Schools That Offer Pharmacy Technician Certification
Here in the US, the term pharmacy technician refers to a certified professional who works with a licensed pharmacist to provide consumers with the drugs they need.
Pharmacy technicians earn a competitive salary, with pharmacy tech jobs being created annually, pharmacy technician certification exammaking for an attractive career.
Before you can break into this field of employment, however, you must successfully pass the pharmacy technician certification exam, offered at many colleges around the country.
Is a pharmacy technician different from a pharmacist?
A pharmacy technician is not the same thing as a pharmacist.
A pharmacist has in-depth knowledge of the medication they prescribe. They are able to advise patients and they are responsible for ensuring the pharmacy remains in line with state pharmacy law.
A pharmacy tech, on the other hand, will contend with the clerical and administrative duties within a pharmacy. The pharmacy tech will serve customers, take customer information, and undertake inventory management duties.
Experienced pharmacy technicians may be able to prepare medications for patients, though dosage calculations ought to be double-checked by a licensed pharmacist.
How To Become a Pharmacy Technician
In some circumstances, it may be possible to earn just a high school diploma and enter the field in an entry-level role, learning via on-the-job training.
However, the majority of people looking to become pharmacy technicians complete formal training. There are three types of pharmacy technician programs:
- A one-year certificate program
- A one-year diploma program
- An associate of applied science degree program
Successful completion of formal training will result in the nationally accredited, pharmacy technician certification exam.
The majority of accredited pharmacy technician courses in the United States combine classroom or didactic learning with a degree of real-world experience… or an externship.
An externship gives students pharmacy practice under the direct supervision of an industry professional, interacting with real patients or customers in one of many working pharmacies or drug stores.
Many students seek out a pharmacy technician course with an externship because this provides not only experience but a chance to make connections within the industry, ask for a reference or letter of recommendation, and in some cases an offer of employment right after graduation.
Pharmacy Technician Programs
There are several pharmacy technician program choices scattered around the United States, which have been approved by the pharmacy technician certification board.
Listed below is a selection of the most popular pharmacy technician programs around the country, with proven success rates and a variety of flexible study options.
Stratford University, Virginia
This renowned, private university offers an associate of applied science degree for aspiring pharmacy technicians. Students can choose to study full-time, for completion in 16 months; or part-time, in which case completion will take closer to 32 months.
Some online pharmacy technician program modules are available as part of this degree, although an in-person externship is still required for the successful completion of the course.
Contact Stratford University by telephone: (571) 777-0130 or email:
- Alexandria campus – [email protected]
- Baltimore campus – [email protected]
- Woodbridge campus – [email protected]
Apply for the pharmacy technician training program at Stratford University, Virginia.
Rasmussen University, several locations
Rasmussen is the ultimate choice for students looking for a more flexible way to complete their pharmacy technician training, as the majority of classes are taken online.
This largely online pharmacy technician program is accredited by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board since students are still required to carry out a practical portion of the program either on campus or at a local, participating pharmacy.
Rasmussen maintains at least one campus in Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota. Students enrolled in the online pharmacy technician program can visit their local campus to enroll and for support or to use resources.
You can contact Rasmussen University using their website chat feature, or via telephone: 888-549-6755.
Study to be a pharmacy technician online with Rasmussen University.
Charter College, several locations
This college, founded in 1984, offers a popular pharmacy technician program that can be completed by students in approximately ten months. The program starts every five weeks, so applicants can select the perfect time to begin classes.
To complete the pharmacy technician training program at Charter College, students must undertake 63 credit hours of classroom or simulated learning, before completing an externship for real-world experience.
The pharmacy technician training program at Charter College is also available in a blended learning format, whereby the student may opt to combine classroom learning with online pharmacy technician modules for maximum flexibility.
The on-site, or blended online pharmacy technician program is available from Charter College campuses in Fife, Lacey, and Vancouver WA.
You can contact Charter College via telephone at 888-200-9942.
Begin your pharmacy technician course at Charter College, Washington.
