A certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) is an individual who assists in the technical functions of the practice of pharmacy, enabling the pharmacist to provide pharmaceutical care to the patient. The supervising pharmacist is responsible for the actions of a certified pharmacy technician.

Any person employed in Iowa as a pharmacy technician is required to obtain and maintain a current registration as a certified pharmacy technician.

A certified pharmacy technician must obtain a CPhT registration prior to working in the secured pharmacy area. Failure to obtain registration prior to working in a pharmacy or failure to maintain national certification is grounds for public discipline.

Registered pharmacist-interns are exempt from pharmacy technician registration.

Iowa Administrative Code (IAC) 657 provides the rules that the Board uses to govern the practice of pharmacy in Iowa. 657 IAC Chapter 3 contains specific rules regarding technicians.

To assist with determining the fees due for registration the Board has created this fee calculator for your use. 

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General Duties and Functions

Using the pharmacy's established policies and procedures and the supervising pharmacist’s professional judgment, a supervising pharmacist may delegate any technical or nontechnical functions in the operation of the pharmacy (except those prohibited by 657 IAC 3.23) to an appropriately trained and registered pharmacy technician. 

The pharmacist must be on site and available to supervise the pharmacy technician when delegated functions are performed except as provided in 657 IAC Chapter 6.7, Chapter 7.6, or Chapter 13.

Except when operating as an approved technician product verification program pursuant to 657 IAC Chapter 40, the pharmacist shall provide and document the final verification for the accuracy, validity, completeness, and appropriateness of the patient’s prescription or medication order prior to the delivery of the medication to the patient or the patient’s representative.

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Hospital Settings

In the absence of a pharmacist, a certified pharmacy technician may be granted access to the pharmacy department to perform authorized technical functions.

A certified pharmacy technician may assist a licensed healthcare professional in locating a drug to meet the emergent needs of a patient but shall not provide final verification of the accuracy of the drug product obtained.

If the pharmacy department is closed, a certified pharmacy technician may be granted access to the pharmacy department to perform authorized technical functions. In the absence of a pharmacist, a certified pharmacy technician may only dispense, deliver, or distribute a drug, including a compounded preparation and controlled substance, when the drug is verified by a pharmacist, including by a remote pharmacist.

During each period of time the certified pharmacy technician is working in the pharmacy without pharmacist supervision, the technician shall document the time worked and activities performed. The documentation shall be periodically reviewed by the pharmacist in charge.

For more information please review 657 IAC 7.6.

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Telepharmacy Settings

A telepharmacy technician is required to maintain current national certification and registration in good standing with the Board as a certified pharmacy technician.

Before practicing in a telepharmacy site, a telepharmacy technician is required to have completed a minimum of 2,000 hours of practice experience as a certified pharmacy technician, at least 1,000 hours of which must be practicing in an Iowa-licensed pharmacy and 160 hours of which must be practicing in a managing pharmacy, at another pharmacy which uses the same audiovisual technology system, or at the telepharmacy site under the direct supervision of an on-site pharmacist.

In addition to training required of all pharmacy technicians, a telepharmacy technician must complete the following minimum training requirements before practicing in a telepharmacy site.

  • Review and understanding of the policies and procedures of the managing pharmacy.
  • Review and understanding of the policies and procedures of the telepharmacy site.
  • Review and understanding of telepharmacy rules, 657 IAC 13.
  • Review and understanding of pharmacy technician rules, 657 IAC Chapter 3.
  • Understanding of the operation of the audiovisual technologies to be utilized at both pharmacies.
  • Training at the telepharmacy site under the direct supervision of an on-site verifying pharmacist. Training must include operation and use of the audiovisual technology and other means of communication between the telepharmacy site and the managing pharmacy and all daily operations from unlocking and opening the telepharmacy site to closing and locking the telepharmacy site at the end of the business day. If the telepharmacy site is protected by one or more alarm systems, training shall include how to disarm and engage the alarm system or systems.

Records of telepharmacy technician training is required to be documented and maintained by the telepharmacy site.

For more information please review 657 IAC 13.

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Prohibited Functions of a CPhT

A pharmacy technician is not authorized to perform any of the following functions:

  1. Except for a certified pharmacy technician participating in an approved technician product verification program pursuant to 657 IAC Chapter 40, provide the final verification for the accuracy, validity, completeness, or appropriateness of a filled prescription or medication order.
  2. Conduct prospective drug use review or evaluate a patient’s medication record for purposes identified in rule 657 IAC 8.21(155A).
  3. Provide patient counseling, consultation, or patient-specific drug information, tender an offer of patient counseling on behalf of a pharmacist, or accept a refusal of patient counseling from a patient or patient’s agent.
  4. Make decisions that require a pharmacist’s professional judgment, such as interpreting prescription drug orders or applying information.
  5. Transfer a prescription drug order for a controlled substance to another pharmacy or receive the transfer of a prescription drug order for a controlled substance from another pharmacy.
  6. Delegate technical functions to a pharmacy support person.
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Technician Employment

Iowa rule requires that a registration be issued prior to commencing work in a secured pharmacy department. 

