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How Do You Get Pharmacy Tech Certification as a Felon in 2023?

A pharmacy technician is a person trained to work under the supervision of a pharmacist and help in dispensing prescription medication to customers or health professionals.

In most states in the United States, a pharmacy technician can mix or prepare some medications and call physicians for refill authorization. These professionals work in a variety of settings with the majority working in a pharmacy or drugstore.

Some are also employed in a hospital or other medical facility, preparing and even administering some medicines intravenously.

To become a pharmacy technician, individuals must complete an educational program in pharmacy technology. Such programs can be found at a community college, technical school, or online. A certificate is also expected to be earned after graduating, typically within one year.

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Most pharmacy technician programs tend to do a background check on applicants for their program. Crucial factors such as type of offense, potential for harm to the public, and potential for recurrence of criminal activity are always considered.

Patient safety is a key issue in the health care industry. A pharmacy tech that has an alcohol or drug problem could put patients at risk by giving them the wrong medication or entering information incorrectly.

A crime of moral turpitude or a drug offense can cause a certification application to be rejected or it might be approved with certain restrictions applied. Note that the type of felony, how long ago it occurred, and an applicant’s age at the time of the crime are usually considered in a decision on certification.

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If a felon applies for a pharmacy technician program, they have to be honest in reporting any conviction. Even if a felon is successful in being admitted to a program, completes it, and is certified as a pharmacy technician, they still face a daunting task in finding a job as a pharmacy technician.

A felony that isn’t disclosed but discovered on a background check is fraud, punishable by being sent back to prison. It is always hard for felons to get admitted for programs, typically since they are seen as dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

But having the felony expunged can give them a clear record and the chance they need to succeed. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that they have not been convicted of a crime.

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Felonies will be really tricky being a pharmacist as you are held at high regard. Most states set their own rules when it comes to licensing which is somewhere around 7 years removed from a felony.

Employers also can all have their own standards on what a criminal background check will bring back. Again the best thing you can do is be honest upfront because even if they don’t find out in the beginning they can find out and fire you later.

It is quite daunting, but it could be worth it for a felon wanting to become a pharmacy technician. They have to give themselves the best chance for success by having their record expunged. They could also document any programs, education, or training they have completed.

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How to Get Pharmacy Tech Certification as a Felon

A felony is explained simply as a crime that is much more serious than a misdemeanour. They don’t have to be violent but a lot of the times they are. States again have their own laws, but in general these are punishable by more than a year in prison in a federal prison not a county.

Some of the crimes that fall under the felony category include homicide, arson, burglary, and money laundering. However, if you’re looking to acquire a Pharmacy tech certification as a felon, here are steps to take;

  1. Determine Eligibility

Note that potential applicants are expected to first ensure that they are eligible to become certified. Although there is no age minimum and pharmacy experience required, applicants are required to have a high school diploma or an equivalent educational degree, such as a GED.

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A Felon is also expected to disclose their criminal record and any actions taken against them by a state pharmacy board. Many offenses, especially drug – related crimes, are taken very seriously by most programs.

Note that being honest is your best bet as they will find out when they do the background. Although getting a pharmacy tech job isn’t the hardest job to get with a felony charge, but it also won’t be easy. You may need to look for other jobs or look in a remote area and think about moving there after you get the job.

  1. Prepare for the Exam

To prepare for the certification exam, applicants should consider enrolling in a technician training course, especially one accredited by an organization such as the American Society of Health – System Pharmacists or the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.

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Note there are a number of other resources available to help candidates study, including books, flashcards, and Smartphone apps. The certification board may also offer a practice exam online, though a passing grade on the practice test will not guarantee a similar score on the actual exam.

  1. Apply Online

Applicants who feel that they are ready to take the exam are expected to register online with the board and apply for certification. Once the application is approved, candidates tend to have within 90 days to schedule and take their exam through.

Applicants who need to reschedule or cancel their appointment can also do so up to 24 hours prior to the scheduled time of the exam, while those who wish to withdraw their application completely must do so within the 90 – day period, after which most of the testing fee will be refunded.

  1. Understand the Background Check

Initiatives such as Ban the Box was created to offer Felons a chance to prove themselves as professionals. That way, when the board or potential employers do learn of their history, they’re more apt to weigh it alongside their skills and personality.

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A good number of HR executives suggest the background check serves as something of an integrity test. If a Felon goes through with the application process and fails to volunteer the story of their conviction, most certification boards will end the process as soon as they learn of the offense.

  1. Take the Exam and Await Results

Just like any other major test, applicants are expected to make sure they get a good night’s sleep before the exam. On the day of the exam, ensure to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment and bring a valid, government – issued photo ID.

All other personal items will have to be stored in a locker at the testing site. Note that immediately after the exam; applicants will be given an unofficial test result, with the official results accessible online within 2 to 3 weeks. Those who passed the exam will receive their certificate in the mail 4 to 6 weeks after the test date.

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However, those who don’t pass have 3 more chances to do so, though they must wait 60 days to take the test again, or 6 months after the third attempt. Candidates must reapply and pay the fee each time they take the exam.

  1. Maintain Certification

Certified technicians are expected to complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every 2 years in order to maintain their certification.

As of 2015, all CE credits earned must be specific to technicians. Also note that the certifications of those unable to earn 20 CE credits after 2 years will expire, after which the technicians will have a 1 – year reinstatement period to renew their certification.

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Technicians who fail to have their certification reinstated after that year will have to start from the beginning and retake the exam if they wish to become certified again.


Indeed a certification is not the same thing as a license, the NHA mandates that candidates who have pled guilty to or been convicted of a drug – related crime cannot sit for certification. Those who had a non-drug related felony that is at least seven years old can petition to take the exam, and the NHA will review the individual case.

However, even though it is best to never break the law, things happen and you need to do the best you can to live your life and move forward. It isn’t the end of the world you just need to adjust and try to make things right.