Pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies and hospitals and help licensed pharmacists fill prescriptions. The National Pharmacy Technician Association, or NPTA, offers a national IV certification for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists or you can also become certified in the state where you live in most cases. To earn national certification, you must complete nine modules of home-based learning and pass a test after each module. Earning IV certification supplements other certification you may earn to work as a pharmacy technician.
Certification course work in the NPTA program introduces you to using and working with IVs and other sterile products. Topics you’ll study include facilities, garb and equipment, aseptic calculations and techniques, properties of sterile products and preparing sterile products for use. You’ll also study total parenteral nutrition and chemotherapy. You’ll also learn about quality control and quality assurance protocols and mechanisms.
After completing each home-based module in the NPTA program, you must pass an exam with a score of at least 70 percent. Exams test how well you understand module learning objectives, such as explaining the differences between inhalants, enterals, topicals, ophthalmics, otics and parenteral dosage forms. Other learning objectives cover determining the rate of flow for IV medication, safety procedures for handling chemotherapy agents, calculating dilution techniques, the different forms of TPN preparations and the importance of using aseptic technique in compounding.
You’ll supplement your NPTA course work with training modules geared to familiarize you with using IVs and other sterile equipment. You’ll learn about aseptic hand washing, taking care of horizontal and vertical laminar airflow hoods, vial and ampule manipulations and hazardous vial and ampule manipulations.
NPTA On-Site Training
If you earn certification directly from NPTA, after completing your home-based modules and passing the related exam, you must attend a two-day Sterile Product Training Institute at the NPTA Training Institute in Houston. This hands-on training gives you an opportunity to put into practice the skills you learned while completing the nine home-based learning modules. At the time of publication, tuition for NPTA members is $648, while nonmembers pay $698. These fees are nonrefundable. Completing this IV certification program also counts as 40 continuing education units.
Other Certification Options Available
Instead of earning certification directly through NPTA and traveling to Houston for the two-day training, you can enroll in an IV pharmacy tech certification program closer to home. Charter College in California, for example, offers the NPTA IV certification course and lets students complete the on-campus portion of the course at one of four sites in the state. Richland College in Dallas offers a 56-hour IV certification program for certified pharmacy techs who have registered with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and who have at least 2,000 hours of relevant experience. Spartanburg Community College in South Carolina offers a one-semester Sterile Products Preparation Certification Course for certified pharmacy techs.
The IV pharmacy tech certification does not replace the basic certification you need in order to work as a pharmacy technician. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the National Health Career Association offer certification programs for people who want to work as pharmacy technicians. To qualify for this certification, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED, pass a background check, comply with relevant certification policies and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.
- National Health Career Association: Pharmacy Technician Certification
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board: Apply for Certification
- National Pharmacy Technician Association: IV Certification
- National Pharmacy Technician Association: IV Certification -- Certificate Programs
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pharmacy Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
- National Pharmacy Technician Association: Learning Objectives -- IV Certification
- Charter College: Certified Compounding Technician for Pharmacy Technician
- Richland College: PTCB Approved IV Admixture Technician
- Spartanburg Community College: IV Admixture and Sterile Products Preparation
William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.