Employment means that you have been hired by a pharmacy to perform the duties of a pharmacy technician, not necessarily that you have actually started working in the secured pharmacy area. On the application, please identify the pharmacy that has hired you and the anticipated start date to begin working in the secured pharmacy area. If you have already started working in the secured pharmacy area, you must indicate the exact date that you started working in that capacity.   As a reminder, you should not begin work in the secured pharmacy area until registered with the board.  Please be advised that applications can take 5-7 business days upon receipt of application to process and should be taken into consideration at the time of hire.  If you continue employment as a pharmacy technician without a current registration, you (as well as the pharmacy and pharmacist in charge) may be subject to public discipline.

If you have been working for the company in another capacity, or working in the secured pharmacy area in another pharmacy position, but are just now to begin the duties of a pharmacy technician, indicate the anticipated start date you will begin or the actual start date you began to perform the duties of a technician, not the initial date you were hired to work elsewhere with the company or to work in the pharmacy in another position.

You must indicate the licensed Iowa pharmacy where you have been hired, even if you have not started employment.

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Disclosure of Medical Conditions, Criminal History, and Disciplinary Action

General Information

The initial and renewal applications for technician registration ask about any medical conditions the applicant has that might impair the applicant’s ability to perform delegated technical functions. 

The Board also considers any prior criminal history and disciplinary actions when issuing technician registrations.  As part of the application process, you will be asked questions about prior criminal history and disciplinary actions.

If you have any questions concerning these requirements, please notify the Board office.  If any of these situations pertain to you, there may be delays in processing your application.  Please contact the Board office for information as to what documentation may be necessary for registration.  Contacting the Board office about any of these situations may avoid unnecessary delays issuing your registration.

Medical Conditions

Be advised that the application for technician registration asks about any medical conditions you have that might impair your ability to perform delegated technical functions.

Definitions

“Ability to perform required technician-related tasks with reasonable skill and safety” means ALL of the following:

  • The cognitive capacity to use pharmacy systems to obtain necessary patient and prescription related information to process prescriptions
  • The ability to effectively communicate information to pharmacists, providers, other technicians, pharmacy support persons, and patients
  • The ability to perform required tasks such as filling prescriptions, stocking medications, replenishing pharmacy supplies, and other tasks as determined by the pharmacist on duty

“Medical condition” means any physiological, mental, or psychological condition, impairment, or disorder, including drug addiction and alcoholism.

“Chemical substances” means alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, or medications, including those taken pursuant to a valid prescription for legitimate medical purposes and in accordance with the prescriber’s direction, as well as those used illegally.

“Currently” does not mean on the day of, or even in weeks or months preceding the completion of this application.  Rather, it means recently enough so that the use of chemical substances or medical conditions may have an ongoing impact on the ability to function and perform the duties required of a technician, or has adversely affected the ability to function and perform the duties required of a technician within the past two (2) years.

“Improper use of drugs or other chemical substances” means ANY of the following:

The use of any controlled drug, legend drug, or other chemical substances for any purpose other than as directed by a licensed health care practitioner; and

The use of any substance, including but not limited to, petroleum products, adhesive products, nitrous oxide, and other chemical substances for mood enhancement.

“Illegal use of drugs or other chemical substances” means the manufacture, possession, distribution, or use of any drug or chemical substance prohibited by law.

If you answer yes to any of the medical condition questions, you will be required to provide a signed and dated explanation and submit the “Verification of Medical Condition” form which is to be completed by your treating physician(s).

Criminal History

Initial Applicants: You must disclose all convictions, regardless of where or how long ago they occurred.  Failure to disclose a criminal conviction could result in delays in processing or denial of your application.

Renewals: You are required to disclose only convictions from the time of your last application.

The following information is required to be submitted for any criminal conviction:

  • Complete criminal record – At a minimum a copy of the criminal complaint and final court Order will be required.
    • Records can be obtained by contacting the Clerk of Courts in the county where the charges were filed.
  • Personal statement explaining the criminal conviction and whether the conviction directly relates to the practice of pharmacy. A conviction is directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the profession if either (1) the actions taken in furtherance of an offense are actions customarily performed within the scope of the practice of pharmacy, or (2) the circumstances under which an offense was committed are circumstances customary to the practice of pharmacy.
  • All evidence of rehabilitation that you wish to be considered.
    • This could include a description of the circumstances relative to the offense, including any aggravating and mitigating circumstances or social conditions surrounding commission of the offense, any treatment undertaken, any letters of reference, or anything else pertaining to the present fitness of the applicant.

