What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy technician education options range from a high school diploma to an associate's degree in the field. Here we discuss the various pharmacy technician requirements for those wondering how to become a pharmacy technician. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

While the education requirements for becoming a pharmacist are quite extensive, becoming a pharmacy technician, or pharmacy tech, typically requires little to no postsecondary education. These technicians work in hospitals and pharmacies helping pharmacists prepare medications for patients. Explore the education requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician here.

Pharmacy Technician Education Options

All pharmacy technicians need at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, like a GED. Pharmacy technicians who do not pursue postsecondary education (see next step) usually need on-the-job training in combination with their high school diploma. High school students interested in becoming a pharmacy technician may wish to take additional courses in areas like chemistry, anatomy, and biology. Some students may be interested in attending a pharmacy technician school and pursuing a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or associate's degree in the field.

Certificate or Diploma

Pharmacy technician certificate programs are shorter in length than 2-year associate's degree programs and may be completed in as little as nine months. Many of these programs are available in online formats and help prepare students to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). Some of these certificate programs may offer hands-on learning experiences working in a pharmacy.

Diploma programs may be completed in as little as 12 months. Diploma programs also prepare students to take the PTCE. Students in either certificate or diploma programs may take courses in topics like:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy billing
  • Pharmacy law
  • Pharmacy practice

Associate's Degree

At the associate's level, students can pursue an Associate of Science (AS) or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Pharmacy Technician. These degree programs usually require around 90 credits and often take 2 years to complete; however, some programs may be completed slightly faster (in as little as 18 months). These programs often include internship or externship experiences for hands-on training. Some of pharmacy tech associate's programs may be available in partially online formats (which includes online classes and in-person labs or externship experiences). Common course topics for pharmacy technician associate's programs may include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Pharmaceutical calculations
  • Pharmacology
  • Medication safety
  • Institutional and community pharmacy

Certification Requirements

Pharmacy technicians will need to meet the work requirements for their particular state. Typically, states regulate pharmacy technicians through requirements like exams, continuing education, background checks, fees, and more.

Some pharmacy technicians may also need to be certified. Associate's degree programs may have students take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) after their externship experience. Another certification option is available through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Pharmacy Technician Job Description

Degree RequiredHigh school diploma
Other RequirementsPossible certification, training
Annual Median Salary (2018)*$32,700
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)*12%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Pharmacy technicians generally work full-time, but may work outside normal business hours if their pharmacy is open around the clock. These professionals are supervised by pharmacists and help fill various prescriptions for patients or doctors. Other job duties may include:

  • Answering telephones
  • Labeling medications
  • Measuring out medications
  • Handling payments and insurance for medications
  • Taking inventory
  • Recording patient information

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Fortis College

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    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

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  • Penn Foster High School

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    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • College of Health Care Professions

    College of Health Care Professions responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at College of Health Care Professions:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Dallas, San Antonio
  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula