Desselle, S. P., & Schmitt, M. R. (2010). Pharmacists’ perceptions of the value of technician certification through a nationally accredited certification program. Journal of Pharmacy Technology, 26(6), 340-351.
Background: There has been considerable debate over the appropriate credentialing of pharmacy technicians; however, there have been no previous attempts to ascribe the value associated with national certification. Objective: To assess pharmacists’ perceptions of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes gained by technicians from the certification process and toward pharmacy technician certification in general. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of pharmacists from 6 states. These states were selected primarily due to criteria regarding their regulations on technician certification so that pharmacists had the opportunity to work with both certified as well as noncertified technicians. The questionnaire contained items to elicit respondents’ perceptions of the impact of certification on technicians’ skills, knowledge, and attitudes, as measured on Likert-type scales. There were additional items related to overall perceptions of the certification process. Unpaired t-tests, 1-way analyses of variance, and Wilcoxon ranked-sign tests were conducted. Results: Analyses were conducted on 609 usable responses among the 795 returned. Certification was reported to have a moderate contribution toward myriad technician skills, knowledge, and attitudes in ambulatory and acute care settings. Pharmacists in ambulatory care settings, with greater familiarity with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination, were more positive (p < 0.01) about the impact of certification. Certification of technicians was viewed as a more valuable source of training and education than prior nonpharmacy work experience, completion of a vocational training program, or a 4-year college degree (p < 0.001) and equal to prior pharmacy work experience in another setting (p = 0.73). A vast majority of pharmacists supported mandatory certification and standardized education requirements to sit for a national certification examination. CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacists view certification as a valuable means of enhancing technician competence. Combinations of pedagogic approaches and experiential education may further improve technician proficiency and enhance patient care.