PTCB Announces Point-of-Care Testing Certificate
Earlier this week, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) announced the availability of the Point-of-care Testing Certificate for pharmacy technicians. The creation of this new credential recognizes the important role of pharmacy technicians in providing testing services during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also recognizes the capabilities of pharmacy technicians to potentially expand their role in providing testing services for patients.
Pharmacy Technicians and Point-of-Care Testing
The pharmacy technician role continues to evolve in response to changes in the healthcare landscape and the breadth of training that technicians receive. Allowing pharmacy technicians to perform duties at the “top of their license” maximizes their value and utility to the healthcare system. It also allows pharmacists to focus on clinical roles and practice at the top of their license as well.
Point-of-care (POC) testing has been an important aspect of pharmacy practice for decades. Pharmacists who provide disease state management services monitor patients with various tests. These include diabetes markers, cholesterol levels, blood coagulation tests, drug concentration levels, and many others. As the role of the pharmacy technician advances, they play increasingly important roles in coordinating testing and potentially even performing the test themselves.
Pharmacy technicians were initially authorized to administer point-of-care (POC) COVID-19 tests as part of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act of 2020. This legislation was enacted to expand healthcare services in order to scale to the testing and treatment demands brought by the pandemic. This landmark legislation marked the first time that pharmacy technicians received blanket authorization to administer a test. Many states are evaluating rules and regulations that may expand the role of pharmacy technicians in similar regard.
Point-of-Care Testing Certificate Requirements
Currently, the PTCB is requiring all applicants to have already attained their CPhT credential by passing the PTCE. In addition, completion of a PTCB-recognized Point-of-Care Testing education program is required. More information about eligibility and a list of available recognized programs can be found here: https://www.ptcb.org/credentials/point-of-care-testing-certificate
Similar to the PTCE, the POC-testing certificate exam is a multiple-choice, online-based exam using the Pearson VUE software. There are 62-questions, and test-takers have a total of one hour and twenty minutes for the exam. Additionally, there is a 5-minute tutorial prior to and a 5-minute survey after the exam. The knowledge domains represented on the exam are safety and precautions, diseases and specimens, CLIA-waived tests, and test-results, quality control, and recording.
The application fee for the exam is $89, but the PTCB is running a special discounted price of $59 through January 2022.
Completing the POC-testing certificate provides the pharmacy technician with a credential recognizing their expertise. It could result in being a more attractive candidate to employers using pharmacy technicians to coordinate lab tests. Additionally, this certificate counts towards the certification and certificate requirements to become an advanced certified pharmacy technician. Collectively, pharmacy technicians earning this certificate and showing their value in coordinating tests could help to advance the pharmacy technician profession through legislative changes and innovations in pharmacy practice.
For those interested in pursuing this certificate but who are not yet certified, the next step will be pursuing the CPhT credential. Our online PTCB-recognized education program is an excellent way to prepare for the PTCE.