I was a tech before I got in pharmacy school and I never DARED to give medical advice, even about OTC meds. I’ve even had a patient ask me a question about an OTC medication, only to have a tech (non-certified I might add) interrupt me to tell the patient what was the “best thing to use.” And this tech couldn’t even pass her pre-req algebra 1 test to get in to nursing school. God help us all. Techs, don’t overstep your boundaries. Seriously. It’s someone’s life you are dealing with.

  25. Aaron in Florida says:

    I took my CPhT exam. Nailed it, 850 points of a possible 900. I had been a hospital tech for about two years at that point. Didn’t study a damn bit for the exam, and went out and partied and drank the night before. Only took it because the hospital that I was at offered a $2/hour raise if you were certified. Now, four years later, I’ve let it lapse, and have no intention of renewing it, it’s such a crock of shit, even from a hospital perspective. Anyways, I’m at a different hospital now, one that doesn’t pay a premium for the cert.

  26. Laura says:

    I got certified through a program offered to high school seniors in my area. The cost was a LOT less than what it would be if I did the classes at the local community college ($800 vs. $1200). It also took a shorter amount of time.
    However, the only reason any of that information will be pertinent to me is because I became a CPhT as a stepping stone to pharmacy school.
    Why give someone all this information and not allow them to use it? Techs are not legally allowed to counsel patients. In one of the workbooks we had, it would pose questions that patients might have and 99.999% of the time the answer was “Refer the patient to the pharmacist.”

    • EdisEd says:

      “Techs are not legally allowed to counsel patients.” – The really sad thing, is that the photo tech, service clerk, or beautician (obviously at a larger retail chain) have no pharmacy training at all, and give “suggestions” all the time.

      • TechNTX says:

        There is the rule anyone can make a suggestion but not give medical advice, but most of us CPhT’s with some sense know that the line is determined by the State board and “Refer Patien to Pharmacist” always. I can give advice as a layman but once I’m at work I’m a proffesional. It is crazy that the front end will tell people their old Grandma Bessie Kay’s remedies but we can’t say, “Thats not really something you should give a child”. I think they should be trained to “Refer Patient/Customer to Pharmacist” instead of giving dangerous advice.

  27. I agree with Andrew..
    If you know what your scope of practice is, as a tech, it still does not preclude your knowledge base and if you are working in a “team environment”, your knowledge is input into makeing sure your client is safe and gets the appropriate care; ie understanding enough to catch the errors, or therapeutically save man power in doing IVs or something cause the script wasnt right or didnt follow protocols or…
    Usually techs are the ones to see more info; a broader picture of the client, from all sorts of basis, than the pharm does (and I am talking both retail and hospital).
    And CPhT.. I totally agree with you
    I lost (my choice) my CphT cause I went on to another field (H&S and couldn’t keep my hours up.. cant work 7 days a week).
    K.. claws out… it looks like a lot of techs, or pharms looking for techs, are looking for non-thinkers, easy hires.. I wont go the pill and fill route.
    There is a line drawn. And believe it or not, it was drawn before I even started 25 years ago.
    This is a long old debate *sigh*, but “angry pharmacist”, I think there are enough of us that think you are wrong.. or you have not yet learned to let go & trust some of us to do what you used to do so that you can do fully what you need to do now. Some of us have the skills.. if you ensure those you hire have the skills…..

  28. just a tech says:

    My state requires all technicians to register with the state board. In order to register with them, you have to be nationally certified. Although once you’re registered you’re not penalized if you let the CPhT expire. I took the test relatively cold turkey – I had worked as a pharm clerk for a few months, and took a practice test online. Reading all of this, I am so so glad I didn’t do any formal schooling for it, because I probably would be just as frustrated.

  29. Ellen RPh says:

    And now, to add insult to injury, JCHOA is requiring all, make that ALL, techs to be nationally certified if you want to be accredited for whatever purpose. I work for an agency, and they will now only be able to employ CPhTs!!

  30. Ellen RPh says:

    And now, to add insult to injury, JCHOA is requiring all, make that ALL, techs to be nationally certified if you want to be accredited for whatever purpose. I work for an agency, and they will now only be able to employ CPhTs!!

  31. Lizzie says:

    I totally agree. Our company pays for us to be certified and they pay for us to do the CE’s required every 2 years to keep up our certification. I don’t use any of that knowledge that I learned in the classes that our company provides for us, eventhough I did get the highest grades in the classes. If it wasn’t paid for, and if I didn’t get a nice hefty raise for doing it I surely wouldn’t have. But since they do pay for it w/in 6 months if you’re not certified you have to become certified through the company. But hey at least I didn’t waste MY money!

  32. rxlynn says:

    I understand the frustration of the retail techs regarding some of the topics covered on the PTCB exam. However, there is a historical reason for that – the test was originally developed for techs in hospital positions. Frankly, I’m not sure that the retail chains would have ever supported the certification process on their own – they sort of got drawn into it because of the states starting to regulate techs more heavily.

  33. stumblingblock says:

    I am dependant on good techs to do my job. But I wonder in whose interests it is in to professionalize technicians. They get no more money but must pay huge sums to get licensed now. No doubt the intention in the future is to have a system where techs are responsible for prescription dispensing, eliminating the need for expensive pharmacists.

  34. Aaron in Florida says:

    Um… Ellen RPh, can you point us towards that particular piece of goodness?

  35. SassyTech says:

    While Im not certified, I am a tech, and I am with you all the way. All I need to know is how to count by fives and generic names. Why I have to pay a crapload of money to learn something Ill never use is beyond me.

  36. SassyTech says:

    While Im not certified, I am a tech, and I am with you all the way. All I need to know is how to count by fives and generic names. Why I have to pay a crapload of money to learn something Ill never use is beyond me.

  37. Lisa Bane, CPhT says:

    I think I love you.
    I have worked in a pharmacy for nigh 2 years now, and no one has been able to put forth concise, well-put, and hilarious arguments against all of the issues facing anyone in a pharmacy these days. I plan on spending several hours alternately laughing my ass off and emphatically nodding as I go back and read your previous posts. I’m particularly looking forward to the post about the 20/20 special that aired a couple of months ago. Thank you.

  38. Holiday says:

    I took the test 2 years ago (no classes, just studied and took the test) and while most of the material I looked over was interesting and informative, I cannot legally use much of it. Also, I work with another tech who constantly oversteps her bounds and uses personal experience as grounds to counsel. (“My Dad had that procedure done and he was able to take that drug with no problem!”) She has often asked me for my study materials for the exam and I shudder to think what a little more knowledge would do to her ego. She would turn in to the pseudo-pharmacists that you’ve been complaining about! But I do believe that I am a better tech for learning more about the profession, laws, drugs and disease states. I just know and abide by my limits.

    • PharmIntern says:

      “But I do believe that I am a better tech for learning more about the profession, laws, drugs and disease states. I just know and abide by my limits.”

      In my humble opinion, that mindset would make for the *ultimate* pharmacy technician. It’s not a problem in my pharmacy, but I can see how a little bit of knowledge might exponentially expand the egos of some CPhT’s.

      As long as a CPhT knows and abides by their limitations, I see no problem with a national certification. I think it’s ridiculous that they often have to pay for it themselves and keep up with the CE credits on their own dime, but a humble and educated tech is a better tech to me.

  39. Jyoti says:

    Hi everyone!
    I have another complaint for yah. I’ve been a tech for about 3 years and have just been promoted. However, the promotion includes being certified, which I am not. I just started studying for test and all i can say is, “that’s crap.” Techs shouldn’t have to be responsible to know that stuff. Thats why you work under the pharmacist license, right? Guess not!

  40. Healthmate says:

    There’s a place in a busy, modern pharmacy for a tech to consult customers about OTC products and vitamins. Today, that would include Alli, Prilosec, Miralax, Zaditor, Nicoderm, Mucinex, Naproxen and Plan B. They wouldn’t alter recommended dosages relative to medical conditions or a current Rx profile without speaking to a RPh but the RPh wouldn’t have to stop what they were doing to go to the consult window to talk OTCs. For the retail pharmacy, this would be a more valuable certification than the current one. Label them CCPhTs – Certified Consulting Pharmacy Techs. I’m embarrassed to hear pharmacists admonish techs for informing customers about what OTC products are on the shelf and what they do. It sounds too much like “I’m the Pharmacist. I’ll tell the customer where the Robitussin is.”

  41. fred says:

    being certified and learning all that extra stuff just makes one a better tech. a good tech knows his legal (and knowledge) boundries.. and will adhere to them. a good tech will also know what to refill when john doe walks up and says “please refill my cholesterol pill”.
    The information on the exam, for me, has proved worth it.

  42. Lucky says:

    Allow techs to counsel on OTC’s? Absolutely not. The difference between an OTC and a prescription medication is nothing more than a few oddly thought out laws.
    Are we going to teach techs about arachidonic acid pathways and interactions?
    It took me an entire undergrad education to get to the point where I could fully understand and appreciate these matters.
    Allowing techs to counsel on OTC’s would be a huge liability and safety issue, and would further blur the lines in the public’s eyes as to who does what in the pharmacy. In addition it would further the public’s perception that OTC’s are harmless.

  43. Pharmacy Technician, Too says:

    Count me as yet ANOTHER tech who never used 90% of that PTCB stuff. I was certified six years but thank goodness: I don’t have to renew this year! (I got a job in my field now. Now I just get to pay off student loans for the degree! >_<)

  44. Phlebotomist says:

    I work in the lab at a hospital in AZ and was recently told by a level III CPHT that I shouldnt waste my money by going to school. She said to buy the book, study for the test, and the hospital would pay to take the exam. And than once I have passed I can be hired as a tech and within 6 months or so of actual experience I could apply anywhere. Is this true? Should I not worry about the actual classroom time?
    Thanks, Curious

  45. Retailrefugee says:

    The question becomes, who is liable? No matter how meds are dispensed or advice given, someone is liable for damages if a mistake is made. I tell my techs that they do not get paid enough to accept the liability involved in the performance of professional RPh. duties.

    • PharmGoneRn says:

      YES! YES! YES! Dammit, why can’t anyone understand this? If we’re NOT making any more $$$$$ to acquire knowledge we’re NOT allowed to use anyway, WHY THE HELL WOULD ANYONE WANT TO ASSUME THE LIABILITY!?!?!? I couldn’t care less what joe public thinks I know or don’t know–doesn’t change my paycheck by one penny!

  46. JustTheBS says:

    –Um… Ellen RPh, can you point us towards that particular piece of goodness?–
    I’m not Ellen, but she is referring to JCHAO certified hospitals. For a hospital to be JCHAO certified, all their pharmacy technician must be CPHT. JCHAO certification of hospitals is optional, and many hospitals are not JCHAO certified. So what Ellen says is only true of certain hospitals.

  47. Tyler Salzman says:

    I’m amazed, you didn’t get any upset techs busting your ass over this one. I’m telling everyone I know about your site, it’s the best thing I’ve discovered since women.

  48. pharmacyintern2010 says:

    I don’t mind techs telling someone the X is down aisle 3. I would never allow think to let a tech tell someone what to take for an OTC, there are questions that need to be asked because maybe you shouldn’t be taking a cough suppressant and should be seeing your doctor because may its not the common cold but rather pneumonia. Techs don’t carry malpractice insurance to cover them like pharmacists and doctors do. I really would not want someone who has been a tech for 6 months and passed the exam telling me its okay to more than 8 tylenol a day because it won’t really hurt me because they do it and take 6 benedryl a night to sleep, that really giving me a feeling of safety, not. I’ve also seen on amazon.com books about becoming a tech and it seems like a bunch are trying to make it out that you’ll be just like a pharmacist, half of one book was on compounding techniques and methods. Of course the only time I know of that its a good idea to get certified in is if your working in a nuclear pharmacy and are a nuclear tech.

  49. june says:

    hay i took the test and fail it by 45 point and i study alot of math and when i took the test it was about the laws and drugs i go 605 and i will retake it because my hospital woun’t let you work with out it now so if any one can tell me what on line test they took to help them pass the test because i will not pay 4,000 to take it at the community collage. help?

