A pharmacy technician is a healthcare worker that helps with pharmacy operations and assists with dispensing patients’ medications.
There are many benefits to becoming a pharmacy technician, such as good pay and a chance to play a vital role in patient care.
To become one, you typically need to complete a pharmacy technician training program. Getting certified is often optional depending on where you live.
If you are interested in making the leap into becoming a pharmacy technician, you may be wondering if 12-week or 3-month pharmacy technician programs exist.
While you may be able to find a 12-week or 3-month pharmacy technician training program, most are at least 4 months in length.
For example, Stepful’s Online Pharmacy Technician Program takes 4 months, which gives enough time for you to learn the necessary skills and prepare for your certification exam.
This guide goes over pharmacy technician programs that can be completed in around 3 months or 12 weeks, how long programs typically take, and which states require you to complete training so that you can choose the right one for you.
Is it Possible to Become a Pharmacy Technician in 3 Months or 12 Weeks?
It is certainly possible to become a pharmacy technician in 3 months or 12 weeks by completing a training program. Many accelerated programs are offered through community colleges or online.
The average pharmacy technician program takes around 4 months to 1 year to complete. However, they can also be longer or shorter depending on the institution offering it and whether it is offered through a virtual, in-person, or hybrid format.
The best way to find these shorter programs is by first checking in with local colleges, trade schools, or other postsecondary institutions in your area. For example, the pharmacy technician program at Cal State Los Angeles takes 10 weeks to complete and meets through an online video conference platform.
It’s important to note that shorter programs aren’t always better. Since you’ll be dealing with critical medications to patients’ health, you want to make sure you always have enough time to learn the material thoroughly and prepare well for your certification exam.
Some online pharmacy technician programs are asynchronous, meaning that you can complete it at your own pace.
For example, the deadline for completion may be 4 months. However, if you study hard and are motivated, you may be able to complete it in less time. These can be an excellent choice if you're looking for both the shortest training program possible and maximum schedule flexibility.
Some self-paced pharmacy technician programs can take as little as 6 weeks, though you will have to study full-time to learn all of the material.
Another way to become a pharmacy technician in 3 months or 12 weeks is by finding a pharmacy technician job that offers on-the-job training.
In a later section we go what this consists of and what states allow it but, in short, some states don’t require pharmacy techs to complete training programs so employers offer in-person training to people with no pharmacy technician experience.
More About Stepful’s 4-Month Pharmacy Technician Program
Stepful offers a 4-Month Online Pharmacy Technician Program that gives you all the support you need to become a certified pharmacy technician and get your career started right. It is a complete package that includes didactic instruction, an externship, preparation for certification, and job placement support.
In this course, you will learn everything you need to become a great pharmacy technician, such as basic clinical science, pharmacology and calculating dosages. The experienced class instructors and your fellow classmates will support you as you go through the course material.
The program includes an in-person externship as part of the curriculum. A pharmacy technician externship is an unpaid position that allows you to gain a stronger understanding of what working as a pharmacy technician is really like. It is a great way to apply what you learned in class to real-life situations.
Stepful’s program will also prepare you to earn your Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) CPhT certification. In order to get your certification, you will need to pass the CPhT exam. This certification is highly regarded by employers and will boost your chances of finding a great pharmacy technician job.
In addition, Stepful’s program has a 100% job placement guarantee. They will work closely with you to make sure that you are able to find a pharmacy technician job within 6 months after completing the program.
All these resources and benefits make Stepful’s program an excellent choice for anyone looking to begin their career as a pharmacy technician. You can rest easy knowing that Stepful will be right by your side from the time you start your first class to the time you get hired for your first job.
Average Length of Pharmacy Technician Programs
Once you have your high school diploma or GED, you will need some training to become a pharmacy technician.
Some states allow you to complete just a few weeks of on-the-job training, but most require a certification that takes between 4 months and 2 years to complete.
An online program is usually the least expensive option. An associate degree is much more expensive in addition to taking the longest.
How You Can Become a Pharmacy Technician in Under 3 Months If You Don’t Need Your Certification
Some states don’t require pharmacy technicians to complete a training program or be certified to work as a pharmacy technician.
If you plan on working in one of these states, it is possible to become a pharmacy technician in under 3 months or 12 weeks.
As always, be sure to check with your state’s board of pharmacy to find out the latest guidelines, regulations, and restrictions.
Here are the states where pharmacy technician certification is not required:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Here are the states where a training program is not required:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
As mentioned, some workplaces offer on-the-job training for pharmacy technicians. This can be a great opportunity to start your career through hands-on practical training. This typically involves learning about your workplace’s specific policies and procedures.
As you learn the basics, you will be integrated and eased into your job position. The best way to find these types of positions that offer on-the-job training is by browsing online job search boards like Indeed or Glassdoor.
If your state allows it, on-the-job training can be an excellent way to start your pharmacy technician career as soon as possible without having to complete a training program.