Pharmacy technicians have great job security, earn a decent salary, and get to make a difference in the lives of their customers and patients.
In most states, you have to complete a training program and pass a certification exam before beginning to work as a pharmacy technician.
The shortest pharmacy technician programs are typically 4 months long, though some self-paced programs can be completed in 6 weeks.
Completing a pharmacy technician program in 6 weeks is typically very difficult, however, and you may not have enough time to learn all of the necessary information.
A much more realistic program length is 4 months like our Online Pharmacy Technician Program here at Stepful. With a longer program, you have enough time to learn everything you need to know to successfully pass your certification exam and start working as a pharmacy technician.
Is it Possible to Become a Pharmacy Technician in 6 Weeks?
Most people who want to start a new job want to complete their training and get to work as soon as possible. This means finding a training program that can be completed quickly, but also covers all required material and will help you pass your certification exam.
Most high-quality pharmacy technician training programs are at least 4 months long. While it is possible to complete a self-paced training program more quickly, it will take significant study time and will be difficult to pass the certification exam with such little training.
Average Length of Pharmacy Technician Programs
Pharmacy technician training programs can last anywhere from 5 weeks to 2 years. The longest programs usually include an associate degree, while the shortest are self-paced programs.
- Self-paced online – 5 weeks to 1 year
- Online – 4 months to 1 year
- Trade School – 1 year
- Certificate Program at a Community College – 4 months to 1 year
- Associate Degree – 2 years
Shortest Pharmacy Technician Training Program Currently Available
While most pharmacy technician training programs take about 12 weeks to complete, some can be completed in 6 weeks or less. These programs are self-paced, meaning there are usually no strict coursework deadlines, and you can complete the coursework as fast as you can.
Pharmacy technician training programs that can be completed in 6 weeks include:
- Phlebotomy Career Training – As short as 5 weeks, up to 6 months)
- Ashworth College – As short as 5 weeks, up to 1 year)
While choosing an accelerated program may be tempting for some, it is important to keep in mind that these programs require rigorous study to complete in 6 weeks. It would be very difficult for someone with a job or family to take care of to complete the training and be prepared to pass the certification exam within just 5 weeks of study.
While highly disciplined and motivated students can pack their learning into just those few weeks, these self-paced programs allow students up to 6 months or 1 year to complete the coursework and register for their exam. Many students find it easy to procrastinate with these types of flexible timelines.
It is also important to keep in mind that these accelerated programs do not include externship hours in those first 5 weeks, meaning that students will either miss out on valuable hands-on learning opportunities when participating in these types of training programs or will have to attend an externship after completing their coursework.
How You Can Become a Pharmacy Technician in Under 6 Weeks by Not Getting Your Certification
Some states and healthcare facilities have no certification requirements for pharmacy technicians. Living in one of these areas means you can apply for jobs and start working as a pharmacy technician right after high school graduation or earning your GED.
States that have no certification requirements for pharmacy techs include:
- District of Columbia
If you choose not to get a certification, you will have to learn through on-the-job training and rely on your new coworkers to teach you everything you need to know.
While it might be more difficult to become a pharmacy technician without earning a certification first, it is not impossible.
How Stepful Can Help You Become a Pharmacy Technician in Just 4 Months
Our Online Pharmacy Technician Program here at Stepful can be completed in 4 months. This program will help you learn everything you need to know to pass the PTCB certification exam and begin working as a pharmacy technician.
Our program not only prepares you for the exam but helps you get ready for a successful start to your pharmacy technician career. We help you find an in-person pharmacy technician externship to practice the skills you learned in the program, job placement support with coaches available to answer your questions, and even a 100% job placement guarantee.
The courses at Stepful will cover pharmacology, prescriptions, pharmacy calculations, and more, ensuring that you are ready to pass your exams and start your career.
Timeline of Becoming a Pharmacy Technician
If you are thinking about becoming a pharmacy technician, follow these steps for the most successful start in your career.
- Get your high school diploma or GED (1 month – 4 years). Getting your high school diploma takes four years of traditional high school. If, for whatever reason, you did not graduate from high school, you can study for and take the GED exam in as little as a few months.
- Choose a pharmacy technician training program (1 month). When selecting a pharmacy technician training program, make sure you consider the cost, the time it takes to complete the program, whether or not you will have an externship opportunity, their exam passing rate, and what kind of job placement support they offer.
- Complete your coursework (4 months – 2 years). Coursework for pharmacy technician training school should cover basic pharmacology, dosage calculations, prescription writing, drug interactions and side effects, customer service skills, and information about insurance and billing.
- Register for your exam (1 month). After you complete your training program and possible externship hours, you will need to create an account with the PTCB, NHA, or another organization offering pharmacy technician certifications and register for your exam. You will have to submit evidence of completing your training program before you will receive an authorization to test email. Once you are authorized to test, you can choose a testing date at either a testing center or with an online proctor. You will also have to pay an examination fee of around $49 to $129.
- Take your exam (3 days). After you take your exam, you will be able to see your unofficial results right away. However, official results will be sent to you within a few days or weeks after you complete your examination.
- Apply for a license (1 week). Some states require pharmacy technicians to apply for licensure or register with the state board of pharmacy in addition to or instead of earning a certification. Most states require paying a small fee, a passport-style photo, a background check, and a drug screening test to be licensed.
- Build your resume (1 week). Before you start applying for jobs, make sure you update and edit your resume. If you do not have work experience, you can add certifications, service work, special awards, and soft skills to your resume to make it stand out.
- Apply for jobs (5 months). Using job search websites is often the easiest and most convenient way to apply for different jobs. Sites like monster.com and indeed.com can even help you create a resume and apply for multiple jobs in just a few hours. Many people find that it takes about 5 months to find a job and complete the onboarding process.
- Start your career. Now you are ready to start your career as a pharmacy technician. As you work, you will continue to develop your skills and increase your knowledge.
- Keep your license up to date (every 2 years). After you earn your certification, make sure that you keep your certificate current by completing the required continuing education hours and paying any recertification fees.