How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacy Technician?
A pharmacy technician’s job is to assist the pharmacist with certain daily tasks. It’s a position that requires precision and attention to detail as well as an understanding of basic pharmacology, how to dispense medication, and knowledge of pharmacy law and ethics.
In order to be effective, pharmacy technicians need to undergo at least some formal training. Here’s a look at some of the training you need to become a pharmacy technician and how long it might take.
The first step to starting a pharmacy technician career is to earn a high school diploma or GED equivalent. With a basic education, you can qualify for on-the-job training. However, many people find that looking for employment is easier if you have undergone some form of post-secondary training, such as an online pharmacy technician certification program, that helps prepare you for the profession. Some states also require pharmacy technicians to have this formal training or pass a national certification exam.
Formal pharmacy technician training can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. On-the-job training relies on the mentorship, guidance, and experience of a skilled pharmacist. The training is complete once the pharmacist is confident of the technician’s ability to do the job without supervision.
Formal training is also often provided at vocational schools, community colleges, and technical institutes. There are also online pharmacy technician certification courses that can be an excellent fit for students who are already working or have similarly busy. Many institutions, Career Step included, provide pharmacy technician courses online that can be completed relatively quickly. For instance, Career Step’s online pharmacy technician training can be finished in as little as 3 months.
There are two main types of certification for pharmacy technicians. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certification requires pharmacy technicians to have a high school diploma and pass a certification exam. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification has a minimum age requirement of 18 years and requires applicants to have a high school diploma, complete a formal training program, and have at least 1 year of work experience before they can sit for the certification exam.
Pharmacy technicians are required to recertify every 2 years to make sure they’re up-to-date with all of the healthcare changes and advances that affect their scope of practice. You can do this by completing 20 hours of continuing education to ensure your skills are current.
Training to become a pharmacy technician can take anywhere from a few months to a year, and taking that little bit of extra time to earn a national certification through the PTCB or NHA is definitely worth it. With the right kind of training you can be well on your way toward a successful career as a pharmacy technician!