University of Providence, Montana
This mission-driven faith school was founded by the Sisters of Providence in 1932. Today, it offers an accredited pharmacy technician education with a competitive, earn-while-you-learn option for select students to work in a pharmacy while studying for their qualification. These students are chosen by the university and Providence Health.
The majority of students will be accepted onto a non-earn, industry internship course, attending labs and internships at participating Providence-based pharmacies. Of course, the former option is preferable, but achieving a qualification and amassing real-world experience is still a great option, even if it is unpaid.
Pharmacy technician courses at the University of Providence are part of an accelerated, 24-week program. This means that upon successful completion of this course, students will achieve their certificate in just one and a half semesters.
Students may then sit the Pharmacy Technician certification exam anywhere in the United States. The University of Providence boasts a 95% pass rate.
Contact the university via telephone: 800-856-9544 or 406-791-5202, or email: [email protected].
Earn your pharmacy technician certification at the University of Providence, Montana.
Pima Medical Institute, Arizona and California
The pharmacy technician certification program offered by the Pima Medical Institute seeks to provide students with the scientific knowledge and the professional skills required to embark on a successful career as a pharmacy technician.
With campuses in both Arizona and California, students will begin the course in a classroom and simulated lab setting, before starting their externship in a working pharmacy environment. The course takes nine months to complete, after which students may begin applying for pharmacy technician jobs.
In a bid to appeal to a wider range of students, the Pima Medical Institute now offers a hybrid learning model, which enables students to complete a portion of the course from home. Students who elect the hybrid model will benefit from the same education and career support.
Speak to an admissions adviser by telephone: 800-477-7462.
Begin your in-person or hybrid online pharmacy technician program at Pima Medical Institute.
Southeast College, Nebraska
Southeast College offers a popular pharmacy technician diploma which can be completed in just two semesters. Diploma classes begin twice yearly, in the Fall and in the Spring.
Classes can be attended on-site at the Lincoln campus, or online. If students elect the online pharmacy technician course, they will still be required to complete simulated lab work on campus.
The pharmacy technician training program at Southeast College is both an ASHP accredited program and ACPE-recognized. Tuition fees are estimated at $4,166.
Contact the program director for more information at 402-437-2787.
Begin your pharmacy technician course at Southeast College, Nebraska.
Front Range College, Colorado
This two-semester program is offered on the Westminster campus of Front Range College. The program prepares students to sit the nationally accredited Pharmacy Technician certification exam (PTCE).
The course is taught through a classroom lecture and coursework component, as well as simulated lab time. Partway through the program, students will gain practical experience through a clinical externship.
This program encourages students to apply for a paid apprenticeship with CenturaHealth by way of an externship; however paid positions are limited and awarded directly from CenturaHealth.
Many graduates from the pharmacy technician program at Front Range Community College continue their studies to become licensed pharmacists. Tuition fees are charged on an hourly credit basis, starting at $260.40 per credit hour.
Telephone the Westminster campus directly at 303-404-5000.
Study at Front Range Community College, Colorado.
Concorde Career College, Tennessee
This 35-year-old college remains a popular choice for pharmacy tech candidates. Concorde offers a pharmacy technician diploma which can be completed in just 7 months or an associate of science degree which takes 18 months to complete.
Concorde Career College promises a combination of theory and hands-on training. Students have the flexibility of taking online modules at a time that suits their personal schedule, while still benefitting from on-site, lab practice.
The pharmacy technician training program is offered as a diploma on Concorde campuses in Florida, California, Texas, and Tennessee. The associate degree is only available on the Memphis, Tennessee campus.
Concorde Career College offers financial aid and scholarship opportunities to some applicants.
Contact the college by telephone at 800-620-7229 for more information.
Study at Concorde Career College, Tennessee.
Pikes Peak State College, Colorado
Founded in 1968, this Colorado-based school offers more than 150 popular study programs. The two-semester pharmacy technician program is offered as an associate of applied science (AAS) degree.
