Now more than ever, U.S. hospitals and retail pharmacies need qualified professionals to fill over three billion prescriptions that filter through pharmacies each year. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment opportunities are booming, especially for Certified Pharmacy Technicians. The median pay for Tennessee’s pharmacy technicians is $28,868 or more depending on experience, location, education, and shift differentials. Pharmacy technicians work in various places, but their responsibilities depend on the settings. The responsibilities at a retail location are widely different from those at hospitals. In the hospital, a technician might prepare I.V. and critical care medications to deliver to the nurses’ station while technicians at retail locations might manage inventory, process prescriptions, and bill insurance companies. All pharmacy technicians work under a pharmacist’s supervision. Pharmacy technician training may help you prepare for a lifelong career or open the door to other careers in health.
Tennessee Pharmacy Technician Requirements
Any individual practicing as a pharmacy technician must register with the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy by submitting an application on a Board-provided form. Along with the application, the individual must submit the registration fee, results of a criminal background check, and a declaration of citizenship. The Board will review the application and issue the license within 7 to 14 business days after receipt of all required documents.
After registration, pharmacy technicians have a responsibility to:
- Wear appropriate identification at all times. The ID should include the technician’s name and job title.
- Perform duties as directed by and under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist only.
- Maintain registration by renewing biennially.
- Display evidence of registration in the place of employment.
- Notify the board in writing of any changes in address or employer.
Probationary employees and students completing experiential training as part of a formal training program are exempt from registration. Pharmacy interns performing the duties of a pharmacy technician do not need to submit another registration with the Board. Pharmacy employers must verify a prospective employee’s registration status before extending an offer of employment.
The Tennessee Board of Pharmacy accepts registration for licensure from individuals 18 years and older.
As of 2015, there are no educational requirements defined for pharmacy technicians. The increasing scope of practice for pharmacy technicians could lead to sweeping changes in the future. The lack of requirements by the Board does not reflect employer requirements, which could range from high school graduation to completion of formal training and national certification. An employer’s rate of pay is synonymous with the pharmacy technician’s education, experience, and certification.
All applicants for pharmacy technician registration are responsible for scheduling and completing the requirements for a criminal background check. Applicants must submit their fingerprints as part of the process; IdentoGO will check TBI and FBI records to verify the candidate’s standing. IdentoGO facilitates online and over-the-phone scheduling. The fingerprint scan must be completed within two weeks of registration. Candidates outside of Tennessee should contact the Board of Pharmacy to request a fingerprint card for completing the background check. It is critical to disclose any criminal convictions or disciplinary actions on the application form as falsifying information could result in immediate denial of licensure.
The Pharmacy Technician Program
Pharmacy technician training provides the technical instruction and skill development students need to earn gainful employment in hospital, retail, and mail order pharmacies. ASHP-accredited programs provide learning experiences that help students develop through hands-on and didactic instruction. Graduates are also prepared to sit for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).
Students applying for training must meet the school’s general admission requirements, which will be outlined in the application prior to enrolling. Common requirements for enrollment include drug/alcohol screening, a high school diploma, criminal background check, proof of immunization, and success on an entrance exam. A physical exam, laboratory tests, and liability insurance may also be required before commencing the clinical segment of the training.
Training at an externship site is a critical aspect of the training as it exposes students to a pharmacy technician’s responsibilities in a real-world setting. A licensed pharmacist supervises pharmacy technician students at the clinical site and shares his/her knowledge and in-field expertise with the students. Some traditional areas of study include pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacy calculations, pharmacology, top 100 drugs, third party reimbursement, and career readiness.
All students must comply with the institute’s policies and complete the curriculum requirements to qualify for graduation and success on the PTCE.
Duration and Cost
ASHP accredited training programs cost an average of $14,500 for three semesters of training. Other costs, such as books, supplies, insurance, uniform, and administrative costs could add an extra $1,500 to the final cost of training. All twelve ASHP accredited schools offer some sort of financial aid to qualifying students. The program length depends on the final outcome of the training, which can vary from a certificate to a diploma or an associate’s degree. Generally, full-time students can graduate from a pharmacy technician program in 12 to 16 months. Free training may be available through pharmacy-sponsored programs. However, due to the increasing demands on pharmacists and other pharmacy staff, in-house training is rare.
National certification is not a requirement for Tennessee Board of Pharmacy registration. As the role of pharmacy technicians evolve, Tennessee, like a growing number of state boards, may soon embrace certification. Pharmacy employers recognize the benefits of certification and may give preference to trained and certified technicians who are equipped to bear greater responsibilities in the pharmacy.
