Pharmacy Technician
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Pharmacy Technician Program FAQs

Get answers to the most common and important questions about enrolling in the Pharmacy Technician program at Career Step. Our FAQs section provides answers to help you make an informed decision about your education.

What role do pharmacy technicians play?

Pharmacy technicians work in retail or institutional facilities and assist pharmacists in formulating, labeling, and dispensing medications. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 73% of pharmacy technicians work in a retail setting and about 18% work in hospitals.

What is the job market for a pharmacy technician?

The pharmacy technician field is a part of the growing healthcare industry, and the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics projects:

  • A rapidly expanding job market as the field is predicted to grow by 9%, or over 35,000 new jobs, before 2024.
  • High demand and good job prospects for pharmacy technicians with formal training or certification.
  • A growing number of professionals needed in the field to meet the high demand for prescriptions fueled by an aging population and continued scientific advances.

Learn all about the pharmacy technician career in just a few minutes in our quick video!

How much can I earn as a pharmacy technician?

The U.S. Department of Labor report states that the middle 50% of pharmacy technicians nationwide earn between $24,760 and $37,280 annually. You may also qualify for benefits as a pharmacy technician. The Career Step Pharmacy Technician program prepares students for the national certification exam after graduation, which increases earning potential, marketability, and flexibility.

Learn all about the pharmacy technician career in just a few minutes in our quick video!

Do I need to be certified?

Career Step graduates are prepared for national certification offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)—you'll even receive a free exam voucher to take the certification exam after graduation (a $129 value)!

To determine whether your state of residency requires national certification, please refer to your state board of pharmacy's website or our State Requirements pdf.

What are the advantages of training with Career Step?

Career Step has been training quality healthcare professionals for over 20 years and offers a comprehensive training program that prepares students to work as pharmacy technicians. You will study online, on your own schedule and at your own pace, and with Career Step you know you're getting the right education; personal, ongoing support; and the resources and guidance you need to turn your education into a job. You'll simultaneously train to work in both retail and institutional settings and will be prepared to sit for the national certification exam immediately after graduation. Career Step also has externship partnerships with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, which provide the opportunity for student to participate in an externship in their local areas.

Take a peek inside the Career Step training program and find out what sets our training apart in our quick information session video.

What kind of skills or experience do I need to enter the Career Step program?

In order to be admitted, you must be at least 18 years of age and either a) have a high school diploma or a General Education Development Certificate (GED), or b) pass the Career Step Pre-Enrollment Assessment Test. There are no specific skills or experience that are considered prerequisites for entry into the Career Step training program.

Is Career Step accredited?

Career Step is registered under the Utah Post-Secondary Proprietary School Act but is not nationally or regionally accredited. However, our career-focused training programs are approved by a number of industry specific organizations and are designed with employer feedback to ensure students are gaining exactly the skills needed to get a job and succeed in the workforce.

The Career Step training programs prepare students for career fields where employers are looking for skilled applicants. Career Step works closely with employers when developing a training program to ensure students graduate with the skills employers are looking for. We've also developed close ties to industry associations, aligning our programs with their recommendations. Career Step programs boast the following recognitions:

  • Career Step’s Medical Transcription Editor curriculum is approved by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), the leading medical transcription industry association.
  • The Professional Medical Coding and Billing program is approved by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), one of the largest and most prestigious health information organizations in the country.
  • The Career Step Pharmacy Technician program has been reviewed and approved by the State Boards of Pharmacy in Indiana, Utah, and Virginia. (Many states don't have any regulations on the education of pharmacy technicians, and very few require board approval. For more information on each state's pharmacy technician education regulations, view our State Requirements pdf.) Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy also offer Career Step Pharmacy Technician students the opportunity to participate in a hands-on externship in their stores nationwide.
  • The Medical Administrative Assistant with EHR program is approved by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), a leading organization focused on increasing the quality of health career education.

Career Step programs are also designed to prepare you for certifications that greatly improve your employment opportunities. Employers are often more familiar with various credentials than with the quality of education provided by different schools. To help your resume stand out from other applicants, various Career Step programs help prepare students to earn the following third-party credentials:

  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)
  • CompTIA A+ Certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist – Master (MOS-Master)

This focus on helping you gain the skills needed to succeed in the workforce has made our students successful in the job market—over 84% of Career Step graduates are employed in their field of study, 92% of employed Medical Transcription graduates work from home in their first job, Medical Coding and Billing graduates report a certification exam pass rate that’s a full 15 percentage points higher than the national average, and Pharmacy Technician students can take advantage of externship opportunities with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy.

Learn more about the value of career-focused education in our quick video.

How is the Career Step Pharmacy Technician program structured?

The Career Step program is offered entirely online, providing 24/7 access to all material and allowing you to progress through the curriculum on your own schedule and at your own pace. The program is broken into modules, or course subjects, all of which focus on helping you build the essential knowledge and skills of a pharmacy technician. The final exam of the course is designed to provide an experience similar to that of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Exam, ensuring that you are as prepared as possible to sit for national certification immediately upon graduation. The Career Step Pharmacy Technician program offers you the opportunity to participate in an externship through a Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy in your local area.

See what makes Career Step different in our quick introduction.

What type of student support does Career Step offer?

