Pharmacy technicians are integral parts of the healthcare system because of their crucial role in the medical field, helping pharmacists dispense medications and provide other patient care services.
This noble healthcare profession has a promising job outlook. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that a pharmacy technician’s job growth will be as high as 6 per cent through 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.
If you’re thinking about becoming a Pharmacy technician, you might be thinking aloud and asking yourself “How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician”. The quick answer is that most Pharmacy technician programs take anywhere from 4 months to 1 year to complete. You can also enroll in an associate degree program, which will take 2 years to complete.
This article goes over how long each type of Pharmacy technician program lasts and everything you need to know about Pharmacy technician schooling and training.
What is a Pharmacy Technician?
Pharmacy technicians also known as pharmacy clerks are medical professionals who assist and support patients while ensuring they receive the best possible care.
Enrolling in a PT school is the best alternative to medical schools because can work in diverse medical settings such as community pharmacies, hospital pharmacies, pharmaceutical production or sales in the pharmaceutical industry, etc are all places where pharmacy technicians can work.
Pharmacists supervise pharmacy technicians. They are in charge of the pharmacy’s overall efficiency and safety. Furthermore, their time is divided between using their technical skills for prescriptions and providing customer service.
The Different Types of Pharmacy Technician Programs
If you are looking to become a certified pharmacy technician, there are many education, programs, and training options available that you can choose from.
When it comes to the amount to be paid for these educational programs and the length of study, each of them has its own strength. It is important to examine these when deciding which program that suits you.
The minimum requirement for becoming a pharmacy clerk is a high school diploma or GED. Although the length of CPT programs can vary depending on the institution. However, you should be expecting the program to run from four months to two years to complete.
That being said, the following are the different types of pharmacy technician programs that are available for you to choose from:
- Certificate programs
- Diploma programs
- Associate’s degree program
Pharmacy Technician Certificate Programs Student Duration
- Timeframe of Study: 1 year
- Cost of Program: Between $2,000 and $10,000 dollars
Many colleges and universities, both on and off campus, offer certificate programs for technical jobs. These programs provide specialized training for students without requiring general education courses such as humanities or fine arts.
Because these programs are more focused than degree programs, they can be completed more quickly and at a lower cost. After completing your program, you will be qualified to take a pharmacy technician certification exam.
The first semester of a Certificate program will typically cover the fundamentals of medical terminology as well as an introduction to healthcare operations. The second semester is dedicated to drug classification and dosage calculations. Advanced pharmaceuticals and mixing sterile solutions are frequently covered in the final semester.
Pharmacy Technician Diploma Programs Study Duration
- Timeframe of Study: 4 to 12 months
- Cost of Program: $1,000
A training program be it online or onsite is the quickest and cheapest way to learn the skills needed to be a pharm tech and obtain your certification. Pharm tech training programs mostly last 4 to 9 months, though an accelerated program allows you to become a pharm technician in 6 weeks.
This kind of training program offers the most versatility of any option. Many of them are self-paced, which means you can go at your own pace. These CTP programs are typically less expensive than alternatives such as trade school or community college.
Pharm Tech Associate Degree Program Study Duration
- Timeframe of Study: 2 years
- Cost of Program: can cost up to $20,000
The Pharmacy Technician Associate degree is meant to provide you with knowledge, laboratory skills, and field experience to help pharmacists provide medication and other healthcare products to patients.
Programs that are offered in the program include: medical and pharmaceutical technology, pharmacology, pharmacy record keeping, pharmaceutical techniques, and pharmacy law and ethics will all be covered. A pharmacy technician helps the licensed pharmacist order, stock, and package prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Requirements for Pharmacy Technician Programs
In order for you to be eligible for a pharmacy technician program, you have to have the following requirements:
- High School graduate or equivalent
- Score the acceptable scores on the College Placement Tests
As you can see these requirements are nothing compared to Medical School Requirements, which makes it to be easy for you to enroll without much stress.
How to Choose the Right Pharmacy Technician Program for You
There are numerous things potential pharmacy technician students should look for in a program before enrolling. Here are the things that you should look out for in any program of your choice.
