A pharmacy technician is a great career choice for many. And to become one does not necessarily require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.
In fact, you can take online classes or classes from traditional brick-and-mortar universities to become a pharmacy technician. And it doesn’t take all that long either.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Pharmacy Technician?
So exactly how long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?
On the low end, it can take less than a year. At the most it should not take more than 2 years. It just depends on the training program you choose and your schedule.
Once you earn your high school diploma or GED and you have the requirements needed, you can choose to undergo your pharmacy tech training through a certificate program. Or, you can also choose an associate’s degree program.
Taking a certificate program will only take you a year or less to finish. In contrast, an associate’s degree program usually takes two years to complete.
An associate’s degree program is a little more challenging than a certificate program, but it will also give you more credits.
Most training programs allow students to gain clinical experience. Training programs will typically partner with a retail drugstore where you get clinical experience and on-the-job training.
Pharmacy Technician Certification
In some states, pharmacy technicians are required to be certified. However, even in states that do not require certification, most employers will only hire pharmacy technicians certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcare Association (NHA).
However, if you are already a certification you will still need to undergo a recertification exam with either of the PTCB or NHA, as well as 20 hours of continuing education before sitting for the exam.
What Is A Pharmacy Technician?
A pharmacy technician is a medical professional who works on the efficiency and safety of pharmacy operations. They fill and order the right amount of prescriptions suited for the patients and discuss other concerns with a pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians are also responsible for other things such as customer services which include customer care, communication between coworkers, and technical and phone operations.
They are also always accompanied by a pharmacist. A pharmacists’ and a pharmacy technician’s work hours are the same.
And because they share the same work hours, pharmacy technicians may also work on nights, weekends, and holidays. In settings where pharmacies are open for 24 hours, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians work in shifts.
The Work Environment
A pharmacy technician mainly works in a medical setting. However, it does not mean that they only work in hospitals and pharmacies.
They also work in various environments such as primary care facilities, managed health care organizations, educational programs, military backgrounds, and veterinary settings.
Like we have said earlier, to become a pharmacy technician, you do not necessarily need to have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.
However, what you will need to qualify for training is a high school diploma or something equivalent such as a General Educational Diploma or GED. Aside from either one of those requirements, you will also need the following for you to qualify for training:
- Placement test scores
- Background check