Career Step student support includes access to:

  • Student Support Instructors and Advisors who have professional experience in the industry and are uniquely qualified to answer questions about both the curriculum and the industry. They provide timely answers to questions about the program material and offer a number of personal consultations throughout the training to help students master important concepts.
  • Technical Support Advisors who are knowledgeable, experienced, and available six days a week to help you work through any technical or computer issues encountered within the training program.
  • Graduate Support Advisors who help you transition to the workforce after graduation. Your Graduate Advisors will help prepare the best resume, develop solid interview skills, and teach you valuable job search techniques.

Though the course is entirely online, you'll never be on your own. Career Step's student support team is available to offer personal, ongoing support all the way through the training program.

See what a few Career Step students had to say about their experiences with Career Step’s student support.

How long does it take to finish the course?

The Career Step Pharmacy Technician training program is 285 completion hours. Since the program is completely self-paced and the online training format allows you the flexibility to study as much or as little as your schedule allows, the time it takes you to complete the course will vary from other students. Some students are able to complete their training program in as little as 2 or 3 months (working on the course full-time, 8 hours a day 5 days a week) and others, who are more limited in the time they can devote to the course, take longer (for example, students who can devote about 15 hours a week may finish in about 5 months).

Every student who enrolls in a Career Step training program receives an initial 6-month period of enrollment. Though the program is designed to be completed in 3 months of full-time study, you'll have a full 6 months to complete your training. If you need extra time to complete the course after your initial 6-month enrollment, 3-month extensions are available for purchase.

Get an idea of how long the course took other students by checking out a few of the stories in our Graduate Success Library!

Is an externship included in the Career Step program?

Career Step has partnered with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy to offer externships to our students in their local areas. After students reach a certain point in the training program, they will be eligible for an externship, which are subject to local availability. Students can begin their externships prior to graduation, providing the opportunity for them to cement the skills they’re learning in the course and smoothing the transition from classroom to workplace.

How do I find work after graduation?

Career Step offers personalized, post-graduation resources for your job search, including:

  • Externship opportunity with Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy (available before graduation)
  • Personal consultation with a Graduate Advisor
  • Personalized interview tutorials and training
  • Individual resume and cover letter review, tips, and advice
  • A PTCB national certification exam voucher upon graduation (a $129 value)
  • Access to Career Step's help hotline for six months after graduation

These resources offer the personalized help you need after graduation to transition to the workplace. With this individualized help and attention, the majority of our graduates are hired within a few months of graduation.

Before you graduate from the program, you will also complete a module that includes an extensive discussion on finding work after graduation and the requirements of each state. For more information on the requirements of each state, please view our State Requirements pdf.

Learn more about Career Step’s graduate support in this quick interview with several of our Graduate Advisors.

What materials and computer specifications are required to complete the course?

Your enrollment includes everything you will need to train for a successful pharmacy technician career. Your enrollment includes:

  • Access to expert-created curriculum
  • Complete ebook library
  • One-on-one help from student and technical support
  • A PTCB national certification exam voucher upon graduation (a $129 value)
  • A Pocket Guide for Technicians brand name to generic name drug reference book
  • Valuable graduate resources

Since the course is completely online, your computer will play an important role in your learning experience. We recommend the following minimum computer system specifications:

Hardware

  • Active internet connection (High speed/Broadband connection recommended)
  • 800 X 600 minimum resolution (1024 X 768 or higher recommended)
  • Sound card and speakers (Earphones recommended)
  • Available USB port

Software

  • Adobe Flash Player (ver. 10 or higher)
  • Windows Media Player (ver. 10 or higher) or Quicktime Player (ver. 7 or higher)
  • PDF reader

Browser

  • Internet Explorer 9.x/10.x/11.x
  • Firefox 3.x or greater*
  • Safari 3.1 to 8.0 (Mac only)*
  • Javascript and cookies must be enabled

Operating System

  • Microsoft Windows (XP®, Vista®, 7 with latest service pack)
  • Mac OS X (10.4.11 or greater)*

*The Medical Transcription Editor program includes a third party software tool that makes the training only compatible with Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer.

Note: Mobile browsing devices are not currently supported. However, Career Step is investigating the implementation of mobile device support, and these specifications will be updated once a decision has been reached.

What payment options does Career Step offer?

We realize that one of the most important questions tied to education is how it will be paid for. Because this is such a big part of the decision of whether or not to go back to school, Career Step has designed several tuition assistance and payment options. Please visit our Tuition Assistance page for more information.

How soon will I receive my materials?

It takes 2-3 business days to process the application, depending on method of payment. Once the payment is processed you will be emailed your course login and password and can start training immediately. Additional course materials are shipped UPS Ground after the payment is processed. The average wait is about 7-10 days.

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"I received my job offers within 2 weeks of graduation, and less than a month after graduation I started my new job."
Read Kristin Choate's story »
"My Career Step training was invaluable to becoming a pharmacy technician. I cannot fathom trying to become one with just on-the-job training."
Read David Wedding's story »
"Career Step was there for me every step of the way! I received frequent calls ensuring I was comfortable with the course, they followed-up to make sure I received all my books and supplies, and they checked with me often to see if I had any questions."
Read Gladys Aragon's story »
"I was able to do the course at my pace and completely online—which fit in with being a military wife, employed full time, and a mom of 2 school-aged daughters."
Read Jessica Cumber's story »