Pharmacy Technician Program Description

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Our pharmacy technician certification classes were developed by a board-certified pharmacist and pharmacy technicians with years of experience. Our elite training is one of the only pharmacy technician certification programs accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists® (ASHP) / Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)—meeting all 41 of their stringent objectives. The main purpose of our online pharmacy technician certification program is to prepare you to successfully pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam and become employable—competent and confident—as quickly as possible.

Program Content

Our elite pharmacy tech training quickly infuses you with new knowledge in the following:

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy law, regulations, and standards
  • Business of a pharmacy (both retail and hospital)
  • Prescriptions
  • Pharmaceutical Calculations
  • Nonsterile Compounding

400 hours of online courses


One-third of your program hours will be spent in an actual pharmacy. Thanks to our partnerships with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy, your pharmacy technician certificate program includes an externship at locations nationwide, based on local availability. You’ll complete your externship by the time you finish training. That’ll cement your pharmacy technician skills and smooth your transition from training to working.

130 hours of externship


Your pharmacy technician courses are designed to help you quickly comprehend new concepts, and stand out in the job market.

  • Rich, visual content, including images, videos, simulations, and interactive games
  • A laboratory kit for hands-on experience, such as filling prescription bottles
  • A Skype consultation with our pharmacy expert to help ensure that you complete the laboratory kit exercises correctly
  • A free voucher to take the PTCB national certification exam upon completion, a $129 value
  • Required background check and drug test
  • Career support designed to help you turn your training into a job

Program Timeline

How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician? Not long at all. Once your payment is processed, we’ll email your login and password so you can start immediately. Our program is designed to be completed in just four months of full-time study: 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. But, if you need a little extra time, you’ll have one full year of program access to finish your training. (Beyond that we offer one-month extensions for purchase.) Since our pharmacy technician training is completely self-paced, you have the flexibility to study as much or as little as your schedule allows. The time it takes to complete the course is totally up to you.

4 months of full-time study

12 months of program access

Study Format

Our have-it-your-way training is always on … because it’s online. 24/7 web access gives you the freedom to study however, whenever, and wherever you want. Got a laptop? You’re ready to rock!

Learn from home (or anywhere)

Study online (anytime)


Don’t think of your online pharmacy technician training as e-learning. Think of it as we-learning, because we’re with you every step of the way. Real people—dedicated trainers and tutors to career advisors—are all devoted to your success, from sign up to post completion.

One-on-one support

Phone, live chat, and email

Pharmacy Technician Program Modules

Our pharmacy technician certificate program is based on 20 bite-size modules. Each module covers a unique topic. Click each module to see what you’ll learn.

Program Orientation (1 Hour)

  • Identify the elements, expectations, and requirements of the program.
  • Navigate the program using the pages, menus, and buttons provided.
  • Use the program tools, including the study planner, gradebook, and completion report, and be able to contact CareerStep via phone, email, forums, chat rooms, and social media.
  • Identify and use program resources.

Working at a Pharmacy (3 Hours)

  • Identify industry basics as well as tools and trends of both retail and institutional pharmacy settings.
  • State the occupational conditions and expectations of pharmacy technicians and the differences between the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

Preparing for the Workforce (5 Hours)

  • Differentiate between registration, state licensure, and certification. Be able to state the differences between an externship and on-the-job training.
  • Compare and contrast the exams (PTCE and ExCPT) required to become nationally certified. State the requirements for continuing education and recertification.

Computer Fundamentals (7 Hours)

  • Identify basic computer hardware and interpret system requirements.
  • Navigate a Windows operating system environment and install and operate basic software utilities.
  • Use a web browser to navigate between websites in multiple tabs or windows, send and receive email, and access search engines to find information and troubleshoot basic computer problems.
  • Recognize basic technologies related to an office environment.

Medical Word Building (15 Hours)

  • Identify common medical prefixes, roots, and suffixes.
  • Identify and properly combine word parts to create medical terms.

Basic Anatomy (20 Hours)

  • Identify and describe the basic structure and functions of human body systems.
  • Identify and define basic anatomical terms related to the basic structure and function of human body systems.

Mastering Medical Language (23 Hours)

  • Pluralize common medical words.
  • Define common medical slang, jargon, and foreign terms.
  • Distinguish between common similar medical words and word parts.
  • Recognize common medical abbreviations and their meanings.

