Pharmacy Technician Education

As the role of the pharmacy technician increases, the need for skilled technicians with a broad knowledge also increases.  Many pharmacy technician job postings prefer individuals who are currently enrolled in a pharmacy technician school or are already certified.

The first step to becoming a highly sought after pharmacy technician is to complete pharmacy technician training.  The following discusses the different options for obtaining training.

Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Online pharmacy technician programs allow for a great deal of freedom.  You are able to work at your own pace and on your own time.  If some topics come easier for you, you are able to move quickly through them.  On the other hand, if a topic is more difficult for you, you are able to take as much time as you need to feel comfortable.

One potential drawback to online pharmacy technician programs is the lack of an internship.  Many pharmacy technician schools will have an internship that provides hands on learning.

A reputable online pharmacy technician school will have instructors available by both email and telephone to answer any questions.  The same information and the same degree that is provided in classroom programs can be obtained online.

Typical online pharmacy technician courses are divided into “modules” or sections.  An exam is given at the end of each module.  After the exam is passed, the next module is sent electronically to you.

Some programs are considered “distance learning”.  These programs will have you use both email and mail to correspond.  Certain classes may need to be attended at the school.

Cost varies from program to program, but is generally less than a pharmacy technician school program.

Pharmacy Technician Schools

One of the many benefits to attending a pharmacy technician school includes interning with community or hospital pharmacies.  This provides students with a hands-on learning experience that is invaluable.

Pharmacy technician programs are generally 12 months or less.  There are very few career-training programs that can be completed in this amount of time.

Many schools allow you the option of going full time or part time, but they usually do have a deadline for when your coursework will need to be completed.

Cost varies by school.  Courses tend to be 3 to 6 credits and schools usually charge by the credit.  A typical pharmacy technician program is usually 36 credits.  Financial aid is available at pharmacy technician schools and it is always wise to inquire about financial aid as you may qualify.

Both Online and Onsite programs will typically cover:


-Computer Systems

-Label and Prescription Information

-Medical Terminology

-Pharmaceutical Calculations and Measurements

-Pharmacy Billing

-Poison/Drug Emergencies

Other Options for Pharmacy Technician Training

Formal pharmacy technician training schools and online pharmacy technician training programs tend to be the most popular ways to gain the necessary skills.  There are other ways to obtain training and expand your knowledge as a pharmacy technician including:

Internship Programs– An internship can give you the hands on training that you need to be a successful pharmacy technician.  An internship also provides with an opportunity to work side by side with experienced professionals.  National retail chains often will offer internships.  Some local pharmacies also will offer an internship.  If you are enrolled in a pharmacy technician-training program, you most likely will have access to an internship.

On-the-Job Training- Working as a pharmacy technician will provide for several new learning experiences.  Your skills and knowledge will develop as you are doing your daily job.  Many employers do prefer that pharmacy technicians start with some experience such as an internship or degree from training school or online program.

Continuing Education Courses- As a certified pharmacy technician, you will be required to complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.  This provides a great opportunity to further your knowledge of various aspects of pharmacy technician training.  (See Recertification and Continuing Education).

Pharmacy Technician Organizations- Professional organizations can help keep you up to date on education and career resources related to pharmacy technicians.