    • Robert says:

      You are absolutely correct, don’t waste the money !!! Instead, take a simple english course and learn to communicate first. You will be able to make yourself understood.

  50. Joe says:

    im not certified but will be eventually, sucks that the test is so bad but some do plan to work in hospitals which the knowledge would be previlent in knowing.

  51. 1R1SHN0MAD says:

    Well June, I have been a tech for almost 10 years now. I wouldn’t want anyone such as yourself getting your hands on this info. You don’t sound as though you even got your highschool diploma. I have to agree with everyone already posted up here. You only use about 5% of the information you are required to know to take this test. No, techs counseling on OTC meds is a bad idea, if for not other reasons, you don’t know how that OTC is going to interact with their RX. I think the only thing the certification does for us Techs is it helps us to get better wages. I took the damn thing piss ass drunk. NO seriously, I was 22 and my district trainer from the big corpo chain was going out with the senior techs in my store and some other friends of mine so I didn’t care and I went. They promised to have me back by midnight. My husband tells me I showed up about 3 am, I don’t know how I got to the test site. I had to run out and throw up a couple of times, I feel bad for the janitor, and I was the next to last person out of the test. The damn thing was riddled with IV calcs. I WORK IN A DAMN RETAIL PHARMACY! If it makes you feel better I didn’t just luck into passing the test, I had already graduated with a BS in biology and took Calculus for fun. It just made it a challenge for me for once, I had to actually concentrate, which only made me wanna throw up more.

  52. kytech says:

    FYI: the CPhT test is a crock of shit.
    I took the test several years ago and have since let my certification run out. Why? Simply because I don’t need it. The class was a waste of time, the test was also. Plus, everything that I learned in class was pointless. What the tech needs to know he/she learns from hands-on training in a pharmacy.

  53. Aarin says:

    I read the original post and some of the responses to it. I had to stop, it was making me sick. First and foremost, it is not

  54. Dawn says:

    Some of you interns really have no respect for Pharmacy Technicians. They do a lot for the pharmacy. Some of you act like they are idiots, but for the most part, they are really knowledgeable. I would hope no one that I know that works in a pharmacy as a Technician would tell anyone to take eight tylenol per day. I know I wouldn’t. It doesn’t take a genius to know that, and you are making Techs out to be idiots by making the statement “i really would not want someone who has been a tech for 6 months and passed the exam telling me its okay to more than 8 tylenol a day”. You’re making the Pharmacy Technician profession out to be a joke. And by the way pharmacyintern2010, you spelled Benadryl wrong, I can think of plenty technicians that could spell that right. I really hope that some of you interns don’t treat your future techs with this type of disrespect.

    • PharmIntern says:

      Being an intern myself, I realize that techs are an integral part of the pharmacy, but that doesn’t change the fact that techs counseling patients on both RX and OTC items is 100% a bad idea.

      My favorite techs are the ones who realize and respect their boundaries. I freak out a little bit when I hear techs recommending OTC products to patients, especially in scenarios where they recommend pseudoephedrine products to people without asking what their blood pressure is like. Congrats, you may have increased their chances of stroking out.

      You get the picture. Respect your boundaries and do what you’re hired to do, and everyone will be happy.

      • Just another CPhT says:

        I agree, techs shouldn’t give any recommendations at all. I think I’m a good tech that knows my boundaries. I have 3 interns this summer, reading out directions written on bottles as a “consultation”, not telling the pt things to look out for, things to avoid, not being clear about dosing, etc… I also hoped that one of those pts took my suggestion (god forbid), read the leaflet, so she would know not to drink alcohol with her Metronidazole. The swamped pharmacist on duty didn’t say anything… I overheard an intern getting an NSAID mixed up with a SSRI when consulting a pt. I just hoped that I didn’t overstep my boundaries by nudging the pharmacist to bring it to his attention. To PharmIntern, I’ve heard the same scenario but with the interns and pharmacists recommending pseudoephedrine to pts without inquiring about their blood pressure. Anyway, I think we work in a pharmacy as a team, everyone should have respect for others. I’m glad I work in that kind of environment but sometimes with interns, initially, we don’t see that.

  55. Dustin says:

    Remedial? I think you mean menial.

  56. Hospital Tech says:

    My employer is offering a 5% raise and an additional $1 on top of my shift differential if I get certified so I’m going to do it. I’ve been resisting this crap for 7 years. My main issue with it is some stupid organization can pop up and offer certification for something I’ve been doing for years and then my employer can seize upon it and use it to exclude me from a raise.
    Maybe I could start an organization that certifies burger flippers, we could make of test with a mixed bag of questions about e. coli telemeres and handwashing laws, then everybody who works at mcdonalds would have to give me $150 before they can get a raise. Sounds absurd? That whats happening to Rx techs right now.

  57. anonymous says:

    Iowa is now requiring all technicians, including retail techs, to be certified by 2010 or they can’t practice the duties of a pharmacy technician in the state of Iowa. Should be interesting to see how many independent stores get in trouble while big chains get a free pass as always.
    Gee, I wonder if they’ll change the exam so it’s actually relevant to retail technicians, who are the vast majority of people required to take the test now in Iowa? Yeah right. It’ll still be questions about compounding intraveneous solutions and cleaning laminar flow hoods, and no questions about important things like how not to cross legal and ethical lines while dealing with the public. Wait, you mean most techs actually deal with human beings, and not laminar flow hoods? Noooo.

  58. techseeker says:

    anyone interested in becoming a non-certified/full time lab assistant?
    i saw a job availability at a compounding pharmacy in my local paper
    http://www.thecompounder.com has information

  59. oregon techgrl says:

    Oregon is now requiring all techs to be certified. I have been cert. for 8 years now and only because my employer offered to pay for it as well as a raise..so why not. You are all right..too much on the test is not relevant to retail rx..but I figure I learned something..the problem is that now with many states joining in requiring techs to all be certified they are hiring techs who were certified “who the H knows where” and they do not know how to read a handwritten rx, give a pt 150mg of amox. susp when all there is on the shelf is 250/5 susp., or that the insulin goes into the fridge whenit comes from the freight..not on the shelf where strips and meters are(duh)…yet they get paid the same wages as CPhTs that have been doing the job much longer. So they didn’t have the same test as most I am sure…maybe only how to spell PHARMACY was the only question.
    NOT ALL CPhTs ARE CREATED EQUAL..
    and a good tech always knows the boundaries and not to councel patients…that is why the RPH is there!!

  60. Anonymous Licensed CPhT says:

    I am not at all shocked that this blog exists, the name says it all… I didn’t even read that many entries as I found it too irritating. I have worked as a licensed CPhT for about 5 years now, and have always felt the hatred from the RPhs in my company as they have always outlandishly displayed how much better they were than the technicians. I have always wondered how these highly educated individuals could be so deeply threatened by the (“lowly”) technicians so much so that they had to rub it in our faces every chance they got. For what reason, I wondered. I never found a logical answer to that question. Sheer arrogance, I guess. Well, it was definitely a shock to be verbally abused by seemingly mature adults; most of them were close to retirement age! I dealt with this kind of treatment for a couple years, but what these individuals didn’t know was that I was very close to getting my BA in Psychology. Not so much “just a dumb little tech” anymore, huh?! To their utmost surprise, I had found my way up the corporate ladder and even before I graduated, I accepted a promotion into a department that was actually the backbone of the company. I now make well more than double what I made as “just a tech” however I still use my technician skills on a daily basis. It was one of the reasons why I was hired into my position in the first place. Not only did I have the technical ability to perform the job and understand pharmacy benefits and operations, but I combined that with my education, communication and business skills to get a job that only a handful of people in the world have. I am unable to disclose who I work for or even provide my title, as that would give my identity away, and I fear that I would be recognized by my colleagues, internally and externally. So to those of you who still think that a CPhT is of no use and will get you nowhere, think again. When did having

    • PharmIntern says:

      For every tech such as yourself who manages to catapult themselves into a higher position, there will be 1,000 other techs who remain exactly where they are.

      You’re missing the point of this post entirely.

      Techs are there to do their jobs, and they are an integral part of the pharmacy. The problem that occurs is when they overstep their boundaries. They are not pharmacists.

      • Another CPhT says:

        Having worked as a tech for four years in a retail setting, nothing irritates me more than the summer season when we get shipped interns from all of the pharmacy schools nearby. Interns come in with much less work experience and SUCH an arrogant sense of entitlement. The role of a technician, certified or not, is extremely important in a busy pharmacy. The majority of the techs I know are, like me, working through school towards becoming a pharmacist or other medical professional. Even if that higher education is not a goal, who the hell are you to judge them for wanting to stay in their jobs? Pharmacists need to get over this idea that people who arent interested in or dont have the means to go through years and years of schooling are NOT somehow lesser human beings.

        If you’re hoping to become a pharmacist, I hope someone stops you before you get into a job where you treat your techs like ignorant bottom feeders because at the end of the day they’ll be making your job a hell of a lot easier.

        • PharmIntern says:

          Where the hell did I EVER say I think techs are lesser human beings and ignorant bottom-feeders??

          All I’m saying is that techs shouldn’t be providing recommendations to patients — that’s the job of the pharmacist! The pharmacist has the knowledge to do that — not techs! Hell, not even me most of the time!

          Stop putting cyber-words in my cyber-mouth; I don’t appreciate that. A lot of our techs know more than I do, anyway. I don’t consider myself arrogant, and I don’t think they do either. I have nothing to be arrogant about.

          Why does everything have to turn into an argument about whether techs are worthless or not? That’s not even close to what this post is about! TAP’S original post was that the national tech certification is more or less a waste of time and money. I completely agree that techs are absolutely essential to the smooth operations of the pharmacy, and would never say otherwise.

          My point I was trying to make was that techs are not pharmacists; how can you even argue with that statement? I’M not even a pharmacist yet, and I’m still uncomfortable making recommendations!

          And how am I judging techs for wanting to stay in their jobs? I agree that national cert looks good on paper, but as many people as well as TAP pointed out, it’s ultimately pointless in practical retail practice, especially for the money it costs. Yes, of course there is the possiblility that it will help you later on, but I don’t know what the odds are vs. the money the cert costs.

          I’ve worked for 3 years at my pharmacy; I’m not a fly-by-night intern. Every day at work I see the importance and value of the technicians, and I realize how hellish life would be were it only the pharmacist, or the pharmacist and an intern.

          I feel that you’ve completely missed the point of my post, as well as the point of TAP’s original rant. I also don’t appreciate you implying that because I’m an intern, I’m an arrogant jerk with a sense of entitlement. While I know several interns that are just that, most of the interns I know try as hard as possible just to blend into the background workings of the pharmacy.

          Stop twisting things around.

  61. Anita Roberts says:

    I am itching to comment on this. How many technicians do you know that have advanced to the Director of Pharmacy position in a specialty pharmacy? That’s where this useless knowledge got me. I also make more than the average pharmacist. Thanks for all of the negativity. I would certainly have never advanced anywhere around you. I respect your right to your opinion.

    • PharmIntern says:

      You’re the director of a pharmacy? With a technician certification and nothing else? Making more than the average pharmacist?

      I smell bullshit.

