If you’re planning to become a pharmacy tech, you may be wondering how long is pharmacy tech school? Below learn how long it usually takes and what is involved.

How Long Is Pharmacy Tech School?

Usually it takes anywhere from less than a year to a couple of years to go through pharmacy tech school. 

In order to enroll you can enroll in a pharmacy technician program you’ll either have to graduate high school or earn your GED.

When deciding on what pharmacy tech school to go to, you have two options to choose from. Which one you choose will have an impact on how long your schooling will last. 

Pharmacy Tech School Options

You can either choose a certificate/diploma program or you can also choose an associate’s degree program. 

Completing a certificate/diploma program will take less time than getting an associate’s degree. A certificate/diploma program takes about a year or less to complete. As a matter of fact, you can finish your certificate/diploma program in just about eight months. 

On the other hand, choosing an associate’s degree takes longer to complete compared to a certificate program. Completing an associate’s degree program for pharmacy technicians takes around two years to complete.

A big reason why is that an associate’s degree program has more content in its curriculum. This means you’ll learn more during your training and may be able to get a higher starting salary than with a certificate/diploma program. 

To gain clinical experience, pharmacy technician students undergo training programs. Pharmacy tech students undergo training in programs that are in partnerships with retail drugstores.

However, not all states require pharmacy technician students to be certified to be employed. It is only mandatory in certain states. 

Pharmacy Tech Certification

In states that do not require certification, most employers will only hire pharmacy technician graduates that are certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcare Association (NHA). 

However, if you are already a certified pharmacy technician, 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.

The Life of a Pharmacy Tech

With all that said, it’s important to know that being a pharmacy technician is not an easy task. There are a lot of things that you do while on duty. And not only that, but also, their work hours are long. 

The average work hours of pharmacy technicians who are employed in hospital pharmacies is 8 to 10 hours a day. And the average work hours of pharmacy technicians in a retail pharmacy is longer, about 12 to 14 hours a day.

Most of the time pharmacy technicians are accompanied by pharmacists. And they also work the same hours as pharmacists. They work even on night shifts, weekends, and holidays. Some pharmacies even operate 24 hours. 

Their job while on duty include filling and ordering prescriptions for patients, as well as entering prescription orders in the computer systems. They are also responsible for measuring, counting, and mixing medications.

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