Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship: How to Find One, Salary, & More

Pharmacy technicians have meaningful jobs and earn a decent salary. They are in demand all over the country and work in a variety of settings. One of the best ways to get started as a pharmacy technician is to complete a pharmacy technician apprenticeship. 

An apprenticeship, which can be paid or unpaid, gives future pharmacy technicians a chance to learn and prepare for their certification exam while on the job.

Some schools and organizations will help set you up with an apprenticeship. Otherwise, you will have to find a working pharmacy technician willing to train you and a pharmacy that is willing to take you on as an apprentice. 

This article gives an overview of pharmacy technician apprenticeships, including everything from how to find one to how much you can earn as an apprentice, to what will happen when you complete your apprenticeship. 

Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship Overview

An apprentice is someone who wants to become proficient in a certain career but has not yet been trained. They work with someone who has already earned a certification and completed training. 

Apprentice trainers usually have several years of experience in their chosen field. Most pharmacy technician apprenticeships last between 6 and 12 weeks. 

An apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to get hands-on experience while working toward your pharmacy technician certification. Some apprenticeships will pay you for your work and cover the cost of your certification exam. 

In addition, performing well during an apprenticeship may lead you to an opportunity for full-time employment. 

Even if you choose to seek employment outside of the organization that offers you an apprenticeship, completing the in-person training and getting experience will be a great addition to your entry-level resume

Pharmacy technician apprentices' responsibilities are similar to full-time pharmacy technicians, but they are completed under the supervision of a pharmacist or experienced pharmacy technician. These responsibilities include: 

  • Measuring medications
  • Organizing and taking inventory of medicines
  • Working with customers
  • Handling billing and insurance claims
  • Relaying questions to the pharmacist
  • Collecting and double-checking patient information

Requirements to Be a Pharmacy Technician Apprentice

All pharmacy technician apprentices must have a high school diploma or GED before they can start working. Otherwise, pharmacy technician apprentices do not typically need certifications or additional training. 

While a certification is not required to start working as an apprentice, most employers will require you to earn your certification within 6 to 12 months of beginning the job. 

Apprentices do not have to be certified, but many do have to register with their state’s board of pharmacy before they can become paid employees. 

States that require registration before starting an apprenticeship include: 

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

If your job requires certification, you can earn your PTCB’s CPhT exam or the NHA’s ExCPT exam.

To become a certified pharmacy technician, you must complete a pharmacy tech training program, pay the testing fee, and pass the certification exam. 

Once you earn your certification, you will complete annual continuing education courses and pay a small fee to maintain the certificate. 

Popular Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship Programs

If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician apprentice, these programs might be a good fit. 


Here at Stepful, we offer an Online Pharmacy Tech Program that prepares students to take the PTCB’s CPhT exam. 

We help students find local, in-person externships after they complete the program, allowing them to get hands-on experience and build up their resume before starting their full-time careers.

We also offer career coaching and have a job-placement guarantee. If you don’t find a job within 6 months of earning your certification, we will refund your tuition. 


Walgreens has several training options for aspiring pharmacy technicians. Their unpaid programs include high school job shadowing opportunities and externships that are offered in partnership with educational institutions. 

In addition, Walgreens has a paid apprenticeship program for candidates who want to complete all training through Walgreens. These apprenticeships are competitive, and most candidates are typically offered full-time positions after completing the program. T

he Walgreens apprenticeship program prepares students to take either the PTCE (PTCB) or the ExCPT (NHA) exam. 


CVS also has its own pharmacy technician training program which allows students to get experience in the clinical setting while completing coursework in the classroom and online.

Students who complete the program are prepared to take the PTCE (PTCB) exam. CVS will cover the cost of a student’s first exam fee. Repeat examinations are not covered by CVS. 

U.S. Department of Labor

If you complete an online training program or community college program, you may need to search for your own externship or apprenticeship opportunities. 

The U.S. Department of Labor is a great resource for pharmacy technician students hoping to gain experience and advance their careers. 

The U.S. Department of Labor can help students find both paid and unpaid apprenticeships. Students should make sure that they meet their state registration requirements before seeking employment. 

Pharmacy Technician Apprentice Salary

Some pharmacy technician apprenticeships will start paying you right away. Paid pharmacy technician apprentices earn an average of $19 per hour. This hourly pay typically increases once the pharmacy technician earns their certification

In addition to being paid, some organizations start offering benefits to their apprentices from their first day of work. These benefits can include health insurance, tuition reimbursement, financial coaching, 401k matching, and store discounts. 

How Long Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeships Are

Most pharmacy technicians' apprenticeships last between 6 weeks and 3 months. This varies based on state and type of training. 

Apprenticeships that start after a student has already completed some training and coursework are typically shorter than those that require students to complete classroom and in-person work at the same time. 

The length of an apprenticeship may also vary by state. States that do not require pharmacy technicians to earn certification can get away with shorter apprenticeships, while those that need to prepare students to pass an exam usually need more time. 

What Happens When You’re Done Working as a Pharmacy Technician Apprentice

Before you begin an apprenticeship program, check to see whether or not the organization has a partnership or is accredited by the PTCB or NHA. That way, you will be ready and eligible to take your certification exam once you complete your apprenticeship. 

Most students hope that their apprenticeship eventually leads to a permanent position as a pharmacy technician. It is important to make a good impression during your apprenticeship so that your leaders and coworkers view you as a valuable member of the healthcare team and want you to continue working there. 

Most employers offer an increase in pay and more hours once a student completes their apprenticeship. Some organizations will continue to bump up pharmacy technician pay as they continue their education and earn more advanced certifications. 

Pharmacy technicians often complete an apprenticeship in a retail pharmacy and get a few years of experience there before moving to more advanced jobs such as compounding pharmacy technicians or hospital pharmacy technicians

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