How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Program Cost in 2023?

Are you considering a career as a pharmacy technician? As the healthcare industry continues to expand, pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in ensuring patients receive accurate and timely medications. Choosing the right pharmacy technician program is an important decision, not only for your education but also for your wallet. This guide will help you navigate the various factors affecting the pharmacy technician program cost and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision based on your budget and career goals.

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Short Summary

  • Costs of pharmacy technician programs vary based on duration, type of institution, location & residency status.
  • Consider financial aid options such as scholarships and grants to offset costs.
  • Balance financial considerations with career goals when selecting a program for best outcomes.

Factors Affecting Pharmacy Technician Program Costs

Pharmacy technician program costs vary based on several factors, such as program duration, type of institution, location, and residency status. Understanding these factors will help you better gauge the affordability of a program and determine which options fit within your budget.

Keep in mind, pharmacy technicians play a vital role in preparing medications based on the patient’s chart, performing administrative duties, and assisting in various settings, including nursing homes and hospitals. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a program that provides a comprehensive education.

Program Duration

The duration of pharmacy technician programs can range from 6 months to 2 years. Longer programs may provide a more comprehensive education, but they can also come with a higher price tag. On the other hand, shorter programs may be less expensive, but they might not offer the same depth and breadth of training.

When considering program duration, it’s essential to balance the cost with the quality of education you’ll receive. For example, a program that takes two years to complete may provide more extensive training and hands-on experience, while a shorter program might only cover the basics.

Type of Institution

Pharmacy technician programs are offered by various institutions, including community colleges, vocational/technical schools, and Penn Foster Career School. The cost of pharmacy technician programs at community colleges typically ranges from $400 to $4,500.

Vocational or technical schools have a wide range of prices for their pharmacy technician programs. For example, Penn Foster Career School offers a pharmacy technician program for less than $600.

When comparing costs, it’s essential to consider the reputation, accreditation, and success rates of the offering institution, as well as the specific courses and hands-on training provided.

Location and Residency Status

Another factor that may influence the cost of pharmacy technician programs is the location of the school and your residency status. On average, out-of-state tuition is substantially higher than in-state tuition. For example, in California, tuition for a pharmacy technician program is typically around $2,000 for in-state students and up to $10,000 for out-of-state students.

It’s essential to keep in mind that each state has its own licensing requirements for pharmacy technicians, so you’ll want to ensure the program you choose aligns with your individual state’s board and prepares you for any necessary state licensure exams.

Comparing Online and Campus-Based Programs

In today’s digital age, online pharmacy technician programs have become increasingly popular due to their affordability and flexibility. Online programs typically range from $500 to $800, while campus-based programs can cost between $3,000 and $4,000 per year.

Although online programs may save you money, it’s essential to consider the differences in hands-on training and engagement with instructors and classmates when comparing the two options.

Online Program Costs and Benefits

Online pharmacy technician programs offer students the convenience of studying from anywhere, allowing them to balance work, family, and education responsibilities. Penn Foster’s pharmacy technician program, for instance, offers full payment, monthly autopay, and monthly mail pay options with tuition covering study materials, a practical lab kit, and the cost of the PTCE exam.

However, it’s important to note that while online programs provide flexibility and generally lower costs, they may not offer the same level of hands-on training and engagement with instructors and classmates as campus-based programs.

Campus-Based Program Costs and Benefits

Campus-based pharmacy technician programs tend to provide more opportunities for hands-on training and practical experience, which can be invaluable in preparing for a successful career. However, these programs often come with higher costs due to factors such as tuition, fees, textbooks, materials, and uniforms.

Additionally, campus-based programs typically have less flexibility in terms of scheduling and location. When evaluating campus-based programs, consider the advantages of completing an accredited training program, such as gaining a fundamental understanding of pharmaceuticals, developing mathematical skills, and learning from professionals in the field.

Financial Assistance Options

While the cost of a pharmacy technician program may seem daunting, there are financial assistance options available to help alleviate the burden. Scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs offered by schools and organizations can make a significant difference in the overall affordability of a program.

However, it’s important to note that students of online programs are not eligible for federal-funded financial aid.