  62. G-zirra says:

    I’m posting “anonymously” just because I’m too lazy to register …
    I am a CPhT. I did not pay for any “classes”. I just had to pay to take the exam, for which I was reimbursed after passing. I’m actually looking to write a study guide/study aids (don’t want to call it anything else, because then I could have liability if some dumbass uses something in it to do something stupid) for the CPhT exam. Every review i’ve seen has A&P and shit in it. That’s a waste of paper. 5 sections (will be RPh approved!) – 1) basic math (or, shit you should already know) 2) applying the basic math (basically IV, money, dosages)3)Why you shouldn’t yell out “Mr. Doe, your Viagra is ready at the counter”, The Red Book is not a women’s magazine and other pharmacy books and legal-ese 4) Completely random shit that they’ll ask you about 5) the 50/50 split, “Oh, you so tricky american!” and other test taking skills.
    TAP – you pretty much hit it right on the head, as per usual. A majority of (but not all) Techs won’t do much with what they learn for the test – that is, nothing fun (I’m a science lab nerd, so I’d give my left nut and half my liver to do compounding or REAL IV mixing, not just making NS or D5W …).
    I will make the assumption, though, that the paragraphs about thinking we know the answers, and sounding like we know what we are talking about is in regards to complicated shit, like why Drug X + Drug Y = Heath Ledger. You know, shit we’d expect a Pharm.D. to know.
    Not something like how many mL of something should be dispensed for a particular dose. That’s numbers, and I would be so bold as to say that I DO know what I’m talking about in that basic realm. As for other techs, I couldn’t be so sure (Majority of my Tech co-workers would make Sarah Palin’s baby and Corky point and say “God DAMN you are fucking retarded”).
    As for me, I looked at a metric shit-ton of practice tests, and determined the main things I needed to know from there. Most of the ones I looked at didn’t ask anything specific about diseases, side effects, interactions, etc, unless it was a distinct or BIG one – like warfarin/aspirin, or Ace-I’s and the dry hacking cough …
    I, unfortunately, pissed a couple people off at work by saying that these new Pharmacy Technican programs at tech schools and community colleges are an absolute rip-off. I didn’t know these people were in these programs, or I’d have had more tact … I believe my direct quote was “I can’t believe there are people dumb and gullible enough to drop 6-7 grand on a Pharmacy Tech school. Shit, give me 10% of that, and 3 weeks, and they’ll pass the CPhT, which is really all you get out of the program.” … Which started the retort of “it’s the experience you get, blah blah blah” … it was ugly. But, anyway …
    To “Anonymous Licensed CPhT” – WTF? Probably you were one of the following – A) you were either lazy, did a shitty job, tried to flaunt “knowledge,” had an attitude problem, or just generally pissed off the RPh’s or B) you happened to get a shitty group of Pharmacists to work with (Haven’t met many RPh’s that looked down on their techs, unless you were among the A group).

  63. Christine says:

    I agree. I can remember going over this with the pharmacist when I was studying for it. It’s a little ridiculous. But… now I’m an RN and I still carry my CPhT because it was so freaking hard to get I refuse to let it go. And I have to do way more CE to retain it than I do to retain my RN… Although I gotta say, what I learn in the CE sure helps with my current position, so I figure why not…

  64. Matt says:

    I took this test a little over two weeks ago and passed it. I didn’t pay for any classes, only for the exam and a couple of textbooks which I studied at home. Yes, the books seemed to have information in them that I’ll probably never use, but doesn’t it seem that maybe you’re not giving the techs enough credit here? “Remedial tasks of a pharmacist under the direct supervision of a pharmacist” doesn’t exactly give the tech credit, since it is the tech who will spend most of their time looking at the patients profile, and thus the tech who will most likely be able to spot an error or possible conflict. No, it’s not a doctorate, and thus no, we shouldn’t be giving medical advice, but maybe, just maybe, you don’t think it might be good to have an extra person who can look for the more common drugs and know how they might cause fuck-ups with something a person has just walked in and handed over a prescription for?

  65. rph3664 says:

    June, if you write that poorly, it shouldn’t surprise me that you failed it. Do us all a favor and don’t pass it, ever.
    The only person I know of who did fail it was in special ed all the years she was in school, and now works in the hospital laundry. She got divorced a while back and gave custody of her child to her widowed mother, if that tells you anything more.

  66. chilihead says:

    It must be fate that I stumbled upon this entry. I only recenty became a subscriber to TAP and thus missed this part.
    I am discouraged and demoralized that I still cannot find a job, even a job in this sort of “recession proof” industry. Luckily I did not pay tens of thousands of dollars on schooling like others have at “diploma mills.” My online course ran about $1400.00 and I took it online (RxTechSchool.com) but still I am beginning to feel taken by another diploma mill myself.
    If it is not one thing, it’s another. If I lack experience in a pharmacy setting, it is that I do not have recent work experience period. The twenty years of work I did at other industries, interupted recently by caring for a newborn baby and a husband who struggled with a potentially deadly illness, does not mean dog shit to anyone. I’ll just go on welfare at this point. Hey, maybe I’ll finally get the much-needed job placement assistance?
    Well, I have been able to get about four interviews this month of December but still no job. It may be a bit of light to my search through the darkness, as I heard a rumor that December is the hardest month to find a job in a pharmacy setting… at least to this arrogant “counselor” I had to deal with from this diploma mill. I don’t think highly of this “counselor.” I think he just does not want to deal with me so he can go do Christmas shopping, based on the tone of that arrogant ass the last few times. But I digress.
    In one job interview, I spoke at long last with an actual pharmacist who expressed befuddlement at what the certification course and exam includes, such as the counseling. Even a beginner like myself knows that is way beyond my scope of practice. I’ve been an assistant in other settings (lab assistant, veterinary assistant, administrative assistant) and seem to have that mindset anyway. I would not even consider myself the proverbial Robin to Batman, more like Alfred.
    On the other hand, I have met nightmare people who get swell-headed and start doing things way beyond their scope of practice even if it is illegal. It is like dealing with a teenager that thinks he/she knows everything. They get delusions of grandeur that they run the company just because of a few small achievements. I do not mean to undermine achievements of any kind, but I refer to those who cannot or will not keep it in perspective. Then they get belligerent and bullheaded when confronted about what they are doing. Usually they wind up getting fired after shooting off at the mouth towards a boss or some other crazy, careless thing.

  67. Paul says:

    What a bunch of crybaby’s. I was working in a dead end job and took the CPhT course at a local college on a whim. 10 week course, 50 classroom hours, and a certificate. I took the test and passed, got the ptcb cert. I got a job as a tech in a home delivery pharmacy within two weeks. I moved on from there and now work for a managed health care company and am making twice the money I was making before I got this certificate. It has paid for itself many times over. I am thankful for the opportunity’s it has provided me and in this day and age I recommend other people to get the damn thing. Sure there are some things I don’t use, but that’s the same as any college degree. I have friends who graduated two years ago with a BS or BA and still wait tables. I am thankful every day for that damn piece of paper.

  68. Tyler says:

    There are a lot of good points that people have made comments on in response to the first post. However, there are a lot of things pharmacists never learn that I’m surprised they aren’t tought in school. I have a BA in Environmental Science and I’m a Certified Technician with 7 years experience and it seems they don’t know the basics that you learn in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. I have constantly corrected pharmacists about basic knowledge that they have either foregotten over the years or simply didn’t learn. With that being said, my girlfriend currently is a pharmacy student at an accredited school and the material she brings home to study only preps her 20 to 30 percent for a hosptial job. It seems today that pharmacists are only being preped for retail positions because they bring home the most money.
    When I was working in the pharmacy field a couple years ago, retail and hospital the pharmacists would often look to me for answers to simple questions that doctors and patients had about products. Im not saying Im all knowing and better then a PharmD but I can tell you that they better not think they’re all knowing either. A lot of them are aholes that think just because theyre a pharmacist that they are given the key to omnipotent knowledge.
    And that is why, even though I was accepted to pharmacy school, never went. Because, I never wanted to be mistaken for one of those people by ever thinking that I know more than another fellow human. I show it by doing and performing my job, not by a piece of paper that reads BS Pharmacy or PharmD. In addition that whole grandfathering of non PharmDs should have never happened. They should be forced to get a PharmD if we want to get on that subject. License to kill. I worked with 3 BS and 1 PharmD and that 1 PharmD was the only one that knew his head from his ass. Thats sad 3 out of 4 can’t perform their job.

  69. Mike says:

    All of you who say that the information is unnecessary don’t get it. If you’re a tech just for the sake of being a tech and you don’t give a shit about what you do, then getting certified is pointless. If, on the other hand, you are actually interested in what you are doing and wish to further your career, then getting certified just makes sense. Frankly, I was required to get certified, but I get paid more!
    The test was easy as shit. I knew 95% of the material just from 5 years of retail experience. I really hope no one is whining about the test being unnecessary because they found it difficult. Otherwise, that’s pretty sad.

  70. Natalie says:

    I actually JUST took my CPhT exam yesterday. I passed, but I had to laugh. I’ve worked in retail pharmacies before, but wanted to move to hospital, which is why I pushed for the certification and schooling.
    The only things I could use out of the entire thing in retail was the information about calculating dosage, storage, and reconstitution. I can, however, use the rest when I go off to pharmacy school in 2 years. Now, of course, in the hospital, I can do IV mixtures, which is definitely a plus.

  71. dan, noncertified tech says:

    Tyler, that is the point. There is just no way you learned 95% of the information on the test from day-to-day tech duties because 95% of the test has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with being a tech. If you learned all that from being a tech, you were not doing your job, you were doing the pharmacist’s. And given the fact that it’s his license you’re operating under (risk-free), I doubt he appreciates it. No one is whining about it being difficult. Everyone seems to be passing it, but it seems to be causing nothing but potential harm. Having a technician who thinks he knows medicine is like having an air traffic controller who is reading from a script into the mic. Yeah he may sound professional, but god only knows where this precise-sounding information is coming from. An excess of information is fine if the tech realizes how serious understanding the bounds of his job title is. In the hands of an overzealous and overconfident technician, all those extra terms and phrases can become dangerous.

  72. Alan in AZ says:

    As a CPhT, I agree that some of the information we are tested on is non-essential for performing our jobs. That doesn’t mean it’s superfluous or useless. I really appreciated some of the background knowledge that I obtained while studying for the exam. I was also fortunate enough to work for an employer who provided free prep classes (I agree whole-heartedly that community colleges and for-profit diploma mills rip techs off by charging too much for education that can be learned on the job and from a good study guide).

    I disagree, however, that having well-educated techs will necessarily cause problems with them failing to defer work to pharmacists when appropriate. Anyone with access to Wikipedia can “sound” like they know what they’re talking about to a lay person. By giving techs a good amount of background knowledge and testing their understanding of the very basics of pharmacy, we ensure that the “first responders” are qualified to work in the practice. The key is to make sure the techs not only know *what* needs to be escalated to a pharmacist, but *why* it is so (this was incorporated heavily into my test prep training).

    People who are qualified to do their jobs can never have too much knowledge or too many tools to help them. It’s the slobs who don’t know and don’t care to know that worry me.

  73. Dr. Awkward, CPhT says:

    As a certified tech, I’m glad I learned some of the info, but most of it is completely overkill and unnecessary. It often gives otherwise unknowledgeable people the courage to not only say something completely incorrect to others in the pharmacy but also to CONSULT patients on their healthcare. As an employee, I was stoked to find out my chain not only paid for the “class” but also the test and paid me to take classes and I received a raise after I passed…but honestly the math… if i hear another middle aged woman complain about how she can’t add/ subtract fractions… I’ll find you and slap you. As a Pre-Pharm student, its helped 0, so far.

    I limit the “use” of my “knowledge.” By law I can’t use my “knowledge.” The fact that I can prep an IV, I can mix compounds, and I can do 6th grade math makes me nothing more than a … very knowledgeable 6th grader and I can’t stand when a tech consults a patient on anything other than…”yes, the directions on your prescription clearly state you should only take ONE vicoden every 6 hours… thus making your prescription last at least 8 days…. not 2.” or “yes, you do need a NEW prescription every month for your oxycontin… and no you didn’t have refills in your last prescription.”

    Being the only male in my pharmacy is a) awesome and b) horrible. My name tag does not say Dr. Awkward, Pharm. Manager nor does it say store manager, not Pharmacy Distract Supervisor or MD. It says CPhT… and no that doesn’t stand for Captain. Want to complain go to corporate… don’t single me out because I’m the only male and blame me because your insurance won’t cover another refill for another week on a month supply you filled 2 weeks ago. Nor does it say daddy… I’m not your father… I’m not your keeper. Grow up and learn responsibility… and no if your prescription writes for #10 propoxyphene with no refills if you ask me before you fill your rx if we will compensate an extra refill for the pills you “lose down the sink or the toilet.” I will laugh in your face and tell you … No.