Pharmacy technology students at Pikes Peak College will hone their laboratory skills in a simulated setting before gaining hands-on experience in a working pharmacy. Since 2011, Pikes Peak has achieved a 99% pass rate among students who sit the pharmacy technician certification exam.
The majority of prospective students should expect to pay approximately $4,446 for tuition; however, this college offers financial aid for many medical programs including pharmacy technician through Care Forward Colorado.
Contact Pikes Peak State College by telephone: 719-502-2000.
Begin your pharmacy technician studies at Pikes Peak State College, Colorado.
Mountainland Technical College, Utah
Mountainland Technical, or MTECH, offers a popular pharmacy technician certificate program, blending classroom or didactic learning with a simulated lab experience. This first half consists of 250 hours of training, during which students will learn admin and inventory skills, as well as basic measurements for prescription medication.
The second portion of this pharmacy technician training program takes the form of a real-world, pharmacy externship. Following 200 hours of this practical experience, students may sit the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board national exam and apply to become licensed pharmacy technicians in the State of Utah.
MTECH is an excellent option for applicants with daytime responsibilities or who simply crave a degree of flexibility, as all students may choose between day or night classes.
Tuition fees for this program at MTECH cost approximately $2,027, which is some of the lowest tuition fees among competing post-secondary colleges.
Contact MTECH via their website email portal, or via telephone: 801-753-6282.
Study at Mountainland Technical College, Utah.
University of Antelope Valley, California
The pharmacy technician program at the University of Antelope Valley prepares students to sit the national pharmacy technician certification exam in readiness for an entry-level position in the healthcare industry.
You will earn a pharmacy tech certificate over the course of approximately ten months. This high-quality education is recognized by the California state board and will enable you to seek employment as a licensed pharmacist in most US states.
This is definitely a university to consider if you prefer a close-knit campus community and you are likely to benefit from smaller class sizes, with the maximum class size never exceeding 20 students.
You can contact the University of Antelope Valley by telephone at 661-726-1911, or via email at [email protected].
Start your career in pharmacy technology at the University of Antelope Valley, California.
Tulsa Technology Center, Utah
This independent school offers various programs across its six campuses. They boast competitive tuition fees and flexible class hours, making them a popular choice for students choosing to work full-time while studying. Tulsa Tech welcomes adult students and teenage students seeking additional credits for their high school diplomas.
Tulsa Technology offers an accredited, pharmacy technician certificate program that can be completed within nine months. Expect administrative tuition in prescription and inventory management, as well as simulated lab practice preparing intravenous medications and similar.
Students can select morning or afternoon class times for the first portion of the course. Following this, on-the-job training will take place at a local, busy store – typically Walgreens.
Expect tuition fees of $2,100, but financial aid opportunities are available to qualifying students.
Call Tusla Tech: 918-828-5000, or email: [email protected].
Begin your pharmacy technician career at Tulsa Technology Center, Utah.
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Georgia
Founded in 1963, Wiregrass Georgia remains a popular college choice to earn your pharmacy technician diploma or associated degree.
In order to qualify as a certified pharmacy technician at Wiregrass, students must complete 600 hours of training which is divided into classroom education, simulated lab training, and a real-world clinical externship.
Pharmacy technician students who earn diploma credits at Wiregrass may transfer these credits to many four-year colleges, should they opt to continue their education instead of seeking immediate employment as pharmacy technician professionals.
You can contact Wiregrass Georgia via their web portal, or telephone the main campus at 229-333-2100.
Study at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Georgia.
Remington College, Texas
The pharmacy technician diploma program at Remington College combines basic, working drug knowledge with a foundational professional knowledge of physiology and anatomy, as well as the administrative capabilities which will form the majority of a pharmacy tech job.
This diploma is offered at the Lafayette and Shreveport campuses, as well as online. Students who study on-campus at Remington College use PioneerRX to apply their classroom learning in an accurate, simulated environment.
