How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pharmacy Tech?

How much does it cost to become a pharmacy tech? The answer may surprise you! Check out this blog post to find out how much it costs to get certified and start working in this rewarding career.

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The Cost of Training

The cost of training to become a pharmacy technician will vary depending on the type of program you choose. Some programs may be as short as six weeks, while others may last up to two years. The cost of the program will also vary depending on the location and the type of school you choose.

Online Programs

Most online pharmacy technician programs cost between $1,000 and $3,000. Some programs may be as cheap as $600, while others may be as expensive as $5,000. There are a few things that can affect the cost of an online pharmacy technician program such as the length of the program, the type of program ( certificate, diploma, or degree), and whether the program is accredited.

On-Site Programs

On-site programs are typically offered by community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals. These programs generally last between six and twelve months, and may offer both classroom instruction and hands-on training. The cost of on-site programs can vary widely, but is typically between $1,000 and $3,000.


Certification is not required in all states, but it is highly recommended. Certification is available through the pharmacy technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). Exam fees are around $200, and you will need to renew your certification every two years.

The Exam

In order to become a certified pharmacy technician, you must pass an exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the Institute for the Certification of pharmacy technicians (ICPT). The PTCB exam is taken on a computer at designated testing centers, while the ICPT exam is a paper-and-pencil test that is offered only four times per year.

The PTCB exam costs $129, while the ICPT exam costs $116. For both exams, there is an additional $25 fee for applications submitted within two weeks of the scheduled test date.

Certification Maintenance

Once you are certified, you will need to renew your certification every two years. The renewal process includes completing continuing education (CE) requirements and paying a small renewal fee. CE requirements vary by state, but most states require between 10 and 20 hours of CE every two years. Some states have specific CE requirements, such as training in controlled substances or child immunizations. Check with your state board of pharmacy for specific CE requirements in your state.

The Cost of Living and Working as a Pharmacy Tech

The average pharmacy tech makes about $15 an hour. Most techs start out making minimum wage and climb from there. As with most jobs, there is a cost of living that comes with being a pharmacy tech. Let’s take a detailed look at the cost of living and working as a pharmacy tech.


As of May 2019, the median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $32,700, which is slightly lower than the median salary for all occupations.1 However, earnings can vary widely depending on experience level, geographical location, and type of employer. Here are some examples:

Entry-level pharmacy technicians in a retail setting may earn minimum wage or slightly more.

Experienced pharmacy technicians working in hospitals or other healthcare facilities may earn $20 per hour or more.

Pharmacy technicians who are certified and working in a retail setting may earn $15 per hour or more.

Those working in management positions or as pharmacy tech trainers can earn salaries in excess of $50,000 per year.


Most pharmacy techs work full time, although some work fewer hours. You can expect to work some evenings and weekends. The majority of pharmacy techs work in retail settings, although hospitals, clinics, and other settings are also common. You may be on your feet for long periods of time.


The cost of living and working as a pharmacy tech can vary greatly depending on your location. In general, pharmacy techs in rural areas tend to make less than those in urban areas. The cost of living also plays a role in how much you’ll make as a pharmacy tech. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, you can expect to make more than someone who lives in a cheaper area.

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