    -Dr. Awkward

  74. P.A. says:

    Thank fucking god for this site. Well, I recently passed the exam last march 31st and still can’t get a freaking job :( (help, anyone?) I don’t really mind learning about the extra curricular stuff as I do like it, but paying for them is a bit of a stretch so, yeah, I’d be lucky if corporate America will pay it for me like the above comment posters.

    Can anyone lend a hand here, within the Bay Area or Central Cali? Gotta help my sick mom. Thanks very much sigh

    • Irishwolf says:

      Darn it, I wish you were in the Seattle area. Have been looking for a contract tech for 6 months now. Unfortunately I must go through the contract agency that won the bid form my institution, last one they sent didn’t speak english and left before taking her “piss” test. 30 hours a week, no insurance claims, if a patient is rude you just write them a shot, any takers???

  75. Shane Hester CPhT says:

    I agree and disagree, mainly agree but a lil bit disagree. I am a certified tech and have been for bout 5 years. I was one who went to a local community college and paid 20K for a 2 year associates degree. I did learn alot and wouldn’t trade any of it for anything cause it took me from being a fresh outta high school kid with no clue what to do with his life to now realizing that pharmacy is about the only profession i could ever see myself working. Right now i am working for a big chain, i wont say but it rhymes with bright-maid, and youre exactly right. over 98% of the stuff i have learn is absolutly useless in the retail setting.

  76. measlyTech says:

    I’ve been certified for 4 years now, and I originally just took the test because it was an automatic pay bump. I studied a guide my employer gave me and passed with flying colors. Now, I had only worked in a retail setting up until that point, but learning about IV admixtures and getting a refresher on the lesser-used math really came in handy when I got a job in a hospital a year later. The test I took from the PTCB really only covered the basics. My problem is with these so-called “technician schools” that teach you all this crap, for an insanely high price, and leave the “graduates” with a pretty piece of paper but no effing clue how to bill an insurance claim.

  77. Henry Allred says:

    You have all seemed to miss the point of the classes and continuing education. 1) it generates recurring income for the state board of pharmacy and the schools. 2) it limits entry into the field with the intention of driving up wages. 3.) It gives the impression to the public that you have revived some training.
    I think that the whole idea of training is stupid. Any one whom has had a high school chemistry class (dimensional analysis) and algebra (solve a problem for “X”) should be capably of all of the necessary calculations. The only things of real value taught in the classes are anapestic technique and drug names. Which could be taught by the resident pharmacists and experience.

  78. Brian says:

    you really dont need to know most of that stuff in the books and practice tests. the real test itself is much easier. i think the reason why they have you learn it though is just to make the test hard, so that a fewer number of people can pass it leading to the pay for licensed techs being worth going through all the trouble of getting licensed. no way id do all that for minimum wage.

  79. CPhT for 6 yrs. says:

    I’m really proud of my certification but I 100% agree that I barely use most of the info. I’m really lucky that I’ve kept up on continuing ed and have really good pharmacists that will discuss latest treatments and explain things I don’t understand. *However* I couldn’t ever imagine the confidence to counsel anyone! It’s THEIR license on the line not mine and I didn’t go to school for all the interactions, etc. I agree I’ve caught some interactions, mistakes, etc or know a little more on a particular subject than a pharmacist but ultimately-the test as a whole is ridiculous. If they want to regulate us-come up with a better test with better standards!

  80. lil ol me says:

    Let’s face it honestly, I spend a lot of my time at work working on insurance issues. I think the majority of my time as a technician is spent either fixing those little extra steps that have to be fixed on entered prescriptions so the insurance pays, or calling them on the phone because they haven’t sent out cards yet, or people didn’t think they’d need them in their wallets, or the info on the cards is outdated or wrong. My biggest laugh in the past few years was when Medicare part D went into effect, and my chain’s CEO was in front of congress claiming that Pharmacists spent hours on hold trying to get Medicare Part D info for patients. Pharmacist’s?? My eye, it was the tech’s who did. And I’ve worked with pharmacy managers who claimed they didn’t want or need to know insurance information. That was the technician’s job. So do we have value? Hopefully Should we ever counsel or advise? Never! Do we have to have patience enough to sit on hold with insurance companies and deal with the issues that arise from them? Absolutely!! Did I learn anything about insurance from taking my PTCB test or certification? Not a d**n thing! Experience, experience, experience :).

  81. PharmD so what! U should of went to med school!!! says:

    You are absolutely right, the pharmacy certification does not really enhance the work ability of the retail tech, just as a BA or PharmD does not for the retail pharmacist. We should be also asking how much of what you learned in pharmacy school actually applies to real-life retail pharmacy. The software most retail chains are using are preloaded with dosage info, interactions, dietary considerations, and so on, thus leaving the pharmacist simply reading printed literature for patient counsel. In the event that you do get a question thats not preloaded, you just pull out your trusty reference material, but really, how often is that. One can probably say that the retail pharmacist is nothing more than an overpaid pharmacy technician.

    • lu says:

      I so agree. I am taking classes and will take the exam for certification. In the retail setting, the pharmacist is nothing more than an overpaid tech.

    • mojome007 says:

      Ha! Ha! All of you tech’s who think you could do my job, because you can read a computer screen or a package insert, make me laugh! Ha! Ha! I’ve been a retail pharmacist for 24 yrs. I believe after all that time what I am paid for is not what I know but the level of stress I tolerate. But I digress…Reading is one thing but understanding the meaning, the implications & the applicability of what you are reading is quite another. Those of you who think this are sadly misguided and won’t go very far in life because you think you are already great.
      On another note, I would point out that I CAN NOT do my job without technicians help and a good technician is worth their weight in gold. I have always stood up for, protected, thanked every day and rewarded my techicians by sharing my bonus with them and paying for their registration renewal.

  82. lauren says:

    Ive been a tech for 6 years. I agree that no one should EVER pay to take any classes for this exam. After 5 years experience in a pharmacy I looked over the review book for 2 weeks and had no problem passing the test. I however like the fact that I can tell future employers that I am certified and I like to have the knowledge the book gives you. Ive worked with some real dopes and I think my certification and my knowledge puts me one step ahead.

  83. Bexxstaaaa says:

    In Utah we don’t have to go to school to take the CPhT exam. We DO have to do the externship hours though. A lot of employers are willing to have you be their FREE LABOR for 180 hours worth! I will admit that memorizing the top 300 was a big task. BUT – learning about what meds do what and the intricate details about the drug including size and shape and color of the pills… PRIOR to working in a pharmacy… was a little much! My employer pays for our online access to do our CE’s, and we have never had to pay for additional training. I work in retail pharmacy and I love it. I could leave the pharmacist stranded at the pick up window to explain and finish checking them out for the rx, but – knowing that I will one day attend pharm school – I like to know about the different things to look for while taking the meds, the separation of vitamins regarding some meds, and other interesting things about meds. Sure, I get caught up in wanting to answer a question that I think that I know the answer to and at times almost spurt it out… but I am also VERY cautious knowing that it could get me in a lot of trouble. I am content to answer questions about OTC products. I took the Excpt test – which is becoming more and more popular with graduating techs.

  84. Brian says:

    you are all just lazy and stupid not to mention cheap to understand how important it is to become certified

  85. Brittany says:

    I am getting ready to be certified- I started studying and was looking through the book going “why would I need to know this?” My pharmacist thought it was crazy! Then we found out that in my state, FL, I could be grandfathered in. As of January 01, 2010 you have to take the test, BUT if you started working before then- you have three options which I only remember two Hah one is you can take the test like everyone OR if you have 1500 hrs of supervised work under a pharmacist by 01-01-10 then you can just apply to be certified after your pharmacist signs off on your hours!

    • Caitlyn says:

      Stop whining and just take the test. Do you whine this much at work? Most certainly, Brittany.

    • PharmIntern says:

      Agreed with Caitlyn. If you could be “grandfathered in”, you should be able to pass the test; just take the damn thing already.

    • JAH1373 says:

      Noo.. The State of FL is making all of their techs register with the Florida State Board. By 2010 you have to have passed the CPhT test or worked the 1500 hours and had the pharmacist sign off on it. i do not have any intention of taking the CERTIFICATION test because I will be going to Pharm. school next fall anyways, so I am registered through the “Grandfather” process. $105 later and I am #290 something in the state. I do not want to have to pay the PTCB fee on top of that.

  86. Katrina CPhT says:

    Honestly, it’s true. I just took the PTCE, which is the exam required to become a CPhT. It is ridiculous. I’ve been “training” in the pharmacy for about 6 months before taking the exam, then I did my PTCE studying. My studying material was mostly over laws, mathematics for both retail and pharmacy, and some studying of drugs and generics, syringes, and other random pharmacy aspects. MY EXAM?!!!!!? A lot of math, which I had expected and had no problem with… a few brand and generics…. but the other majority of the test?!!?? Asked me about interactions and which drug would be prescribed for curtain medical conditions, not high blood pressure/diabetes, but specific heart diseases and then gave me a list of heart medications. I was not expecting this at all….. Technicians can’t even answer such questions for a patient. The only reason why I had any idea was due to the time I’d spent listening to my pharmacist’s consultations. Not everyone works in a pharmacy before they take this test….I realize the test was made because, if there’s a standard for the technician, hopefully less mistakes will be being made by the technicians, meaning less mistakes for the pharmacy, but honestly I believe most of pharmacy’s mistakes come from misreading the prescription. I can’t wait for the day, when a hand written prescription is not even accepted in pharmacies.

  87. pharmtechwv says:

    I took the PTCB exam and I for one am glad I did…I feel that with it I have the knowledge to work in retail or a hospital and not fumble around like an idiot..I have some knowledge to know what is going on around me at my job and can have a decent, knowledgable conversation with my pharmacist about Mr. Smith’s rx and ask reasonable questions…no I can not counsel patients because that is against the law, I refer them to the pharmacist on duty..but I pay attention to what is said because I like to learn..I did not pay to take any classes or read some bs book. I did all on the job training(that means I got paid to learn), took the test and now I am a CPhT and get paid for that title!!

  88. newpharm tech says:

    I have been a registered pharmacy tech for 11 years. I have been forceed to take this test (if I want to keep my job), well and to be quit frank it really wasn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be, common sense, but what ever I passed it with flying color in less than half the time required. So now what I have a peice of paper that says I can filter the bullshit for the pharmacist, I still do the same thing everyday that I have done for the last 11 years. For all of you out here “studying” relax you know it or you don’t I hate to be so negative, but things aren’t going to change, you are either a good pharmacy tech whos knows what is is the right thing to do, or a bad one who thinks that this peice of paper makes you automatically capiable of giving patients “advice” that they won’t even take from a pharmacist.So what I am saying is if you love your job take the test and stop bitching about it.

  89. JustAsAngryTech says:

    That ignorant statement shows how little you do know. There is a GI-NORMOUS difference between that stupid piece of paper saying you are now certified and the pharmacists diploma. Give me a break with the over-inflated ego.

    JustAsAngryTech, CPhT

  90. Stacy says:

    So while I agree that techs are highly limited with what they can actually do with the CphT, I disagree that techs shouldn’t take it. And while it looks good for big corporations to have an all-certified staff, I still believe it is the techs own best interest to take the exam. Heres why:

    Its easy. One or two years of retail experience and forget studying.

    You get paid more. No brainer there.

    You’ll have an advantage over those not certified. That means if you want to move, you’re more likely to get a job than someone with no certification.

    Hospitals demand it. Ever wanna get out of retail? Well you almost have to be certified, and you may as well get it while its free.

    Ever met a lead tech who wasn’t certified? (aka more money… once again)

    And finally- if you at all like your job, you will take pride in helping others. And helping others to the best of your ability as a tech means knowing more than just how much their insurance co-pay is. No we can’t counsel, but knowing that one shouldn’t be taking aspirin and coumadin at the check out counter would be very helpful. Ya know?
    And yes hospital techs should get more training, and thats the path Pharm Techs are headed. In over 6 states now they recognize AAS of Pharm Technology, and these techs make a bit more than regular ones. And with anything in life, even if you didn’t need to be more knowledgable why wouldn’t you want to be more knowledgable?