You will have the opportunity to combine your pharmacy technician diploma with courses in first aid and pharmaceutical computing, so you can seek out a career in different corners of the healthcare industry.
For more information, telephone the college at 800-208-1950.
Begin your pharmacy technician training at Remington College, Texas.
Lakeshore Technical College, Wisconsin.
Established in 1967, this college in Cleveland, Wisconsin offers more than 140 popular study programs. Their pharmacy technology program takes the form of a technical diploma and takes two semesters to complete before students are eligible to sit the nationally accredited pharmacy technician certification exam.
Lakeshore has partnered with pharmacy software PioneerIX to offer students the most realistic, interactive experience during their technical diploma. Lakeshore offers a totally customizable blend of in-person, and online learning, and is one of the only colleges that offer a totally online option.
Lakeshore is a popular choice for its attention to inclusivity; which means its program and auxiliary aids are available to students with additional requirements. Expect tuition to begin at $5,016.
For more information, telephone the campus at 920-693-1000.
Study at Lakeshore Technical College, Wisconsin.
Albany Technical College, Georgia
Students can earn a pharmacy technician diploma or associated degree at this self-proclaimed vocational school in Albany, Georgia.
Whether you choose to study for a diploma or a degree, you will have the choice between daytime or evening classes for most of the modules, with the diploma acting as a less intensive, more accessible option for students unable to commit to a degree.
Students are required to have achieved a high school diploma or equivalent, but are eligible to apply from the age of 16, but may not undertake the practice component until the age of 17.
Telephone the college at 229-430-3500 or 877-261-3113.
Begin your career as a pharmacy technician at Albany Technical College, Georgia.
Davidson-Davie County College, North Carolina
Another college choice for students looking to study in the state of North Carolina, Davidson-Davie County offers an unusual three pharmacy technician study options. These can be worked through in sequence.
Students can choose to study the 12-credit hour certificate program; the 36-credit hour diploma program; or the 64-credit hour associate of applied science degree program.
Transfer to the pharmacy technician program is possible at any level, provided the student has the necessary credits. Expect to pay $386.25 per credit hour, though financial aid options are available to eligible candidates.
For more information, email: [email protected].
Study at Davidson-Davie College, North Carolina.
Sullivan University, Kentucky
Pharmacy technician students at Sullivan University are encouraged to complete their certificate program in just nine months. Following successful completion, students will participate in multiple practice examinations culminating in the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE).
Similar to most other pharmacy technician training programs, students will study the first half of the program on-site, at the Louisville campus. The second component takes the form of a practical externship earning 200 hours of practical experience.
Sullivan University claims to offer students more hands-on time in the lab, learning via simulation technology and real-world, practical experience, and less time sitting in a lecture hall.
Tuition fees at Sullivan are calculated per credit hour, with the pharmacy technician program costing $395.00 per credit hour. Financial aid and scholarship opportunities are available to eligible students.
For more information, you can contact the university by telephone at 800-844-1354, or via email at [email protected].
Begin your pharmacy technician training at Sullivan University, Kentucky.
Every one of these schools offers an American Society of Health System Pharmacists, or ASHP accredited program.
What You Will Learn
During your pharmacy technician training program, you will learn a number of different skills relevant to working as a pharmacy tech. Pharmacy technician tuition is split between classroom learning, laboratory work, and practical experience.
As with any healthcare program, students will quickly learn the importance of patient confidentiality and begin to collect useful medical terminology relevant to their chosen career.
Students should expect to learn transferrable administrative skills, focusing on collecting and cataloging customer information; completing prescription paperwork, and managing pharmaceutical inventory.
During the lab or simulated lab component, students will learn to process and prepare medications, as well as basic pharmaceutical calculations. Some programs will include intravenous preparation.
The real-world experience or externship will offer students a chance to put their new skills into practice in a working pharmacy, under supervision from a registered pharmacist.
Pharmacy technology students will need to become familiar with state and federal pharmaceutical laws, which may vary slightly between parts of the United States.
