Do you need a license to be a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy Technician License

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician, you may be wondering whether obtaining a pharmacy technician license is necessary. In the field of healthcare, pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in assisting pharmacists with various tasks related to medication management and customer service. In this article, we will explore the topic of pharmacy technician licenses and provide you with accurate information to help you make an informed decision.

Curious about the qualifications needed to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician? Dive into our in-depth article that answers all your questions. Discover ‘What do you need to be a Pharmacy Technician‘ by clicking here.

Understanding the Role of a Pharmacy Technician

Before diving into the specifics of licensing requirements, it is essential to understand the responsibilities of a pharmacy technician. These professionals work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists to perform various tasks, including:

  1. Assisting with medication dispensing: Pharmacy technicians help prepare prescriptions, measure medications, and label them accurately.
  2. Managing inventory: They monitor stock levels, order medications and supplies, and ensure the proper storage and organization of products.
  3. Providing customer service: Pharmacy technicians interact with customers, answering questions, providing information about medications, and assisting with insurance claims.
  4. Compounding medications: In some settings, pharmacy technicians may be involved in compounding medications, which requires careful measurement and adherence to safety protocols.
  5. Utilizing technology: They use specialized software and computer systems to process prescriptions, maintain patient profiles, and track inventory.

As of 2022, there are over 600,000 certified pharmacy technicians in the United States.

The Importance of Pharmacy Technician Licensing

Pharmacy technician licenses are designed to ensure that individuals working in this role possess the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their duties safely and effectively. Obtaining a license demonstrates that a pharmacy technician has met specific educational and training requirements and is committed to maintaining professional standards.

State-by-State Variations in Pharmacy Technician Licensing

Licensing requirements for pharmacy technicians vary from state to state within the United States. Some states have mandatory licensing programs, while others do not require licensure. The specific criteria for obtaining a pharmacy technician license, if required, may also differ across states.

In states where licensing is mandatory, pharmacy technicians must typically complete the following steps:

  1. Education or training: Completion of an accredited pharmacy technician program or equivalent training is often a prerequisite for licensure. These programs provide aspiring pharmacy technicians with the knowledge and skills necessary for the role.
  2. Examinations: Many states require candidates to pass a standardized exam, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). These exams assess a candidate’s understanding of pharmacy laws, medication safety, and other essential topics.
  3. Background check: A background check may be required to ensure that applicants do not have any criminal history that would disqualify them from working in a pharmacy setting.
  4. Application and fees: Prospective pharmacy technicians must complete an application and pay the necessary licensing fees.

Whether you need a license to be a pharmacy technician depends on the state you live in. In some states, such as California, Florida, and Texas, you are required to have a license to work as a pharmacy technician. In other states, such as Arizona and Colorado, you are not required to have a license, but you may be required to be certified.

Here are the requirements to become a licensed pharmacy technician in Texas:

  • Must be at least 17 years old
  • Complete a Board-approved pharmacy technician training program
  • Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)
  • Apply for and be granted a license by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy

Here are the requirements to become a certified pharmacy technician in Texas:

  • Must be at least 17 years old
  • Complete a Board-approved pharmacy technician training program or have at least 500 hours of pharmacy technician experience
  • Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

If you are not sure whether you need a license to be a pharmacy technician in your state, you can contact your state’s board of pharmacy.

It is important to note that some states have additional requirements, such as continuing education or ongoing certification, to maintain an active pharmacy technician license.

The first pharmacy technician license was issued in the United States in the year 1972.

Advantages of Obtaining a Pharmacy Technician License

While licensure requirements may seem like an additional hurdle, there are several advantages to obtaining a pharmacy technician license:

  1. Career opportunities: In states where licensure is mandatory, having a pharmacy technician license is essential for securing employment. Many employers prefer to hire licensed pharmacy technicians to ensure compliance with state regulations.
  2. Professional credibility: Obtaining a license demonstrates your commitment to the profession and your dedication to maintaining the highest standards of patient care. It can enhance your professional reputation and open doors to advancement opportunities.
  3. Expanded scope of practice: Some states grant additional responsibilities and expanded roles to licensed pharmacy technicians, such as the ability to administer vaccinations or perform medication therapy management services. A license can broaden your career prospects and increase your earning potential.

The PTCB exam for pharmacy technician license is a computer-based exam that consists of 120 multiple-choice questions. The pass rate for the PTCB exam is typically around 70%.

Alternatives to Licensure

In states where pharmacy technician licensure is not mandatory, individuals may still choose to pursue voluntary certification. National certification programs, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), offer certifications that are recognized nationwide.

While certification is not a substitute for licensure, it demonstrates a candidate’s competence and dedication to the profession. Many employers prefer to hire certified pharmacy technicians even in states where licensure is not required.


Obtaining a pharmacy technician license is an important consideration for individuals pursuing a career in this field. While licensing requirements vary from state to state, the benefits of obtaining a license, such as increased job opportunities and professional credibility, cannot be overstated. Additionally, voluntary national certifications can further enhance a pharmacy technician’s career prospects.

Before embarking on a career as a pharmacy technician, it is crucial to research the specific licensing requirements in your state and ensure compliance with all necessary steps. By obtaining the appropriate education, passing the required exams, and meeting any additional criteria, you can position yourself for success as a licensed pharmacy technician.

Remember, the field of pharmacy is constantly evolving, and staying informed about the latest regulations and best practices is essential for providing the highest level of patient care.


  1. American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (2021)
  2. Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) (2021)
  3. National Healthcareer Association (NHA) (2021)

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