  91. techbychoice says:

    The CPhT is a better tech. As a pharmacist, wouldn’t you rather have someone who can think for themselves? As a hospital tech, we work in a tech run IV center, we have automation but we still compound scheduled and stat drips, 40-52 TPNs a day and chemo. The verifications are in place but we are doing the technical work so the pharmacists can do the clinical work. Our corporation goes beyond the CPhT (which is required for hire) they also have their own tech testing in place. We can do the calculations for 3% NS, or coal tar ointment plus know the USP 797 standards for sterile compounding. I think CPhT is a necessary standard. If retail techs don’t want to take it, there is a the excpt for retail techs.

    • PharmIntern says:

      A lot of hospitals around me require a CPhT to be a tech for them.

      Working for a few years in a retail environment will give you all the experience you need for retail tech work. No reason to take that test in retail, unless if your employer offers a pay raise for those who do, of course.

  92. judy says:

    I got certified in 2005. What did I get certified for? To sell twinkies, coloring books, and diapers to customers that aren’t getting scripts. Yup, 20 hrs of CE for this privilege.

  93. Kristen says:

    I TOTALLY AGREE! It is dumb! Besides the obvious of sig codes, brand/generic, and calculations, what they REALLY need to teach techs is how to keep a straight face and tune out the moron standing on the other side of the counter bitching that they got a phone call that there meds were ready 2 weeks ago, so why were they put back!?! Or “why can’t I get my RX for 120 Norco today even though I picked up this same prescription 2 days ago? It’s from a different doctor!” I’d like to say a special thank you to the retail pharmacy whore for pointing me into the direction of Psychology instead in pharmacy. At least I can say I see mental people and I won’t get in trouble for it! :D

  94. Cat says:

    I just passed the CPhT and am going through the free labor phase at retail. Let me tell you. Free labor in retail is a WASTE of my time. Pharmacy Techs will grow in their responsibilities in time. I’d rather stay ahead of the game. And who the hell PAYS for their 20 CEU’s? It’s free if you spend 10 minutes on the web or have someone in Pharmacy who will give you a link. Reading this makes me think that retail pharmacy is for techs who dropped out of beauty school and have no business in healthcare.

  95. one tired CPhT says:

    I have been a CPhT since ’96. At that time I had no available books to study. I passed with only 6 months of retail experience. Though I do agree they are not testing what technicians need to know. I agree that some testing should take place. I also agree with making the technician’s pay much more reasonable. ( I have seen technicians leave a pharmacy to work at a fast food chain because of hirer pay.) I have also taught students what is on the test. Yes, I took the test to make sure that everything that is on the test will be covered in the class. But I took it a step further and made sure they had those skills they needed for the retail setting. I had a partner that would teach them the skills of the hospital setting. He also takes (as he is still teaching) the PTCB test.
    In my many years in pharmacy I have experienced those interns that think they are God’s gift to pharmacy. I am glad to say they were far and few in between. Because of my thirst for knowledge I ask the pharmacist many questions and even though I could advise anyone, I wanted it for me. Now it did come in handy quizing interns and there were many interns that would give to many wrong answers and I did not call on them to counsel a patient and referred to the pharmacist. I was also fortunate that the pharmacist I worked with picked up very quickly that I did not call on the intern and began “teaching” the intern what they needed to know.
    Do I think you need to take a test over information you do not use? it can not hurt to know more. You may save a life or two by just being more aware of what your doing.
    The reason why states are going to CPhT is because of the Emily’s Act. Please read up the history of the Act and maybe this useless, drawn out, you got to be kidding test. Again if it saves one life is it not worth it?

  96. CHris says:

    I live in WA state and it is required by the state to become registered, I had worked at Walgreens, a pharmacy benefits company, and a hospital pharmacy. I had been out of the pharmacy world for 3 years and lost my job I applied at a Safeway and they said they’d hire me if I passed the CPhT test. Registered that day, scheduled the next and passed. Mine was almost ALL math I had done at the hospital pharmacy. There were ZERO drug questions…..anyone else had this experience?

  97. Andrew says:

    I took PTCB exam Dec 2008 and all I needed to know were a few pharmacy work area things like flow-hoods and crap, generic-trade names, maybe a few indications and a few common sense rules. Oh and don’t forget some metric conversions like tablespoon = 15 ml, tsp = 5ml. Maybe some sig codes too.

  98. noob says:

    Same here Andrew. I took the PTCB exam in July 2009 in CA and all I needed to know were metric conversions to do some calculations, what a cpht should and shouldn’t do, and a lot of generic brand names of medications…It’s just hard to get a job nowadays. Especially, just coming out as a undergrad college graduate. I need a job!!!

  99. CATech10 says:

    I’m a certified tech and couldn’t agree more that it’s a waste of time. Sorry if this has been brought up (I didn’t read all the comments) but many techs pass the test and don’t even know half of what they actually DO need to know. We get techs coming in who are certified but can’t even calculate how much amox to give a pt or what Zestril is used for. What good does the certification do them…or us?

  100. Gemini67 says:

    Just a general statement here – I’m still completing my first semester in Pharmacy Technology at The Franklin Institute in Boston (this program runs in conjunction with CVS and is taught by CVS RpHs and CPhTs) and I’m damned glad to learn the curriculum which includes – Pharm. Operations, Pharm. Calculations, Pharmacology, Computer Applications, Technical Communications and other Humanities requirements. Ok, maybe it is overkill on the scope of the job of a CPhT (depending upon one’s setting – retail, hospital, etc.). And yeh, maybe one won’t use all of that stuff for the test, but still, didn’t you know or investigate this going into this job? WE DO NOT GIVE OUT MEDICAL ADVICE and WE ALWAYS CHECK W/THE RpH (and if the RpH is bothered by it, remind him/her that their license is on the line) even for something OTC!! Very simple; no whining or complaining. If you’re at the point of complaining about what you can and can’t do; the salary; the testing; the CE; the licensure, etc. then it’s time to move on and stop whining.

  101. Bill says:

    I just took the exam and passed last weekend. I did not take any courses or pay for any classes, just purchased at Barnes and Noble as a study guide for the CPhT exam. I plan on using getting a job just to gain the experience, as I will be applying to pharmacy school next year. I did find some of the information a little extreme, and some of the questions to be answered by the pharmacists and not the technician. I am not sure that my route is for everyone, just think it is something that you should consider when it comes to sitting for the exam. I was allowed to sit without any technician training what so ever.

  102. New CPhT Student says:

    WOW! I’m just at the half way mark of my CPhT course and after reading almost 50% of what is posted here … well … the con’s seem to out weigh the pro’s significantly. I was under the impression that I’d be going into a field I would be proud of but after reading many of these posted comments; I’m not so sure! I just hope I can get into a hospital or specialty pharmacy in hopes that that I will be able to utilize more of what I am learning now.

  103. Rokclimbear says:

    I took the PTCB because it was required by Walgreens. It’s true that the majority of test wasn’t practical in the actual pharmacy setting or in the job description of a tech, but I found it useful because I was in nursing school at the time. Even then, I never had the courage to give out medical advice to clients regarding their prescriptions. I made it a point, however, to say “Since, this is a new prescription for you, let me have my Rph counsel you regarding this rx” when I did have some concern regarding compliance/adverse rxn or such for the patient. I paid extra attention during counseling because I knew it was information that would benefit me in my nursing profession. Two years into emergency nursing now & I can’t help but inform ERMDs that certain medications they are prescribing needs prior auths and/or ICD-9 codes to ensure prescription coverage (because what’s the point of the ER visit when you can’t continue the antibiotics at home?). Anyway, I’m glad to have found this blog because I recently realized that I need not to continue my bachelor’s in nursing but pursue pharmacy school instead. I’m hoping the rants & helpful tweets on the sit will get me through the pre pharm prerequisites. I’ve worked in telemetry, progressive care unit & currently, in the emergency department & I am SO over nursing.

    P.S. If you pass the PTCB + X amt of hours working in the pharmacy as a cashier/volunteer? you can submit this info the state & be licensed as a tech. I don’t know if that’s still the case because Kaplan & etc. are making money with all these sudden pharm tech schools out there. When I found out then that this was possible, I had my brother worked as a pharmacy cashier, had him take the PTCB test and once he had the hours, turned in his paperwork to the state & was licensed. He never had to go to pharmacy tech school. Walgreens paid for everything, even cpht & license renewals.

  104. Soon to be CPhT says:

    Hi! I am 2 weeks away from completing a Pharm Tech course at a technical school in NYC and am preparing to take the PTCE in July. I am sad to say that the comments posted here makes me feel like i have wasted my time and money. I completely agree with the point that techs are there to help the Pharmacist and should not under any circumstances council patients, however, i thought being formally trained and certified would be an asset to me as well as the Pharmacist. At the very least i would be coming into the Pharmacy with some basic knowledge (Brand & Generic, Calculations & Conversions, Sig codes, etc) that the average person walking in off the street would not have. For the Pharmacist that means the dont have to spend time teaching me the basics and with standardized testing you have an idea of how much i already know and what i am able to do.

    I think the exam is useful i dont mind paying the $130.00 but these schools and training programs that charge an arm and a leg a promise high salaries with certification are taking advantage of the current economic situation. The program i attended is a 9 month program and cost me $9000.00+ and alluded to the fact that after graduation and taking the exam you can make anywhere from $13.00 – $18.00/hr. I looked at it as an investment, a way to get a better job, make more money and gain valuable experience and have the opportunity to work in a pharmacy while i work on my PharmD but now i feel it was huge waste of time on my part. Well i guess nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    • Dee RN PT says:

      It’s not a waste of time don’t be a fool….. I am seeing here in Maryland Pharm techs with Certs coming in making 45,000 year and how can that be a waste????? Your being finagled into believing your education doesn’t matter. Don’t be foolish.

      However, I did my program 1 year diploma at PF Regionally Accepted school for $600.00 and truthfully you paid a lot.

  105. justin c. says:

    I’m a pharm tech, I never went to school to become a tech. I didn’t have any previous experience. I just bought Mosby’s review for the PTCB by James j. Mizner. I studied with a friend and took the exam. The book was $50. My tech in training liscense was $20. The test was $130. National and State registration was $60. All in all I spent $260 to become a tech. Hardly any of the information had practical day to day use in the retail pharmacy. However it saved me a lot of money. The book and test did not say I would be dealing with junkies and corrupt insurance companies 90% of the time, and that’s the true reality of my job. Does anyone know how a tech can become IV certified?

    • Dee RN PT says:

      I am RN PT go work in the hospital pharmacy it’s a better environment and you can obtain extra training as a IV admixture tech if that is what you mean. Good luck…

  106. words fo hope says:

    Well: Soon to be CPhT.

    The secrett to a succesfull career as a pharmacy tech is your attitude, Not the CPhT certification. Wherever you work, just make sure that you know that system: Order entry, formulary, automatic convertions, basic math…. Make sure you know how to “FIX PRINTERS,ANSWER PHONES, AND LEARN TO KEEP A NURCE HAPPY”. (not included in the CPhT)

    Always be positive (or at least try). Being a CPhT does not teach you to deal with angry patients or even worst: Angry Pharmacits.

    Funny fact: ask any pharmacists the difference between a CPhT and a non-CPhT they don’t know… Now, I am not saying that pharmacits are stupid, but simply they just don’t care: they want a tech that knows the system for a specific facility.

    I also believe that the CPhT certification is useless. Everything you will learn you will forget a month latter. Just as everthing you learn in those Pharmacy Tech Trade Schools.

    Oh, by the way: word of advice. If you become certified don’t go out to a pharmacy and try to sound smart. Those experienced techs will look and laugh at you in a very nice scarcastic way.

    Good Luck!!!!

  107. ted the tech says:

    The purpose of the CPhT test is to thin the herd! Without it, every carny in town would moonlight as a Pharm tech.

