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How Long Does it Takes to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

Oct 08, 2019

Pharmacists work in a wide range of settings, from supermarkets to hospitals to military units in the field. Wherever pharmacists practice, Pharmacy Technicians work alongside them.

Technicians perform duties that don't require a pharmacist's expertise, including receiving/verifying prescriptions and preparing medications.

The fastest path to becoming a Pharmacy Technician is bypassing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam 

Students have the choice to attend a Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)-approved education program to complete mandatory pre-testing education.  

PTCB Approved Programs

There are various types of PTCB approved programs:

  • On-campus programs (takes about 9 months to 1 year) 
  • Fast Track Technical Colleges (these are pretty expensive) 
  • Online Career Schools (by far the quickest option. Some of these programs offer small payment plans, but slow you down from getting a job until you pay them off so be careful when choosing a program) 

So, what's should be included in these pharmacy technician programs and how long will it take? 

1. Practical Externship (approx. 120 hours)

Programs like Rx Health Academy offer externships as a chance to gain the necessary technical skills and interpersonal skills to perform the job's duties under the supervision of a pharmacist.

The pharmacist and more experienced pharmacy technicians provide mentoring and guidance, evaluating the trainee's performance on a regular basis and verifying the accuracy of his or her work. Training is complete when the technician has learned the profession well enough to pass the state's licensing examination. 

The length of this program varies based on individual circumstances but typically takes about 120 hours.

It's important to note, in most states this process is optional. This means you can begin to look for a job once you pass your board exam. Students are required to first complete theoretical knowledge. 

2. Theoretical knowledge (approx. 10 weeks to 1 year)

Theoretical knowledge is a fancy way of saying book smarts. This is your time spent listening to lectures and completing assignments. Program curriculum should include subjects such as the necessary mathematics for calculating dosages, a grounding in medical and pharmacological terminology, guidance on maintaining a sterile environment and basic computer skills. There are a few ways to complete this training

  • Community College 1 year  (the cost is on the higher side) 
  • Fast Track Technical College 9 months to 1 year (these are programs like American Career College. They tend to be VERY pricy) 
  • Online Career Programs 10 weeks (this is the fastest way to get the job done) 

Once you complete your theoretical knowledge you will complete your board exam and register for your state license. 

Ready to become a Pharmacy Technician? Click here to get started!  

Speak to an Enrollment Specialist today (800) 542-2579!

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