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11/22/2000

PTCB, NABP Discuss Technician Competency Exam

Kate Traynor

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) met with the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) last month to address the May NABP resolution on competency assessment of pharmacy technicians.

The issue of competency assessment was raised by the state pharmacy boards last December and further examined this past summer by NABP, culminating in a NABP resolution to develop an exam that helps to determine which technicians can safely assist in pharmacies.

At the recent meeting, PTCB Executive Director Melissa M. Murer discussed how her organization's certification exam could successfully "meet the needs of the competency resolution."

"Our board had a very positive discussion," said Murer. "PTCB has a psychometrically sound examination with over 70,000 certified technicians....We think that we will be able to continue a positive collaboration with NABP."

Murer continued: "We are also working on some communication pieces and educational information about the exam itself so that we can answer any questions as NABP moves forward. I think the overall goal will be for…the PTCB exam [to be] adopted as the solution to the resolution."

NABP Executive Director Carmen A. Catizone, M.S., said the groups' officials discussed two possibilities related to a competency exam for technicians. One option, he said, involves NABP "working together with PTCB and its partners to meet the needs of the states." Alternatively, NABP could create its own competency assessment tool for use by the state pharmacy boards.

Murer described PTCB’s discussion with NABP as "an evolving process." NABP asks questions about the emerging definition of competence and how competency is best assessed, and PTCB addresses the issues as they arise, she said.

"I think we’ve made pretty big progress," said Murer.