Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in North Carolina

North Carolina Pharmacy Technician

North Carolina Pharmacy Technician Requirements

Are you ready to embark on a rewarding career as a pharmacy technician in the Tar Heel State? This guide will provide you with a step-by-step roadmap, outlining everything you need to know about getting registered and potentially certified to work in this dynamic healthcare field in North Carolina. Please note that it’s essential to always refer to the official North Carolina Board of Pharmacy website ( for the most current and accurate regulations.

Work Environments for Pharmacy Technicians in North Carolina

Pharmacy technicians in North Carolina work in a variety of dynamic and essential healthcare settings across the state. Here’s a look at some of the common places you might find yourself working, along with some of the state’s major pharmacy and healthcare employers:

  • Retail Pharmacies: Receive and process prescriptions, interact with customers, and work with insurance companies. Examples include CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart.
  • Hospitals: Prepare and deliver medications to patients within hospitals, potentially specializing in areas like IV compounding or chemotherapy preparation. Examples include UNC Health Care, Duke University Hospital, and WakeMed Health & Hospitals.
  • Long-Term Care Facilities: Assist in the preparation and distribution of medications for residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
  • Specialty Pharmacies: Assist in dispensing and preparing complex medications for specific disease states.
  • Mail-Order Pharmacies: Fill prescriptions and ship them directly to patients.

In all of these settings, there may be an opportunity to perform more advanced functions and support pharmacists in their care of patients.

Step 1: Understanding the Requirements

To work as a pharmacy technician in North Carolina, you must meet the following criteria set by the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy:

  • Education: Have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED) or be enrolled in a program that awards a high school diploma.
  • Employment: Be employed by a pharmacy holding a valid in-state pharmacy permit.
  • Training/Credentialing:
    • Option 1: Training Program. Complete a training program approved by the supervising pharmacist-manager that includes: pharmacy terminology, pharmacy calculations, dispensing systems and labeling requirements, pharmacy laws and regulations, record keeping and documentation, and the proper handling and storage of medications.
    • Option 2: National Certification. Hold a current pharmacy technician certification issued by either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association’s (NHA) ExCPT certification.

Important Notes

  • Certification: While not strictly mandatory, national certification (such as through the PTCB or NHA) is often preferred by North Carolina employers and might increase your career opportunities.
  • The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy may deny registration based on disciplinary actions, criminal history, or other factors outlined in their regulations.

Step 2: Choosing a Certification Path

While not mandatory, this is an efficient way to meet North Carolina’s training requirement and bolster your resume. The two national certification organizations that are recognized in North Carolina are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Let’s look at these options:

Option 1: PTCB Certification

  • Complete a PTCB-recognized training program
  • OR gain 500 hours of practical experience as a pharmacy technician: This pathway would be feasible for individuals who opt to meet initial training requirements through a training program offered by their employer.
  • Pass the PTCB exam: Once you’ve completed the training or gained the experience, you’ll need to register for and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

Option 2: NHA Certification

  • Complete an NHA-recognized training program: Similar to PTCB, search for programs on the NHA website.
  • OR gain practical experience as a pharmacy technician: As noted above, this pathway would be feasible for individuals who opt to meet initial training requirements through a training program offered by their employer.
  • Pass the ExCPT exam: After completing the program or gaining experience, you’ll need to pass the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians.

Important Note: Even if you opt for the pharmacy-approved training program initially, consider pursuing national certification later in your career for the increased opportunities and recognition it potentially brings.

Step 3: Applying for Registration in North Carolina

Once you’ve met the education, training, and/or certification requirements, you’re ready to apply for registration as a pharmacy technician in North Carolina. Here’s the process:

  1. Apply Online: Create an account at
  2. Complete the Application: The packet provides instructions and the application form. You’ll need to submit your personal information, proof of education or certification, and responses to questions about disciplinary actions (if any).
  3. Pay the Application Fee: The current application fee is listed on the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy website and within the application packet. At the time of this post, the fee is $30.
  4. Submit Supporting Documentation: Along with your application and fee, you’ll submit supporting documentation as specified in the packet. This might include:
    • Verification of your training program completion (if applicable).
    • Proof of national certification (PTCB, NHA, or other Board-approved certification).

Important Note: The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy will carefully review your application. Prepare to provide additional details to facilitate a smooth process.

Step 4: Renewing Your Registration

North Carolina pharmacy technician registrations expire annually on December 31st. To maintain your ability to work, you must renew on time! Here’s what you need to know:

  • Renewal Cycle: You must renew your registration before December 31st each year to avoid lapsing. You’ll likely receive a renewal notice from the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy.
  • Renewal Fees: Pay the required renewal fee to the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy. Be sure to check their website as fees are subject to change.
  1. Renewal Process: The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy uses an electronic renewal process, and you can access the renewal by logging into your account at
  • Continuing Education (CE): North Carolina does not currently have continuing education (CE) requirements for pharmacy technician registration renewal. However, CE is required to maintain national certification through the PTCB or the NHA.

Important Notes:

  • If you fail to renew your registration before December 31st, it will lapse. You will have a 60-day grace period but will be unable to work as a pharmacy technician after that point.
  • To reinstate a lapsed registration (expired for more than 60 days), you’ll need to meet reinstatement requirements as detailed in 21 NCAC 46 .1612 of the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy regulations.

Additional Tips for Success

  • Network with Pharmacy Professionals: Build connections within the North Carolina pharmacy field by attending industry events, joining professional associations like the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists (NCAP), or reaching out to pharmacists or technicians in your area.
  • Develop Strong Communication Skills: Pharmacy technicians interact extensively with patients, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. Practice clear communication, active listening, and empathy to excel in this role.
  • Stay Current: Keep up with updates in North Carolina pharmacy regulations, best practices, and new therapies. Even if continuing education isn’t mandated, consider taking CE courses, subscribing to industry publications, or attending conferences. This demonstrates your commitment to professional development.
  • Pursue National Certification: If you aren’t already certified, pursue credentials through the PTCB or NHA. National certification is highly regarded by North Carolina employers and broadens your career opportunities.


Becoming a pharmacy technician in North Carolina is an achievable goal. By following the steps outlined in this guide, including pursuing national certification when eligible, you’ll be well on your way to launching a fulfilling career in this essential healthcare role.

North Carolina Pharmacy Technician FAQ

  • How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician in North Carolina? The timeline varies depending on your certification path and chosen training route. You could potentially complete an employer-based training program  or pursue certification and the registration process within a few months.
  • What is the average salary for a pharmacy technician in North Carolina? Average salary figures vary by location within North Carolina. Research resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or salary comparison websites for the most up-to-date information on your specific area. As of May 2023, the BLS reported over 15,000 employed pharmacy technicians in North Carolina with an average hourly wage of $19.56.
  • Is national certification required to work as a pharmacy technician in North Carolina? No, national certification is not strictly required for initial registration in North Carolina. However, it is an option to satisfy the state’s training requirement and it may be preferred by employers and may increase your career opportunities and earning potential.
  • Where can I find more information about pharmacy technician careers in North Carolina? Here are some helpful resources:

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