  108. Dee RN PT says:

    Well, I am RN and have been for 20 years. I hurt my back lifting and decided to take a Pharmacy Technician diploma program graduated 2010 to get my nursing CEU’s while I recovered, earn 38 needed 30. I am wanting to use my education to work in Pharmacy now, but I am RN license to counsel patients on a daily basis. I know if I work Pharmacy I cannot do that legally. I also know I’ll never make 32hr or 40hr as I do working as a nurse. I also have a education Psychology, and Medical Billing. I am well versed. I want to work Pharmacy part time but I am not sure I can deal with all this attitude. I feel Pharmacy would be a better choice for my back. I can tell you I am highly educated in medicine and diseases, so I am not sure I can deal with the attitude of a cocky Pharmacist. I want to take the CPhT, but if it’s going to be hopeless then I am not sure. Any thoughts?

    P.S. yes I understand the first post. I feel like this was correct to say in 2007, but now in 2010 I think all the education I got in the Pahrm Tech program really makes a big difference.

    • Dee RN PT says:

      I hit edited to correct that typo but so be it, I think all the education I received in that 1 year Pharmacy Tech program was worth it and I didn’t feel like it was over stated. I prefer talking to educated technicians and the Pharmacist needless to say he or she still calls the shots no matter how educated a PT is. Legally has to check the work anyway. We are suppose to help make it easier on them not to be there punching bag, but we are and should be treated as a part of the team. I am not a cocky nurse and I do not belittle my para-staff higher or lower credentials.

    • DM says:

      Dee, I agree with you, the laws are conflicting and it seems silly for you to ask the pharmacist to counsel when you know the answer & may in fact have a slightly better edge on dealing with patients on a more personal level. As far as the back pain goes, the majority of tech positions out there are retail & in that case, you WILL be on your feet the entire time. Not sure if that’s what you were looking for (maybe opposed to a desk job). Except in a hospital or VA setting which you have stated you already worked in.
      I am a Certified Pharm. Tech and have been for 6 years. I had on the job training at a retail pharmacy, no formal education in the field & now work in LTC pharmacy (a desk job coincidentally). I know techs are looked down upon by certain pharmacists but really, if you have a good one who knows their stuff and the operating system, they can be a life saver. Any pharmacist who puts down their tech in public – there is 1 of 2 things happening – the RPh is a prick/bitch, OR their tech really sucks and can’t grasp the concept. It is pretty hard to get in the grove of the mulit-taksing and knowledge of a tech and I am a FIRM believer that it will take over 1 year to train a good tech, regardless of education. If you don’t have the ability to do that, you will be a crappy tech.
      Anyway, I am 27 and feel I am well versed in the way a pharmacy/insurance/patient care works in that setting. I however, have yet to work in hospital or anything like that so you won’t hear me sayin’ anything about making IVs or criticizing anyone who does! In fact I give a Woo Hoo!

  109. Dee RN PT says:

    I cannot understand why some Pharmacists are so cross with their Pharmacy Techs. The Pharm Tech is taught in school they cannot counsel patients. If they do they should be dealt with via policy of the store. All patients have a right to be counsel whether they’ve been in once or 100 times for medicine. It needs to be offered by the Pharm tech every time and reported to the Pharmacist if the client wants counseling or says yes so he can do so. That’s the only part in the counseling process a Assistant takes is to offer it or ask and then the Pharmacist does the counseling. I think with the way medicine has taken off and their are more patients and more drugs now a Pharmacist would envy the chance to have a educated tech. After all even knowing a little can help, but as the guy stated above he caught a error otherwise a Pharmacist would have missed. I’ve been reading prescriptions for 20 yrs and doctors make lots of error(haha)who finds them nurses. I feel like this we save their butts!!!!! A tech is there to help a Pharmacist in the same manner. Be kind to your staff and encourage their thinking, praise there knowledge and remind them of what is acceptable and what isn’t. I plan on working for a hospital or nursing home pharmacy. I will also keep my seasonal job a in the clinics. I will have my CPhT by September 2010. My goal is to do IV admixtures well I’ve been doing them for years anyway first in the Veterans Medical Center and then in Nursing Homes.

    This is 2010 and Pharmacy Technician’s will become more pronounced down the road as demands by the state and laws become more so. I say lobby for more money and get unionized! The nurses had to and it help us big time! Food for thought.

    Good Luck to all.

  110. Me cPhT says:

    See heres the thing…
    The books prepare you for some crazy test where they make it seem like it is going to be extremely challenging, but the test is easy. The only material actually covered on the test is what is relevant for techs to know like calculations. There is no pharmacology related material at all…any tech who tries to step in and offer their two cents after they take the test or one of those prep classes is out of line and should be dealt with accordingly. Sometimes, letters after certain individual’s names lets too much air flow upstairs and their head’s get tooo big. Its nonsense.

    • TechNTX says:

      It all depends on what test form you got, in the same day mine was mainly legal and drug names interactions ect., and my friend who went with me had a all math form.

  111. JD, RCPHT says:

    LOL…the cool thing about those classes is that while I was in grad school I worked as a pharmacy tech and got paid between 35 and 50 per hour to teach those classs, so it actually is a job for a tech it you look in to it and not feable enough to think is that all you have to do is count pills and make IV bags. Also as a pharmacist I would feel better having a tech that knows to much than not enough, seeing how it is your ass and license on the line…LOL at all the idiots that at PhT’s that don’t see the beauty in being educated…Last time I checked we did all the hard work and someone who went to school longer makes all of the money….The same ASS that started this conversation. Get certificates or training and go to pharmacy school so you can make the money while you tell someone else what to do !!! LOL to the Bank !!!!

  112. Linda says:

    I quickly interrupt any tech that even tries to gives a patient/customer advice. I’ve let them know they cannot give any kind of advice and that all counseling (for prescriptions or OTCs) must be done by the pharmacist on shift — no exceptions. It’s to protect the patients, the tech, and the pharmacists — huge liability if anyone but the pharmacist counsels or gives advice.

  113. Dawna says:

    I am taking my Pharmacy Technician certification exam because where I live, Techs are going to be able to dispense refills without the pharmacist signing off on it.

  114. Dumb CPhT says:

    The only “counseling” I’ve ever done in retail was telling someone buying Vicodin + OTC tylenol not to take them together, or someone getting 500mg Naproxen + OTC Ibuprofen not to combine them.

    Is even that stepping over the boundaries of what I can tell a patient?

  115. cardsfanbj says:

    I’m a tech, and I know that I really don’t know anything…
    Question about anything other than ‘Why is my vick-oh-dins not filled yet?’ I know to say ‘You’d have to ask the pharmacist.’ Or ‘What’s this generic for?’ (the less stupid of the two) or, similarly, ‘MY DOCTOR WROTE FOR GENERIC! WHY DID YOU FILL IT WITH BRAND NAME?!?!’ (because you’re an idiot. there is no generic for that on the market. — About on par with the first)
    I’d rather us techs not have to even bother with anything more than that.

  116. in training says:

    dr. awkward, i am going to be taking the CPhT exam soon and i am one of those middle aged women and am very nervious about passing the math part…… been out of school for 30 years!!

  117. Retail CPhT says:

    I’ve been a retail pharmacy technician for 3.5 years, but just got certified this month. I’m proud of it, proud of myself for earning it. I don’t even mind that I spent my own money to take it.

    The real value for me isn’t what it certifies you know, which has little-to-no relevance to my job, but everything I learned when reviewing for it. Even though I’ve been a retail tech for years, in reviewing the PTCE material I learned a lot that I either never knew or had forgotten, and I enjoyed it. It made me want to learn even more. Even though I can’t use most of what I learned at work, I was excited to learn it; I love learning about pharmacy. Even now, I often spend hours researching things I see at work. I’ll never be able to use it at work, but I don’t care. It’s fun. It’s a shame I suck so badly at math and science, because I’d kind of like to be a Pharmacist. Regardless, I’m a tech and not a Pharmacist, and it behooves us all not to get it twisted.

    Good pharmacy technicians, certified or not, recognize the value of knowledge, and keeping that knowledge current. Better pharmacy technicians, however, realize where their scope of practice ends and where that of the Pharmacist begins.

  118. HospitalCPHT says:

    Yes and no. While it’s great that some of us know when a red flag is going up and why, it’s still the pharmacist’s job to counsel patients concerning anything drug related. I think in your scenario, I would have said, \Excuse me a second..I’d like the pharmacist to speak with you.\ (and then quietly told the pharmacist why..off to the side)

  119. Jessi says:

    I agree with you mostly. The only reason a tech would need to know this stuff is if the Pharmacist isn’t doing their job. Rare? True however if you are a tech that finds themself working with someone you don’t trust to keep your patients alive it does come in helpful to have some knowledge. I found myself in this situation and the knowledge I gained when getting certified helped me keep the other pharmacists in our pharmacy aware of concerns occurring when they weren’t there. (They also didn’t trust this guy) In this case we were lucky enough to have all of our daytime techs certified and I was the one evening and weekend tech that was certified. We scheduled our certified techs as the ones to work with \Dr. Death\ anytime he would be the only pharmacist and MANY mistakes were caught before our patients got their meds.

  120. Mel says:

    I’m a certified tech and have been for several years now.. I did go through a program where I can honestly say the 50% that included computers, writing, and Med coding was more useless than it was helpful. Thank you for helping me remember two measly ICD-9 codes. We really only use 2 for Medicare and Medicaid. The pharmacy part of the schooling was uber useful. Now the information used to study for the certification tests is a mish mash of stuff you may use and others you def. won’t. I can’t remember when the last time I had to use IV drip calculations or even pharmacy profit figures. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told by customers to just tell them what to take or like a customer on vacation looking to transfer her rx.. “can’t you just tell the pharmacist that information?” uh no… Sorry I can’t. I can’t tell you how many times the pharmacists I work with have been thankful that they have knowledgeable techs there. We have caught numerous mistakes. I can understand where some are hesitant to get certified. In my state its required. And there are stories out there of mistakes that weren’t caught or inexperienced techs mixing iv’s and causing harm.

  121. Marc says:

    I have been a tech for a little over 4 years, and will be taking the CPhT in 2 days. I am however, NOT taking the test for any other reason than for personal enrichment, and to broaden my knowledge of the profession. I was told the very first day I started my job that a tech counceling patients is a no-no; it’s also a no-brainer. If you don’t know. then don’t talk. It’s that simple. Compounding? What little we do in our community setting is done by the Pharmacist, but having an understanding of that function?- nothing wrong with that. Now I’m sure that my day-to-day closely resembles that of most of you, but I think I can safely say that also includes a cornucopia of other challenges and situations which call upon much of the education and training we have all received in one form or another. I believe there is no such thing as \wasted education\- it’s what we DO with that learning, and how we apply it not only to our jobs, but in all facets of our lives that makes the difference. I for one, will take the exam (which I myself paid for, and which I am NOT required to take), and treat it as a positive experince in broadening my base of knowledge in my CHOSEN profession. In closing, I would encourage you all to do the same- think of the exam and all you have done to prepare for it, as well as your jobs, as learning experiences. And remember- nobody twisted your arms to be Techs. You CHOSE to do it, as did I. Perform your jobs to the best of your ability every day, and try to keep the infectious negativity to yourselves.

  122. Marc says:

    I should have also stated in my reference to patient counseling; even if you DO know, don’t talk- because in most states and practice settings, it’s the LAW…

  123. shannon says:

    I am an inpatient pharmacy technician for a large hospital system in Pittsburgh. I studied on my own and got certified and then immediately hired at the hospital with no experience. If I had not studied so hard and earned my certification, my life would have been hell at work and it still would be. You are expected to know a LOT. There are other techs there to help you as well as the pharmacists, but everyone is so busy and you can’t stop to ask them about the little things. Meds can be listed under their generic name in one place, and their trade name somewhere else. You have to know these, you don’t want to ask someone every 5 minutes to help you find a drug. Other things like which IV bags need refrigeration stickers on them. If you forget to put them on, or take the bags to the units and not stock them in the fridge, you can ruin them. You need to do things right, and that requires having a thorough knowledge of what you’re working with. Certain drugs need to be placed in amber bags, and if you forget because you didn’t know, you’re wasting the pharmacists time when he gives rejects the med and you don’t even know why. There’s so many other examples. The pharmacists, doctors, and nurses, know who the good techs are. There are the lazy techs that can’t be depended on to even deliver meds to the right areas on the floors, and there are the techs who have earned IV certifications through the hospital, work with the chemo drugs, and can offer suggestions to a nurse who calls asking for a refill for a certain drug which the pharmacy has run out of, but the tech can tell them an equivalent does or other brand that IS available, instead of just saying duhhh we’re out of it. They get promoted and are paid more, and they are respected. It is absolutely necessary to take the time and extend your brain to get certified.
    Just sayin’.