Submitting print outs from Iowa Courts Online is not sufficient information.

You are strongly encouraged to perform a background check on yourself through Iowa Courts Online or to have your employer perform one prior to submitting your application. If any convictions that were not dismissed can be found on Iowa Courts, it is required that they are disclosed when applying.  Keep in mind that the Iowa Courts Online database only shows Iowa state court convictions. 

The list of the Board’s disqualifying convictions can be found in the Applications and Forms section below.

Please review 657 IAC Chapter 31 for more information.

Criminal History Petition for Determination of Eligibility

An individual who has not yet submitted a completed a registration application may petition the Board for a determination of whether one or more of the individual’s convictions are disqualifying offenses that would render the individual ineligible for registration.

An individual with a conviction is not required to petition the Board for an eligibility determination prior to applying for a registration.

To petition the Board for an eligibility determination of whether one or more of the petitioner’s convictions are disqualifying offenses, a petitioner must submit all of the following:

  • A completed petition for eligibility determination form;
  • The complete criminal record for each of the petitioner’s convictions;
  • A personal statement regarding whether each conviction directly relates to the duties and responsibilities of the practice of pharmacy and why the Board should find the petitioner rehabilitated;
  • All evidence of rehabilitation that the petitioner wishes to be considered by the Board; and
  • A nonrefundable fee of $25.

The cutoff for inclusion on the Board's agenda is two weeks prior to a scheduled Board meeting. Requests received after the cutoff will be held for the following Board meeting (i.e. deadline for March 12 meeting is February 27; a request received on February 28 would not go before the Board until the next meeting).

For more information, please see 657 IAC 31.

Disciplinary Action

Initial Applicants: You must disclose all disciplinary action, regardless of where or how long ago it occurred.  Failure to disclose a disciplinary action could result in delays in processing your application or in your application being denied.

Renewals: You are required to disclose only disciplinary action from the time of your last application.

The application requires the disclosure of the following:

  • Any disciplinary or enforcement action imposed by any licensing agency or regulatory authority on any license or registration held by the individual.
  • Knowledge of any charges, complaints or investigations, pending before any licensing authority.
  • Any license or registration denials by any licensing authority.

The following information is required to be submitted for any disclosures:

  • A written description of the event(s).
  • All unredacted documents related to any disciplinary or enforcement action imposed by any licensing agency or regulatory authority.
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National Certification

All pharmacy technicians working in Iowa pharmacies must be nationally certified by an accredited technician certification board to register for the certified pharmacy technician registration (CPhT). Currently accredited boards are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

National certification through the PTCB and the NHA is different from, and in addition to, the requirement to have a current certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) registration issued by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  Both are required to be active in order to work as a certified pharmacy technician. Failure to maintain one or both while working as a pharmacy technician can result in public discipline. National certification does not replace the need for a licensed pharmacist to delegate functions to the certified pharmacy technician and the need for a licensed pharmacist to supervise the performance of delegated functions. 

A person who is currently registered as a technician trainee, upon acquiring national pharmacy technician certification should submit an application for a certified pharmacy technician registration prior to the expiration date of their technician trainee registration.  This ensures timely processing of the application and avoids interruption in performing the duties of a technician.

A certified pharmacy technician must maintain national certification at all times that a certified pharmacy technician registration is held with the Board.

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CPhT Application Information

Initial Application

Beginning July 1, 2021, any person not currently registered with the Board as pharmacy technician is required to obtain registration prior to commencement of employment in an Iowa pharmacy as a pharmacy technician.

It is the expectation of the Board that the CPhT registration is obtained as soon as possible after obtaining national certification.

Applications are only valid for 45 days from the date of receipt. You will be notified by email if additional information is required. If the application has not been completed within 45 days, a new application and fee will have to be submitted if you wish to obtain an Iowa technician registration.

Effective May 12, 2021, a certified pharmacy technician registration will expire on the date that the technician’s national certification expires.  This may result in a prorated fee or shorter registration period following the issuance of the registration. 

Failure to answer all questions completely or accurately, and/or omission or falsification of material facts may be cause for denial of your application, or disciplinary action if you are subsequently registered by the Board. If you are in doubt, answer “yes” and provide an explanation.

Submit the completed application with any required documentation and a check or money order payable to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

  • Do not send cash.
  • Cash and debit/credit cards payments are not accepted by mail or when dropping off an application at the office.  

An individual who fails to register as a certified pharmacy technician may be subject to public discipline.

Unofficial exam results from the NHA or the PTCB do not constitute proof of current national pharmacy technician certification.

Acceptable proof may include a copy of National Technician Certificate or National Technician or Certification Verification printed from the NHA or PTCB verification websites.

