How Long Does it Take to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

HealthcareMarch 05, 2018

Pharmacy technicians work for pharmacists, so they don’t need a pharmacist’s expertise; however, they do need the necessary math, computer and interpersonal skills to do the job. How long does it take to become a Pharm Tech? That’s a tough question because there are so many variables.

Some states don’t require formal training to become a licensed pharmacy technician, although candidates must have graduated from high school or received a GED. In those states, it’s still possible to qualify for the profession through on-the-job training. How long that might be varies on the pharmacist and the technician candidate. Whenever he or she is ready to take the state’s licensing test…that’s how long it takes.

Most states, however, require formal training at a college or vocational school. Studies can be as short as about four months, or as long as two years, depending on whether you want a certificate, diploma or associate degree. Virtually every program will encompass needed math to calculate dosages, basic medical and pharmaceutical terminology, learning how to maintain sterile conditions to preparing medications, basic computer skills and a pharmacy internship to learn the process from the “inside.”

But, even after completing your program, you’ll need to prep for and sit for your respective state’s licensing exam. Plus, many employers require pharmacy technicians be certified, which means taking the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification test. The NHA exam requires formal training and a year of on-the-job experience before candidates qualify to even site for the examination.

Technically, a certified pharmacy technician never finishes her or his training, because they must be re-certified every two years to ensure they’re up-to-date with all the advances that impact their work.

Now you see why the question of length of training is so hard to pin down to just one answer.

Fortis offers pharmacy technician programs at campuses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Tennessee. Upon completion of the pharmacy technician training program at Fortis, graduates are prepared for entry-level employment working with pharmacists in retail or online pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies and more. Go to our Pharmacy Technician Programs page to learn more about the profession, training, and where the program is offered closest to you.

Good luck on your path to becoming a Pharmacy Technician!

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