- Understand the Role of a Pharmacy Technician
- Consider Your Career Goals
- Look out for Accredited Programs
- Cost of the Program
- Length of the Program
- Reputation of the Pharmacy Technician School
Understand the Role of a Pharmacy Technician
A PT locates, dispenses, packs, and labels a patient’s prescribed medication, which is then reviewed for accuracy by a pharmacist before being dispensed to the patient. They may also assist pharmacists with administrative tasks such as processing insurance claims, inventory tracking, and paperwork filing.
Without a doubt, this health worker is an important member of the healthcare team. Because they are in charge of several administrative tasks, PTs must be organized, detail-oriented, and capable of safeguarding confidential information.
Consider Your Career Goals
When researching each school, gather as much information as possible about your selection criteria, such as the program’s curriculum, clinical opportunities, reputation, and student support services.
Before enrolling anywhere, do not be afraid to ask as many questions as possible when meeting with admissions representatives. Actually, the more the merrier! Representatives from a standout school should always be willing, if not eager, to answer all of your questions.
Also, it is also critical to consider your long-term career objectives. For example, do you want to work as a pharmacy technician for the rest of your life? Do you want to use your physical therapy experience to advance your career?
Look out for Accredited Programs
After deciding to attend pharmacy technician school, the next step is to find the best program for you. When looking for a PT program, you should ask yourself several questions. Gather as much information as possible about your selection criteria, such as cost, length, location, accreditation, and certification opportunities, during your research.
Furthermore, the best pharmacy technician program should be customized to your specific requirements. Some students, for example, may prefer smaller class sizes. Others, on the other hand, may place a higher value on time set aside for externships. Before enrolling anywhere, don’t be afraid to ask admissions representatives questions.
Cost of the Program
The price of pharmacy technician training programs varies greatly. Some schools may offer scholarships or financial aid to qualified students, so it’s critical to investigate your options. Some medical facilities have programs to help qualified employees pay for training.
Length of the Program
Consider the program’s schedule as well. Some programs may provide full-time or part-time options, as well as evening or weekend classes. Choose a schedule that works for your lifestyle.
Reputation of the Pharmacy Technician School
You want to study at a well-known and respected pharmacy school. To learn more about the program and its faculty, visit the school’s website. You can also read online reviews to find out what other people think about the school and its training program.
Also, inquire with your family, friends, or current employer about any good medical assistant schools. You want to make certain that you receive the best training possible so that you can confidently begin your PT career.
Tips for Success in Pharmacy Technician School
Here are key tips for success in a pharm tech school, regardless of where you are in the program.
- Take Good Notes
- Stay Organized
- Study with Others
- Avoid Distractions
- Use available Academic Resources
- Give Yourself Good Rest
What to Expect After You Graduate From Pharmacy Technician School
As hospitals and healthcare facilities strive to meet the needs of a growing patient population, pharmacy technicians are becoming an increasingly important part of the healthcare team.
Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for physical therapists will grow at a rate of up to 6% through 2032, well above the national average.
While increased demand may improve the outlook for Pharm Tech salaries, you can use your experience to advance your career. Pharmacy technicians can specialize and advance into leadership roles with experience, filling another critical healthcare workforce need. They can become healthcare managers, administrators, nurses, and other professionals by furthering their education.
In the United States, a pharmacy technician can make up to 18 dollars per hour. He or she can also earn additional bonuses from work.
Four months to two years. Although the exact time varies, most aspiring pharmacy technicians spend four months to two years in school. To become a Pharm tech, you must first graduate from high school, then complete pharm tech training and obtain certifications.
Yes, pharmacy technician certification can help you boost your career and also advance in the place of work.
Pharmacy technicians, without a doubt, play an important role in healthcare. Many schools can provide a high-quality education to aspiring physical therapists who want to advance in their careers. These vocational programs can provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in your dream job. If you have a strong desire to assist others, becoming a pharmacy technician could be a very rewarding career path for you.