  124. wow says:

    Wow I hope none of you work were I get my presciptions filled. i had no idea you were all trash mouths and drunks. Some people actually want to learn something! I will pray for you all. You are an embaresmant to yoru profession. I’m sure you so all the drugs you can find too! I for one am enjoying studying for my exam and I think the info is very important. Please let em know what comnay you all work fro so I don’t

    • Mali says:

      Its pretty arsine of you to assume that everyone in this profession behaves or feels this way. I don’t disagree with the statements, the companies are always after profit or what they like to call efficiency. But that doesn’t mean that I act on it. Do you always act on every thought that you have?? I doubt it.

    • bob says:

      wow,

      Let us all know when and if you graduate. Also let us know when spell check is invented. We would love to come visit you at work and discuss all of our problems.

    • Nalbilly says:

      @wow
      retarded much?

  125. Nalbilly says:

    ar·sine/ˈärsēn/
    Noun: A poisonous gas, AsH3, smelling slightly of garlic, made by the reaction of some arsenides with acids

  126. nicole says:

    It has come in handy knowing more then the basics for me. I have a 70 year old pharmacist that relies on me for those hard to get answers (yes I know that’s crap, and no she hasn’t killed anyone yet due to our tech’s doing some babysitting) Also, when I was in the military I worked alone without a pharmacist. You know the government doesn’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else! So you should not discount my non-retard status. Especially after having to save some poor soul’s life who has come by our chain pharmacy and had a 70 year old place holder fill their RX without even knowing she did so…. I do hear you though, I’ve worked with some people who even knowing drug names may be harmful to society. Just don’t hate on all of us :)

  127. Vee Trivedi says:

    UMADBRO!?!?!?!?

  128. spawnie7 says:

    I’m preparing to take the PTCB exam. I purchased a self study program for about $85 instead of going through a university course. This program seems to be littered with information that wouldn’t necessarily be on the exam such as what did the 1906 Federal Food and Drug Act seek to do? There is long list of patient profile chart abbreviations (IE AAA=abdominal aortic aneurysm and ALD=alcoholic liver disease) also. Should these be part of my focus of studying or is this just nice to know stuff? email spawnie7@gmail.com

    Thanks in advance for any sort of useful information!

  129. LeeroyJenkins says:

    I agree and disagree.. I agree that although we get a minimal source of knowledge based off the CE booklets, we as CphT should still consider that what we know is only a portion of what’s provided, we may know the cause and effect of the drug but it is still the Pharmacist’s decision on how to effectively use it. What we think we know may complicate the patient’s well-being and seriously affect their own treatment. I disagree that the courses provided in the booklets are ridiculous, they are not.. the whole idea is it’s called CE (Continuing Education) we may or may not have to practice the knowledge given to us, but having that idea may come in handy in a later date, CphT tasks may differ from state to state, (i dont know) but in having a general idea about a product and how it works gives us a window of better understanding as to why the patient is taking the medication and better assist them. Some Independent and Retail Pharmacies nowadays, offers various grants to technicians studying to be Pharmacist, the CE booklets gives out an extra source of information during this course. Im not saying anyone’s statements are arguable.. (im not arguing) im simply agrreing in the author’s statement and disagreeing with most of the complains.. CE credit though essential is not mainly focused on you (being Technician as a career) but it focuses on both Technicians and to those studying to be Pharmacists. and that’s my 2 cents. (i got a quarter, give me my change back)

  130. Craig says:

    The word technician says it all. A technician is delegated to technical work. The most dangerous technicians I have seen are certified, overstepping their boundaries. I worked as a technician in a long term care pharmacy. I was recently fired for refusing to clarify illegible orders received by fax. I recognize that as simple a task it seems, there is clinical knowledge that might be overlooked by the technician making a bad situation worse. I have little faith in the industry as whole to provide quality care.

  131. Denise says:

    A technician that understands how drugs work and what those drugs treat is more apt to out perform someone that just wants to count pills. Why would a pharmacist feel threatened by that??

  132. Charlotte says:

    I’ve been a Tech for just over a year now and I start my classes for the exam on Wednesday. (It’s company sponsored and they pay for the exam plus $1/hr raise). We have to become certified within 18 months of becoming a tech so we don’t really have a choice. The study materials are crap and my book is 70% hospital only! Plus the ubiquitous “Refer Pt. to RPhs Only” is the answer to another 20% of the questions. Why would they want to spend all this money and not have ANY benefit come of it?

  133. jano says:

    ok who ever made that test was a total looser!!! it had 60%hospital shit and the rest junk was math…which is fine with me
    but i get annoyed too when techs give advice
    i worked in retail for too long 4yrs lol
    an now i started to work in a small mom pap independent and techs there PISS ME OFF the RPH is always acting too busy and when u ask em a question he takes forever to answer them or tells u to take care of it…
    but there is this one tech who is NOT certified and worked for less that 2 yrs and she’s giving advice… i mean who said docusate and lactulose are the same???? i felt like saying u dumb @#$ stop that

  134. Kaya says:

    oh hell. im a hospital pharmacy tech (have been for 3 years now) and i didnt understand why half the shit was on that test. most is geared towards retail pharmacy (which pisses me off since im hospital and its completely different) but even i can tell that we dont even need to know half that shit. we arent the ones who went to school for 7+ years so we dont need to know that info. plus, some techs think that they can start giving advice and acting all high and mighty if they know some of that info…….best way to get jumped if you ask me ^_^

  135. Jelena says:

    I am a Tech in Canada, most provinces require no schooling whatsoever and you just get hired in off the street, not the case in my province that now has regulation in place. Honestly I agree with what the hell do I need to know this for, but either way it’s good to know, sometimes you’ll flag something before it even gets to the pharmacist. That way we can tell the patient it might be a little longer, or we might have to clarify with the doctor, before we do a lot of work. Granted 85% of the time it’s not the case. Also, as some people have said, you never stop learning, some things are just good to know to be a well rounded tech.

  136. Kari says:

    I think it is very important for the techs to know as much as they can. Being able to read and interpret a doctors orders can be very helpful, like Yasmine said it is just another person who can say “hey, wait, this order is for x mg/kg/hour and it doesnt add up”. No one is with out flaw and another set of eyes never hurts.

  137. Rachel says:

    Ahhh hail to the almighty pharmacist. Don’t you know there’s no one as great smarter and ARROGANT spoon fed pharmacist? Let the haters begin ……

  138. Chemo Tech says:

    It’s ridiculous for a RPh to even suggest that a test like the PTCE is “too much shit for my techs to know”. That is a foolish comment. You think you are the only one who double checks someone’s work? In 12 years, I have seen at least a dozen instances where a CPhT caught a mistake done by an RPh. A handful of these where serious mistakes. The PTCE is a GOOD thing.

  139. Tech in traning says:

    Can anyone tell me what books will be useful to me to study with.. i am going to have to take the certification soon and have been told that out of 10 people maybe 3 will pass.. i am stressing so any advice will be welcome.

    • William says:

      Hey, I’m sorry nobody’s really helped you out here.

      Your best bet is to contact your local certifying body and ask.

      If it makes you feel better, I worked in a retail pharmacy for 6 months with no formal training, took the test and passed. No amount of studying really would’ve helped me out, it was all learning about what you do and keeping things “hands on.”

      But check around, some areas offer inexpensive courses to help out.

      Best of luck to you, and don’t let it scare you. It’s something to be taken seriously, but it won’t kill you or your reputation if you don’t pass. :)

  140. DORIS says:

    FOR ANY OF YOU TO ENTERTAIN THE THOUGHT THAT THIS ISN’T SERIOUS IS ONCE MORE THE REASON WHY PROFESSIONALLY YOU WILL NEVER GROW. YES WE DO NOT COUNSEL BUT ONCE MORE AREN’T WE THE PHARMACIST’S RIGHT HAND. SHOULDN’T WE BE HELPFULL ENOUGH TO KNOW IF THE BULLETPROOF PHARMACIST IS WRONG IN SOMETHING. KNOWLEDGE DOESN’T HERT IGNORANCE DOES.

  141. HospTech says:

    Although the test IS hard. And yes, it contains tons of stuff we may not use on a daily basis, you “may” use it again. Learn it, it won’t kill you. I have been a tech for 20 yrs. Yes, I have seen the techs that try and counsel, that step outside their boundaries. That exists in every practice setting, in every job field. They are called morons. There are PharmD.’s that try and act like MD’s. We know it, we’ve seen it. The test has little to do with it. That is called life. Techs are the pharmacists assistant. We function as more than a pill counter; we are a second set of eyes, a second set of hands. If your pharmacist does not respect that than let them function alone one day.
    They can do it. But they should respect the job you do as well.

  142. CPhT says:

    Hold on a second! I don’t think its wise to criticize how much I have to learn just to take the test-yes! I am still in school learning this, yell, chide, and say what you will-but I need to know these things so I don’t come up to you 10,000 times a day asking:
    “What does this drug do?”
    “What is the patient taking this for?”
    “What dosage form should I give?”
    “How much should I give him?”
    The label and the doctor’s horrible hand writing can only say so much. The test is the test, I would prefer to know all of this so I don’t have to ask my Pharmacist-be it in a commercial pharmacy, or a hospital pharmacy-a bunch of things i should already know.

  143. cpht. says:

    Imho…i believe rphs should be happy that they have techs that care enough about their job to get educated and know more than just calculations and brand/ generics. Also….as far as i know..its always been wrong for techs to give advice…knowing the answer 100% or not. Being a CPhT is handy if you work in a place where they use the tech check tech … A CPhT can check a reg techs work. It happens. And maybe some techs choose to get certified to maybe gain some respect from their pharmacists …. Ive worked long enough in a pharmacy to have met some pretty arragont rphs that disrespected their help all the time. Hey..we r there to.assist you…you should be nice and respectful..bc we could make ur 12 hour shift pretty miserable.

  144. Amanda says:

    I have worked in long term care, hospital inpatient and retail. I find the PTCB to be a total rip off. They don’t DO anything for me as far as wage premiums or raises. They just waste 20 hours of my time and take my money. As far as giving medical advice to a patient, I say o hell no. I would never. See that person down there they make 90% more than me. Go ask him, that is way above my pay grade. Besides I’m too busy being your insurance company advocate because u forgot your card or protest you co-pay price, or I have to call your doctor cause u need refills. I hate retail, hospital pharmacy is so much better than babysitting people who refuse to be proactive . I couldn’t believe i studied my ass off for that test and,it hasn’t taught me a DAMN thing. What I did learn was from real setting experience. I detest the entire industry. You’re fat, have diabetes and heart disease and are depressed, you cant sleep and have sleep disorder, you can’t get a boner. Well theres a pill for that. Forget personal accountability, why eat right and exercise when a person can just take a pill? All that being said, I’ve worked with plently of RPH’s who were dumb as fack, but clearly excelled at school because they had an apptitude for taking tests. The colleges selling this tech program is a joke. What a waste of money, then again most college classes are.

