How Long is Pharmacy Tech School?

Considering a career in pharmacy? Find out how long you’ll need to go to school to become a pharmacy technician

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Introduction

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $32,700 in May 2018.1 Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.1,2 A limited number of positions may arise from the retirement of experienced technicians.

As a pharmacy technician you can expect to work in a community pharmacy setting, such as a retail drugstore, or in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital. You will dispense medications and other health care products to patients and advise them on the use of these items. You also will maintain inventory levels of medications and other supplies in the pharmacy and be responsible for ordering newstock when needed. Some states allow technician graduates to begin working under a pharmacist’s supervision after completing an internship or taking a state-regulated examination.2

The median annual wage for pharmacy assistants was $28,460 in May 2018.1 Employment of pharmacy assistants is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.1 A limited number of positions may arise from the retirement of experienced assistants.

The Length of pharmacy tech School Depends on the Program

Pharmacy tech schools can range in length from a few months to two years, depending on the type of program. Certificate programs are typically the shortest, while associate’s degree programs are the longest. There are also some online programs that offer flexible scheduling for students who need to work around a full-time job.

Certificate Programs

pharmacy technician certificate programs are the shortest, typically lasting between three and six months. These programs are offered by many community colleges, as well as some hospitals and vocational schools. They usually include a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

Diploma programs in pharmacy technology usually last one year, although some may take up to two years to complete. These programs include both classroom instruction and on-the-job training in a pharmacy setting. They are typically offered by community colleges, hospitals, and vocational schools.

Associate’s degree programs in pharmacy technology typically take two years to complete and include both classroom instruction and on-the-job training in a pharmacy setting. These programs prepare students for more advanced positions in the field, such as lead technician or supervisor. They are typically offered by community colleges and some universities.

Associate’s Degree Programs

Associate’s degree programs in pharmacy technology typically take two years to complete, although some programs may be completed in as little as 18 months. These programs typically include both classroom and laboratory instruction, and students may be required to complete a formal internship or externship as part of the program.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor’s degree programs in pharmacy technology typically take four years to complete. These programs often include general education coursework in addition to major-specific coursework. Some programs also require an internship or externship in order to graduate.

Conclusion

While the length of pharmacy tech school can vary depending on the specific program, most students can expect to complete their training in around two years. This training is typically completed through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on experience in a pharmacy setting. After successfully completing a pharmacy tech program, students will be prepared to sit for the national certification exam and begin their career in this growing field.

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