Online Pharmacy Technician Programs
Due to the laboratory element, the vast majority of accredited pharmacy technician programs are in-person only. However, it is possible to enroll in an online pharmacy technician program and complete the qualification via online coursework and an externship.
Many of the programs listed include this online component to increase flexibility so that prospective students can fit study around their existing responsibilities.
What this means, is that students have the option to enroll in a blended learning course so they can access the class material from home. Most often this will take the form of course notes uploaded to the student server, as well as pre-recorded lectures.
Typically students still need to visit campus to fulfill the lab component of the program in the simulated lab environment. However, in recent years a few select programs have begun to offer a virtual laboratory for students to access from their home computer using PioneerRX. It is, however, extremely rare for a program to demand no in-person attendance at all.
Each of the programs considered on this list demand a clinical externship or paid internship working in a pharmacy in order for the student to successfully complete the course. This obviously cannot be achieved at home, so prospective applicants should expect to attend at least this final part of the course in person.
Pharmacy Technician Career Outcome
Pursuing pharmacy technology can prove to be a lucrative career option. Sure, it is the ideal point of entry for students looking to break into the healthcare industry, as they can easily further their skills and work toward becoming licensed pharmacists. However, working as a pharmacy technician is a popular choice in its own right.
As drug stores pop up across the United States and increase their online presence, more and more qualified pharmacy technicians are required to assist with patient care, administrative duties, and distributing prescription medication.
Pharmacy technology is a stable career choice, but exactly how much you can expect to earn on this salary will vary depending on the state and the type of pharmacy you work in. Independent drug stores, chain drug stores, virtual pharmacies, and hospital environments tend to offer different salaries.
According to the pharmacy technician pay scale laid out by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technicians working in a hospital setting are likely to earn upwards of $20.00 per hour. At the other end of the scale, technicians working on the pharmacy counter inside a food and beverage store will make just $16.00 per hour.
The good news is that once you are credited by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board you are eligible to apply for a role in just about any type of pharmacy around the United States… and your qualification will be recognized should you move to a different state.
States with the highest employment
When choosing which pharmacy technician program to apply to, you might consider which states have the highest employment rate and select a school in one of these. This will increase your options of where to take your externship, as well as a possible paid internship if your school will support this.
The states with the highest employment rate among pharmacy technicians are:
Of these five states, the hourly employment rate is highest in California, averaging $24.00 per hour.
Do You Have To Be Credited To Work As A Pharmacy Technician?
The requirements vary by state but in most parts of the United States, you do require some acknowledgment of formal training to seek employment as a pharmacy technician.
Hawaii, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are the only states which have no formal requirements for lab techs.
What is the quickest way to become a pharmacy technician in the US?
- Complete a secondary education program in the industry.
- Complete on-the-job training.
- Complete the exam and become a certified pharmacy technician.
- Become a specialized pharmacy technician.
- Maintain your certification.
Are pharmacy technicians in demand?
Between 2021 and 2031, the demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow by 5%, which is similar to the average demand for other occupations.
Is it difficult to be a pharmacy tech?
The job can be stressful, especially if inventory and organizing do not come naturally to you. You will also have to deal with a range of customers with different dispositions, and often there are tight time schedules to stick to.
So, do you think you want to be a pharmacy technician?
Pharmacy technology is a stable career choice, with consistent employment rates across the United States. Beginning your career in this field opens the door to the healthcare industry, providing paid on-the-job experience while learning from licensed health-system pharmacists.
Pharmacy technician programs are offered in both a diploma format – which is ideal for students without the time or money to invest in a full degree – and also an applied science degree.
There are many programs to choose from scattered across the US. Students are advised to choose the right program based on location, as well as state employability. Depending on their individual circumstances, students may also opt for a program with an online component in order to fit their studies into their lifestyles.
The list laid out above considers a variety of programs with varying degrees of flexibility, offered by competitive universities and smaller, state colleges. There are many more programs out there besides, so as a prospective student you are certain to find the perfect program, in just the right school for you.