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What Are the Differences Between My National Certification and My State License?

So you’ve taken a course, passed your national exam, and you are ready to get out there and find a job. But you’re a bit confused because words like certification, license, continuing education, and renewal have been thrown around and as a new Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), you aren’t quite sure what all of this means or what requirements apply to your national certification and which ones apply to your state license. You are also worried because you plan to move to a different state this summer but you don’t want to retake the national exam again. Let’s dig deeper into some of the many questions and concerns new Certified Pharmacy Technicians often have regarding certifications and licensing.

What You Should Know Regarding Your National Certification:

This is what all of your studying and your entire class was based on….passing this exam! Becoming certified has many advantages. For starters, some states require that you obtain a national certification prior to working as a pharmacy technician. In states that do not yet require this, almost all employers will require that you become nationally certified within one year of your hire date. Nationally certified pharmacy technicians generally make $2-3 more per hour, are more likely to be hired in a hospital pharmacy, and are promoted more quickly. Once you have taken the exam and passed it, you do not need to retake the exam. However, your national certification will expire after two years if you do not renew it. You can find the date for your certification expiration on your certificate or by going to the NHA Certification Portal:

In order to renew your national certification, you must complete continuing education (CE) requirements. You can find a detailed list of these requirements and how to complete them step-by-step on the Continuing Education tab of the KLR Pharmacy Technician School website. Keep in mind that these requirements are the same regardless of which state you live in!

Your national certification is just that…national. This means that if you decide to move to a different state, you do not need to do anything additional to remain certified. Your certification is valid in all 50 states.