Renewal Application

Effective May 12, 2021, the Board will begin converting registration expiration dates to the date that the technician’s national certification expires.  Previously, the registration expired on the last day of the birth month of the registrant every two years.  This change may result in a prorated fee or shorter registration period following the first renewal after May 2021.

After the registration date is aligned with the technician’s national certification the registration will be valid for a period of two years. 

Technicians will need to renew their national certification through NHA or PTCB prior to renewing their Board CPhT registration.  When renewing your state registration, the only CEs that are relevant are to those administering immunizations or working in a telepharmacy setting. Questions related to CEs for the renewal of your national certification through NHA or PTCB must be addressed towards the proper national licensing board.

As a courtesy, the Board office sends a registration renewal notice to each registrant at least 60 days prior to registration expiration, however the option to renew will not be available more than 60 days prior to your renewal date. The renewal notice is sent via email to the registrant’s last known email address. Failure of the registrant to receive the notice does not relieve the registrant of responsibility for renewing that registration prior to its expiration. A registration can be renewed online or by paper application.

Minimum requirements to renew a technician’s registration online:

  • Upload proof of current national technician certification through NHA or PTCB.  Acceptable proof may include a copy of National Technician Certificate or National Technician Certification Verification printed from the NHA or PTCB license verification websites. When uploading the certificate or verification you must use the document type “National Technician Certification.”
  • Update the national technician certification details in the Certification Details section of your Online Profile to ensure the information is complete and up to date.

If the technician’s national certification has expired or expires within 30 days, you are not eligible for renewal.

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Continuing Education Requirements for Telepharmacy Technicians

Beginning with the first full two-year continuing education period for renewal of the technician’s national pharmacy technician certification after beginning practice as a telepharmacy technician, and for each subsequent renewal of national certification for as long as the technician continues to practice as a telepharmacy technician, the technician must complete two hours of continuing education in each of the following activities.

These continuing education requirements are not to be in addition to the total continuing education credits required to maintain national certification.

  • Patient safety/medication errors.
  • Pharmacy law.
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Continuing Education Requirements for Immunizing Technicians

During any technician registration renewal period, a technician who engages in the administration of vaccines shall complete and document at least one hour of ACPE-approved continuing education with the ACPE topic designator “06” followed by the letter “T” or “P.”

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Technician Product Verification Programs

The Iowa  Board of Pharmacy recently finalized a complete revision of Chapter 40 relating to Technician Verification Programs (TPV), formerly known as “Tech-Check-Tech” Programs, in response to changes to the Iowa Code to allow such programs in the community setting, pursuant to Board rules.

The final rules can be found here and were effective as of June 26, 2019. Please note that existing Tech-Check-Tech programs are not automatically “grandfathered” to be deemed automatically compliant with the newly revised rules. Such programs in existence prior to June 26, 2019 will be expected to be compliant with the rules found above. If a program is not able to be compliant with the minimum standards, the pharmacy will need to seek a waiver from the Board for any rule that the pharmacy determines is not able to be complied with.

If your pharmacy wishes to establish and implement a TPV program, please complete the Technician Product Verification Program Notification form, the form will be automatically submitted to the Board.  Also, update the pharmacy’s services using the pharmacy’s online profile here. 

Upon implementation of the program, the pharmacy is required to complete quarterly reports of compliance. The Technician Product Verification Quarterly Report shall be completed, retained by the pharmacy, and available for inspection and copying by the board or its authorized agent.

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Notifications to the Board

Individuals are required to report to the Board, within ten days, a change of name, address, or pharmacy employment.

Changes to your address, email address, phone number, and employment may be made through your online profile.

Name changes can be made using the Individual Licensee/Registrant Online Notification of Name Change form. To change your name you must attach a copy of the legal name change document (name change petition, marriage certificate, divorce decree, etc.)

Criminal Convictions or Disciplinary Action Notifications

A registered pharmacy technician or pharmacy support person is required to provide to the Board written notice of and unredacted documents related to any disciplinary or enforcement action imposed by any licensing agency or regulatory authority on any license or registration held by the registered pharmacy technician no later than 30 days after the final action. Discipline may include, but is not limited to, fine or civil penalty, citation or reprimand, probationary period, suspension, revocation, and voluntary surrender.

A registered pharmacy technician or pharmacy support person is required to provide written notice to the Board of any criminal conviction that is related to the practice of pharmacy or controlled substances no later than 30 days after the conviction. The term “criminal conviction” includes instances when the judgment of conviction or sentence is deferred.

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Applications and Forms

All application fees are nonrefundable and nontransferrable. Once an application is submitted and the fee is paid, the withdrawal of an application, determination of ineligibility based on prior criminal convictions, or discovery of the submission of an incorrect application type does not merit return or refund of the application fee. Do not submit an application if you are unsure of which application type to submit.

Do not send cash.

Online Applications

Paper Applications

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Forms

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