  145. Cpht Turd says:

    The reason I believe the Cpht title is important is the info can come in handy at times. I have been certified for 6 years and a tech for 9. I compound meds, count(duh), inventory control, put scripts in the computer, so on, so on, so on. For the amount of money paid to us, IT’S SLAVE LABOR! I have worked with some damn good pharmacists over the years, but there are sooooo many stupid, lazy, uncaring and untrained dumbasses out there calling themselves pharmacists that I have to do their jobs and catch thier mistakes! It’s ridiculous and sad. I know my limits on the job. Im not gonna say, “sure take that 325mg asprin with your coumadin, no prob!” What pisses me off is the total disrespect the pharmacists give us! One minute its “do my job while I bullshit on the phone” then its “don’t overstep your boundaries!” Make up your minds! Not saying all pharmacists are like this, just some. Hell, most the pharmacists I have worked with dont even know how to put scripts in the computer! So that also becomes my job! If I didn’t know most of this shit, people would die! Seriously! Pisses me off! Pay us according to our knowledge like the pharmacists. Better pay and training will yield better employees, hands down! I know I don’t know everything about pharmacy and I will be the first to admit it. Just appreciate what we do know!

  146. Silky1 says:

    Being as though I am considering going into this field, Id like to think I would be better appreciated.
    It can in fact be a rewarding job.

    • Igor E. says:

      Don’t keep your hopes up, a job is a job! It all about people you work with, and my team is great! I work with 2 RPhs and they are the coolest peps ever! Respect them both and they dont make me feel dumb at all. They talk on my level and show respect. Thats how it is supposed to be.

  147. Ann Gallo Morris says:

    Interesting. Is this what I have to look forward to as a tech? A boss who doesn’t want me to take a certification exam because I might get uppity? Awesome.

  148. Mike says:

    What I don’t understand is WHY anyone would complain about gaining more knowledge regardless of using it or not. Seriously, an educated tech is 100 times better than an uneducated tech. And any technician wanting to get into pharmacy school would greatly benefit from this “excess” knowledge on an academic level. Not to mention it is going to be required for any NEW pharmacy technician to go through an ASHP accredited program and or have an associates, which is great because it means more pay. So stop complaining about what you don’t need to know and be happy that the knowledge is offered.

  149. Yadgyu says:

    Pharm Tech work is for people that are too lazy or dumb to go to college but too smart to work at Walmart. Just suck it up and do whatever you have to do to make the job better.

    Forget all of that textbook stuff. You are the person in charge, not the asshole pharmacist. You have to understand that you do most of the work. So if you want to give patients advice or change prescriptions, then go for it. Stop being babies and grow some balls.

    The only people that get ahead are those with the cajones to make shit happen. Run that pharmacy like you own the place, because you do. You aren’t making a lot, so you might as well take all liberties that you can and enjoy it.

    • Ghent says:

      Actually, Yadgyu, do that and you will be charged with malpractice, arrested, stripped of your license and registration, and likely never work as a pharmacy tech anywhere ever again.

      It is illegal for ANYONE except a pharmacist or pharmacy-intern with a pharmacist present with them to counsel a patient on anything related to a drug.

      You clearly know nothing about pharmacy or pharmacy techs. Good ones work very hard, are very accurate, and are very smart. You’re a very sad, and small person, to insult a pharmacy tech.

  150. Lisa says:

    I have been a technician in both the retail and hospital setting for almost 14 years, and can see both sides of the discussion on certification. I “grew up” in a mom & pop retail pharmacy store, which was run extremely well by a very clever and effective pharmacist/manager. Certification was not required then, and none of us were certified. Yet, when a certified tech came over to us after leaving CVS, we found that she knew less about pharmacy work than we did. Practical pharmacy is different from hypothetical practice in a book. She had no experience with the former. We had to lead her by the hand for a year or more. But eventually, she began to get the hang of it. It was not until our store owner semi-retired and Walgreens bought us out that I had to become certified. The good thing was that Walgreens paid for it. That being done, I left there and went into hospital work for the next 5 years. I don’t agree with the idea that hospital is where you are more likely to use clinical information. In spite of the PPMI and the buzz about “new roles” for technicians, hospital work is just as restrictive as retail, only in different ways. It’s a trade-off. Things you ignore in hospital you use frequently in retail, and vice versa. IV and Pyxis experience were the primary benefits of learning hospital. But just as in retail, it was the practical training I received on site, and not the test, that broadened my knowledge.

    The value of the PTCE, to me, depends upon what materials you choose as CE. I dislike being assigned CEs full of information I cannot use. And I find that what qualifies as “counseling” depends on points of view. One of the Walgreens training modules that I used defined “telling a patient the generic equivalent name for a brand medication” as “counseling.” In independent retail, the pharmacist would allow us to communicate certain general information to patients (take this with food, do not refrigerate this but shake it well, keep this an hour away from calcium supplements or dairy products, etc.), because we did so under his direction. But if they began to ask questions, or go more in depth, we would need to refer to the pharmacist. But I really do not like the PPMI and the push to make pharmacists doctors and the techs pharmacists. There is too much risk involved to assign important roles to people who are not fully trained to handle it. And I’ve yet to see a pay increase from it.

  151. Igor E. says:

    Hello, just wanted to put in my 2 cents. In my humble opinion the CONS prevail. There are fewer free CEs available that contain any valuable knowledge that we can really use in our settings, either outpatient/inpatient/infusion etc. We have to pay for something that we can’t use/share. Time vs value – waste of time, oh wait, I’ve learned something about lice treatment! Duh, it has everything you need on the packaging, courtesy of FDA. TIME WASTED! Never the less, the LAW CE should be/stay the only mandatory CE for us to complete, I can deal with 2 CE credits a year! I hope Board of Pharmacy reads this post and get their shit straight.

  152. the starting post – pharmacist spelled perform as “preform” – i hope he can read a script properly and not dispense Adderall for Alderil – LOL – Just Saying.

  153. Claire says:

    I think it’s ignorant of any of you to think you should know just enough to get by in your job. I am a CPhT at a compounding pharmacy. Everything on the certification exam I use in my job. I also got a lot from on the job training but my knowledge before hand made it easier for my pharmacist to train me. I do EVERYTHING under the supervision of my pharmacist, of course. Keeping my self educated and up-to-date with not only pharmacy law but strategies in working with the patients, doctors & their offices and my pharmacists helps maintain a great workplace. But, I’m not surprised as we did take on students doing rotations for their pharmacy tech program from a local tech school. That lasted a year at the most as they too were too ignorant to the fact they should know more than counting pills and using a cash register. We finally stopped dealing with them as it was more work to clean up behind them. They had no drive, no knowledge or care and their jobs were, at best, half-assed. Seriously, you should always want to grow. As far as paying for CEs, yes, it sucks, but nothing in life is free. Get over it. Or just get a new job where CEs are not required. You could start by mopping floors in a fast food joint, washing lettuce and before you know it you’ll be moved up to fries (love the actual quote from Coming to America). Those jobs don’t require any CEs.

  154. growing every day says:

    Angry Pharmacist wants to dumb us down to make him/her feel superior and validate all that money and time spent on school. I’ve been a Cpht for 20 years. I’ve worked with MANY pharmacists right out of school that can’t form a complete sentence can’t spell or barely speak English. Some have even used Google to counsel patients ! No school or book can teach knowledge gained from life and experience . My Intern had never heard of alternating tylenol and ibuprofen every 3 hours for high fever in kids but having 3 kids im the professional here. Retail Rph hides behing a computer screen standing in one spot verifying my hard work. I agree everyone needs to know their legal boundaries including an Rph who thinks they are an MD. Never stop learning or do just enough to get by. That’s why the US is a joke when it comes to education.

  155. William says:

    I’ll likely post here, and then forget about it.

    I work in a retail situation myself, while the work itself is aggrevating because I’m unable to share with customers what I do know and assist the pharmacist in counseling, I don’t really appreciate the idea of “We shouldn’t know this just because we won’t use it.” I cannot say that I’ve ever worked with a pharmacist who hasn’t appreciated and used the knowledge that their technicians have learned.

    If we applied the logic that you’ve used to everyday life, then what exactly would public schools be about? I won’t chew you out for your thoughts as you’re entitled to them, but don’t look down on us and think we’re “supposed” to know less just because we don’t have your credentials. In fact, you should think of it as a compliment and as an asset. Doctors don’t look down on their nurses just because they didn’t go to school for that extra time. Techs that WANT to learn despite the fact that they aren’t required to do so should be appreciated. You’re required to know, we aren’t.

    That being said, I’ve made great use of what I’ve learned. Often times when a patient drops off a script, I’m immediately able to identify any potential issues and discuss them with the pharmacist prior to the patient walking off thinking that everything is hunky-dory.

    So don’t pass up on the idea of your techs knowing this stuff, it might not be used in the same applications that you would use it for (checking for interactions, allergies, ect.) but it’s most definitely handy when applied correctly.

    A good example would be when a patient passed me a script for both simvastatin and amlodipine, 80mg and 10mg respectively. I know that the amlodipine increases the statin levels in the blood/makes it work more effectively. For some, that can be a good combo. But too much, and you’ve got an issue. I’d know at this point that I need to take this to the pharmacist and let him/her have a look. It circumvents most issues and helps the patient keep track of their own health.

    Oh, and I will “chew out” the techs for something though.
    “I don’t get why I need to know this!”
    Its a part of your job, while you don’t do quite as much as the pharmacist will in this area, your job is to HELP the pharmacist. If you’re constantly passing bad scripts or wrong scripts to the pharmacist because of ignorance then that’s a problem. The test is also designed to be taken all over the US, which means that the laws from state-to-state vary. Where I work, techs are allowed to make basic compounds under the supervision of a pharmacist and often enough we’re required to do some of the math formulas that pharmacists would use to calculate use. And yes, I’m retail.

    You not saying that you need to know at least some of these things is akin to your patients saying, “I don’t know or care why I’m supposed to take this, but my doctor says to take it. So I’ll take it even if it hurts me.”

    Bottom line? Be educated. You’ll have no idea how well that serves for job security until you’re lacking a job.

    Oh, and for those of us who actually want the CE?
    Hopefully here’s a little gem that’ll help.
    http://anhi.org/cme (CE courtesy of Abbott, some of it is free.)
    pharmacytechniciansletter.com (For those of us that don’t know about this site, go for it. My company pays for the subscription, but I’d pay for the subscription myself even if they didn’t. This place is full of CE and has an app for smartphones so you’re able to do the CE on the go.)

    Thanks for listening!

  156. Sara D says:

    I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to chime in real quick. I was an EMT until for a few years and I just wanted to get off the road for a while. I saw that I could take the CPhT exam without training, and I thought this would be easy and seemed like an okay job. I studied Pharmacy Technician books, sat for the test, which wasn’t that much money and it was easy, and before I started working for UPMC, I worked at Target for $12 an hour. UPMC pays me more and I’ve had gnarly benefits since day 1. For me, obtaining my CPhT, was a good idea. I have no school loans, I still maintain my EMT license,,I don’t make a TON of money but EVERYTHING I learned in my books and study guides, I use at the Pharmacy. Ask anyone who works for a major medical system- techs spend SIX weeks just training in the IV room, and that is only a THIRD of the training. Thank god I know what particular drugs are for and what they do and what dosage I might need. I would constantly be nagging the pharmacists otherwise. It’s not an easy job. It’s intimidating if you don’t know something, or yes a small mistake will leave you feeling stupid and you won’t “like” that Pharmacist because he or she knows you can’t be depended on totally, not yet at least. This is getting kind of long, I could go on forever. But oh yes, I started at Target, and I DO know what retail techs go through every day because I did that for two years. My pharmacy manager was tough, and there was a LOT to learn there and learn it right. I don’t know, you guys are annoying me. I do sooo much as a Tech at a hospital, and I did soooo much as a Tech at a retail pharmacy. Are you guys too lazy to just get the useless CPhT? What’s wrong with knowing more. Pharmacies make so many mistakes, usually, an “improperly trained” technician makes the actual error, but the Pharmacist that checked it goes down as well. So don’t you Pharmacists WANT technicians who know more? This whole, “Yea but I don’t want them counseling patients.” I’ve never witnessed this, we all know what we can or can’t do. Do you guys work in towns where your pharmacy is connected to the main register in the front where groceries are all rung up? Is that your only arguement? It’s pretty weak. We CAN do things like read right from the bottle, or read the dosage. We ARE able to do some stuff. This thread is weak. -“The Angry Technician” lol

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