Requirements to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Iowa

Requirements to become a pharmacy technician in Iowa

As of June 1st, 2012, approximately 680 hospital and retail pharmacies in the state of Iowa employ well over four thousand professional pharmacy technicians.  Pharmacy technicians are pharmaceutical assistants who help licensed pharmacists with daily tasks, which may include the handling or processing of government-controlled substances.  Nevertheless, nearly a thousand pharmacy technicians currently employed at Iowa pharmacies are technically unlicensed.  However, this is (in most cases) not for lack of skill, but a mere technicality due to the fact that many experienced pharmacy technicians do not possess up-to-date licenses.  Other unlicensed pharmacy assistants are interns, externs and administrative personnel. 

Iowa State Regulations for Pharmacy Technicians

As of July 1st, 2009, all pharmacy technicians who work for Iowa pharmacists must possess a state-issued license from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).  Registration with the Board is required within thirty days of the start date of employment.  The registration process involves the submission of a fully completed application form, along with a registration fee of about fifty dollars.  All licensed pharmacy technicians must renew their registrations every two years, no later than the last day of each applicant's birth month.  No specific training program is required for local employment as a pharmacy technician in Iowa. However, Board certification requires (among other things) the passing of a standardized exam. The Iowa Pharmacy Board approves the PTCB exam as well as the nationally recognized Exam for Certified Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).  Continuing education is also required to maintain valid certification.   The onsite activities of pharmacy technicians in the state of Iowa are primarily dictated by local pharmacists, state board regulations and federal laws.  According to state guidelines pertaining to healthcare professionals, there is currently no maximum allowable ratio of pharmacy technicians to pharmacists in the state of Iowa. 

Iowa Training Programs for Pharmacy Technicians Include:

Iowa residents who seek local employment as pharmacy technicians often acquire skills at accredited local colleges.  Prominent Iowa schools offering certification programs for pharmacy technicians include Vatterott College in Des Moines, Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City and University of Phoenix, which features facilities in Cedar Rapids and West Des Moines. Meanwhile, some aspiring pharmacy technicians acquire skills through PTCB-approved training programs available at local pharmacies.  Still, others acquire professional skills by way of online degree programs.  Popular accredited online colleges with licensing training for pharmacy technicians include Provo College, Rasmussen College, Ayers Career College, YTI Institute and Landsdale School of Business, to name only a few.