Considering a career in pharmacy technology? Find out how long it takes to complete a pharmacy tech program and get certified.
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A pharmacy tech program typically lasts between six and twelve months, although some programs may be shorter or longer. During the program, students learn about the different aspects of pharmacy work, including dispensing medications, compounding medications, and performing customer service tasks.
The Length of Pharmacy Tech Programs Varies
While some programs may be completed in as little as one semester, most accredited pharmacy technician programs take between two and three years to complete. The length of time it takes to finish a program depends on several factors, including whether the program is taken full- or part-time.
Most Programs Take About Three Years to Complete
Although there are some shorter programs available, most pharmacy tech programs take about three years to complete. This includes both classroom instruction and practical experience in a real-world setting.
During the first year or two, students typically take classes on topics like medical ethics, pharmacology, and math. In the second year, they begin to focus more on hands-on training, working in mock pharmacy settings and shadowing licensed pharmacists. By the end of the program, students should be well-prepared to take the national certification exam and start working in a pharmacy.
Some Schools Offer an Associate’s Degree in Pharmacy Technology
While most pharmacy tech programs last between six months and two years, some schools offer an associate’s degree in pharmacy technology. These programs typically last two to three years and include general education courses along with the same coursework required in shorter programs. Students in these programs often take classes such as chemistry, math and biology along with their major-specific coursework.
Pharmacy Techs Must Complete a Certification Exam
After completing a pharmacy technician program, graduates must take and pass a certification exam in order to become certified pharmacy technicians The pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE) is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). To be eligible to take the PTCE, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited pharmacy technician program and have no felony convictions.
After completing a pharmacy tech program, students will be prepared to sit for the pharmacy technician certification exam Upon passing this exam, they will be fully certified and able to work in a pharmacy setting. Most pharmacy tech programs take between six and twelve months to complete, depending on the structure of the program.