Scholarships and Grants

A variety of scholarships and grants are available for pharmacy technician students, such as the APhA scholarships, the Walmart Health Equity Scholarship, the Texas Pharmacy Foundation scholarship, the AFPE Gateway to Research Scholarship, and the Health Professions Pre-graduate Scholarship for Indians. These financial assistance options can help offset the cost of tuition and other education-related expenses, making your dream of becoming a pharmacy technician more attainable.

However, keep in mind that online schools may not offer scholarships or grants.

Employer Reimbursement Programs

Employer reimbursement programs are another option to help cover the cost of pharmacy technician programs. These programs can provide up to $5,000 per year in tuition reimbursement. Employer reimbursement programs may vary by employer, with some offering scholarships and others providing tuition reimbursement.

Certain employers may even offer reimbursement for the expense of the national exam. Be sure to research and inquire about any employer reimbursement programs that may be available to you.

Additional Expenses to Consider

In addition to tuition fees, prospective pharmacy technician students should factor in expenses such as textbooks, uniforms, equipment, and certification exam fees. Some programs may also offer optional certifications, such as IV certification, which may incur additional costs.

Being aware of these extra expenses will help you create a more accurate budget for your pharmacy technician education.

Textbooks and Lab Fees

Textbooks and lab fees are additional expenses that pharmacy technician students should consider when budgeting. The estimated cost for textbooks is between $500 and $1,500, and lab fees cover the cost of materials used in laboratory classes.

Keep in mind that these expenses can vary depending on the program and location.

Certification Exam Fees

Certification exams, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), are an essential step in becoming a licensed pharmacy technician. The fee for the PTCE is $129. It’s important to budget for this expense, as it is often not included in the tuition fees for pharmacy technician programs.

Passing a certification exam not only verifies your knowledge and skills, but also sets you apart in the competitive job market.

Choosing the Right Program for Your Budget

Selecting the right pharmacy technician program is a critical decision that requires careful consideration of various factors, such as accreditation, cost, and reputation. Researching programs and reading reviews can help you make a well-informed decision that aligns with your budget and career goals.

Moreover, it’s essential to evaluate the program’s quality and value to ensure you receive a comprehensive education that prepares you for a successful career in the field.

Assessing Program Quality and Value

When evaluating the quality and value of a pharmacy technician program, it’s important to consider factors such as the program’s accreditation, curriculum, job placement rates, and whether it adequately prepares students for certification exams.

Additionally, assess the program’s focus on accuracy and communication skills, as these are essential components of a successful pharmacy technician career.

Balancing Financial Considerations with Career Goals

When selecting a pharmacy technician program, take into account not only the cost of tuition and other expenses, but also the potential salary and job outlook for pharmacy technicians. Evaluating the curricula of various programs and weighing the costs against your career goals will help you make the best decision for your future.

Remember, investing in your education is an investment in your future career, so it’s essential to choose a program that aligns with your aspirations and provides the necessary training for a successful career as a pharmacy technician.


In conclusion, choosing the right pharmacy technician program requires careful consideration of various factors, such as program duration, type of institution, location and residency status, as well as the costs and benefits of online versus campus-based programs. By exploring financial assistance options, additional expenses, and evaluating program quality and value, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and career goals. With the right education and training, you’ll be well-prepared for a rewarding career as a pharmacy technician, making a difference in the lives of patients and contributing to the ever-growing healthcare industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What pharmacy pays techs the most?

CVS Health pays pharmacy techs the most with an average annual salary of $56,020 in San Francisco, CA. This salary is above average in comparison with other cities and CVS Health is a big recruiter for pharmacy technician roles.

How much does it cost to go to pharmacy technician school in California?

The cost of obtaining a Pharmacy Technician certification in California is approximately $16,950, spread over 9 months. This program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The ASHP accreditation ensures that the program meets the highest standards of quality and safety. It also provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful pharmacy technicians. Graduates of the program are graduates of the program.

What kind of math do pharmacy technicians use?

As a pharmacy technician, math skills are required to accurately measure prescriptions, calculate dosages, and convert measurements from one system to another. In order to fulfill this role, professionals need to be proficient in basic algebra and other fundamental math concepts, including addition, subtraction, fractions, percentages, weights, and measurements.