How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician? The answer may depend on the type of program you choose and your previous experience.
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The Length of Pharmacy Tech School
Pharmacy tech school can take anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the program you choose. Some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as six weeks. Other programs may take up to two years to complete if you choose to study part-time.
Many certificate programs can be completed in as little as one semester, although some may take up to two semesters to finish. If you choose to pursue a certificate rather than an associate degree, you’ll likely find that the coursework is more focused on pharmacy technician skills and tasks.
Associate’s Degree Programs
An associate’s degree in pharmacy technology takes approximately two years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. These programs prepare students to take the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE) and enter the workforce as certified pharmacy technicians
The Coursework of Pharmacy Tech School
Pharmacy tech school usually takes about two years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs that allow students to complete the coursework in a shorter amount of time. The coursework for pharmacy tech school typically includes classes on math, chemistry, and pharmacology, as well as a clinical component.
certificate programs generally take about one year to complete. Some students may be able to complete their studies in as little as nine months, but this is not always the case. Students who attend part-time may need up to two years to earn their certificate.
Associate’s Degree Programs
Earning an associate’s degree in pharmacy technology usually takes two years of full-time study, although some schools offer part-time and accelerated programs that may take less time to complete. These programs typically include both classroom and laboratory work, and they often culminate in an internship at a local pharmacy. Students in these programs take classes related to medical ethics, pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy law and patient care.
The Cost of Pharmacy Tech School
Pharmacy tech school can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. The cost of tuition can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The price of coursework, textbooks, and other materials can also add up. In this article, we’ll discuss the cost of pharmacy tech school and how to save money on your education.
Certificate programs typically last one year or less and lead to a certificate of completion. These programs typically cover basic theory and technique and prepare students for certification. Some certificate programs may require students to take the pharmacy technician Certification Board (PTCB) or Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) exam as a condition of graduation.
Associate’s Degree Programs
An Associate’s Degree in Pharmacy Technology will take two to three years to complete on a full-time basis. The coursework for this type of program will include classes in anatomy, physiology, biology, algebra, chemistry, and physics. You’ll also have to complete general education courses, such as English and social science. After you complete your coursework, you’ll be required to take a state-licensed exam to earn your certification.
The job outlook for Pharmacy Techs
Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for pharmacy techs in 2018 was $32,700 per year, or $15.71 per hour.1 The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is positive, with a projected growth rate of 7% from 2018 to 2028.2
Most pharmacy tech programs take between one and two years to complete, although some accelerated programs can be completed in as little as six months.3 Upon completion of a certified pharmacy technician program students must then pass a national exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcare Association (NHA).4 Once certified, pharmacy technicians may apply for state licensure, which is required in some states.
While certification and licensure are not always required, they may improve employment prospects and lead to higher wages. Many employers also require pharmacy technicians to complete on-the-job training before they can work independently.5
Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job openings should result from both an increase in the number of pharmacies and expansions in their scope of services
How to Become a Pharmacy Tech
There are many ways to become a pharmacy technician. Some people choose to attend a traditional classroom-based pharmacy technician program, while others opt for an online or distance learning program. There are even some employers who will provide on-the-job training for their employees.
Whichever route you choose, it is important to make sure that the program you select is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). The ASHP is the only accrediting body for pharmacy technician programs in the United States. Programs that are not accredited by the ASHP may not provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in this field.
Most accredited pharmacy technician programs will take between six and twelve months to complete. During this time, you will take classes such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, mathematics, and pharmacology. You will also likely have the opportunity to complete a externship, which will give you real-world experience working in a pharmacy setting.
Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass a national certification exam in order to become a certified pharmacy technician. After passing this exam, you will be able to work in most pharmacies across the United States.