Certified Pharmacy Technicians typically perform the tasks delegated by a licensed pharmacist in accordance with Tennessee’s rules and regulations. Those tasks include processing physicians’ orders over the phone, reading prescriptions and retrieving the medications, establishing patient profiles, processing insurance claim forms, and verifying the work other registered pharmacy technicians perform.
CPhTs also benefit from more job opportunities, opportunities for advancement, better salary, and professional designation. The PTCE, offered by the PTCB, is a widely recognized exam that tests technicians’ competency skills.
Applicants for CPhT designation must have a high school diploma or equivalent education, be 18 years or older, agree to comply with the PTCB rules, disclose criminal or disciplinary actions, and pass the PTCE. Criminal actions may disqualify a candidate from certification.
After the PTCB approves the application, you can schedule the computerized test at a Pearson Vue center. Formal training, though not a requirement, improves candidates’ chances of success on the multiple-choice exam. The certification fee is $120. CPhTs must complete the continuing education requirements and renew their registration biennially to maintain the designation.
Acquiring Your State License
A pharmacy technician registered by the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy performs tasks associated with the preparation and dispensing of medication under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. The pharmacist must ensure technicians comply with state regulations governing the practice of pharmacy technicians.
In addition to the routine tasks, certified pharmacy technicians may receive new or transferred oral medical and prescription orders, receive and transfer prescription orders between pharmacies, and verify the work performed by other registered pharmacy technicians. While there are no certification requirements for registration, certified pharmacy technicians enjoy greater responsibilities and higher salaries.
Pharmacy Technician Application:
Use the following guidelines to register as a pharmacy technician:
- Complete the application for registration, providing answers to all questions.
- Enclose the application fee of $85 using a check or money order.
- Complete the pharmacy technician affidavit and keep a copy on file at your place of employment.
- Set up an appointment to scan your fingerprint as a first step to initiating a criminal background check.
- Complete the declaration of citizenship and include a copy of your Tennessee Driver’s License, citizen card, passport, birth certificate, or another form of government-issued identification. Resident aliens may submit a permanent resident card, refugee travel document, employment authorization card, or unexpired foreign passport.
- Include a copy of your national certification if available.
Note: The Board will return incomplete applications, applications with the lack of accompanying documents, and those where the applicant fails to meet the requirements for registration. The Board will hold applications for a period of no more than 60 days after written notification; applicants must complete the requirements or submit the missing document within the “pending period.” Criminal background checks may take up to three weeks for completion. The Board will issue the license and mail to the address indicated on the application form within 14 days of receiving all required documents.
Technician registrations must be renewed biennially using the online portal. The Board will send a notification renewal via email – if you opt in. Review and respond to all the questions related to your renewal. Submitting the information certifies that your statements are true and correct. There are no continuing education requirements for pharmacy technicians.
Pay the renewal fee of $85 using a debit or credit card after submitting your responses to the questions. Print the confirmation of renewal for your records and check your registration status within two business days to ensure your renewal is complete. The Board will mail your renewal certificate after processing.
Pharmacy technicians from other states can submit an application for registration in Tennessee – there are no provisions for licensure by endorsement or reciprocity. You must contact the Board to request a fingerprint card if living outside Tennessee at the time of application.
Contact the Board:
Tennessee State Board of Pharmacy
Tennessee Board of Pharmacy
665 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-2718
Pharmacy Technician Training Programs Tennessee
Chattanooga, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Chattanooga State Technical Community College
4501 Amnicola Highway
Chattanooga, TN 37406-1097
Virginia College School of Business and Health – Chattanooga
721 Eastgate Loop Road
Chattanooga, TN 37411
Cookeville, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Fortis Institute – Cookeville
1025 Hwy 111
Cookeville, TN 38506
Harriman, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Roane State Community College
276 Patton Lane
Harriman, TN 37748
(865) 354-3000 X4242
Knoxville, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Virginia College – Knoxville
5003 North Broadway Street
Knoxville, TN 37918-2472
Memphis, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Concorde Career College
5100 Poplar Avenue, Suite 132
Memphis, TN 38137
Remington College – Memphis
2710 Nonconnah Blvd
Memphis, TN 38132
Southwest Tennessee Community College
737 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Memphis
550 Alabama Avenue
Memphis, TN 38105-3604
Morristown, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Walters State Community College
500 South Davy Crockett Parkway
Morristown, TN 37813-6899
Murfreesboro, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro
1303 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Nashville, TN Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Remington College – Nashville
441 Donelson Pike, Suite 150
Nashville, TN 37214