Pharmacology (55 Hours)

  • Distinguish between drugs of different classifications and their corresponding rules and regulations.
  • Distinguish between common medication dosage forms.
  • Distinguish between different topical, enteral, and parenteral administration routes and their corresponding methods and recommendations.
  • Properly identify common generic and brand name drugs and their basic functions from the following categories: cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, immune, pain management, psychological, central nervous system, respiratory, topical/ophthalmic/otic, chemotherapy, and alternative medications.
  • Use legitimate resources to find drug definitions, dosages, pronunciations, and other related information.

Pharmacy Law, Regulations, and Standards (15 Hours)

  • Identify and describe federal laws affecting pharmacy practice and controlled substances.
  • Identify and describe current pharmacy-related regulations and standards, including safety, accuracy, dispensing, and ethical behavior.
  • Distinguish between the five schedules of controlled substances.

Business of Pharmacy (17 Hours)

  • Describe proper customer service procedures related to professional communication, appearance, duties, and limits.
  • Describe and differentiate between prescription insurance plans, including Medicaid, Medicare Part D, and Workers’ Compensation. State the proper procedures for filing claims and accepting payment.
  • Identify procedures and regulations related to proper retail and institutional pharmacy inventory management, including purchasing, temperature-controlled storage, receiving, returns, and recalls.

Pharmacy Lab Kit (1 Hour)

  • Explain expectations and procedures for obtaining and using your lab kit.
  • Navigate and operate interactive simulation exercises.

Pharmacy Calculations (60 Hours)

  • Calculate fractions and decimals as well as convert numerals from Roman to Arabic.
  • Apply principles of algebra to solve an equation for an unknown variable x.
  • Recognize and convert metric system measurements.
  • Use knowledge of significant figures to estimate appropriate drug dosages.
  • Convert numbers between ratio/proportion, percent, and decimal format.
  • Calculate appropriate doses based on age, weight, and body surface area.
  • Convert measurements of weight, volume, and temperature between household, metric, avoirdupois, apothecary, and grains.
  • Calculate appropriate compounding measurements involving concentrations, dilutions, stock preparations, compound formulas, allegations, and aliquot measurements.
  • Calculate appropriate measurements for injectable and intravenous medications involving ratio strength, milliequivalents, units, solutions, powders, flow rates, drop sets, IV piggybacks, and pediatric parenterals.
  • Calculate appropriate values related to overhead, gross/net profit, discounts, wholesale prices, insurance reimbursements, inventory, and turnover rate.

Prescriptions (25 Hours)

  • List each component of creating and reviewing a patient profile.
  • Identify physiological and social causes of medical errors and list prevention methods.
  • Perform a proper check for the validity of a prescriber’s DEA number.
  • Verify the completeness of a prescription and interpret and process special types of prescriptions.

Nonsterile Compounding (30 Hours)

  • Differentiate between sterile and nonsterile compounding and identify the terminology, uses, requirements, regulations, and documentation of nonsterile compounding.
  • Define Good Compounding Practices (GCP) and list the 14 standards required by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) for both nonsterile (Chapter 795) and sterile (Chapter 797) compounding.
  • Identify pharmaceutical compounding equipment and its appropriate use, and be able to describe the techniques used in weighing, measuring, and mixing compounded drugs.
  • Identify the proper methods and ingredients for compounding solids, and compare and contrast the steps in the processes for compounding powders, capsules, lozenges, and suppositories.
  • Identify the proper methods and ingredients for compounding dispersions, and compare and contrast the steps in the processes for creating suspensions, ointments, creams, and gels.

Community Pharmacy Practice (35 Hours)

  • Define the responsibilities of a pharmacy technician in community pharmacy settings, including population health, common over-the-counter medication restrictions, common diabetes management supplies awareness, and Medicare Part B supplies.
  • Use pharmacy management software to enter patient data, process prescriptions refills, process third-party claims, process refill authorizations, verify cash pricing, and produce an audit log.

Institutional Pharmacy Practice (45 Hours)

  • Identify the unique organizational and functional elements of an institutional pharmacy. Name the roles and responsibilities of the following: Director of Pharmacy, Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T), Infection Control, and Institutional Review Board (IRB).
  • List the appropriate steps to prepare oral syringes; check and fill the medication cart, floor stock, and crash cart; and fill and record narcotic floor stock and the automated drug storage and dispensing system (ADSDSs).
  • Describe the elements of proper aseptic technique, including personal hygiene, garb, hand washing, USP 797 standards, environmental standards, LAFWs, and hood cleaning.
  • Identify sterile compounding terms and procedures related to ampules, vials, syringes, needles, parenteral solutions, and sterile powder drug vials.
  • Identify proper procedures for handling hazardous agents, including chemotherapy drugs and radiopharmaceuticals.

Externship Preparation (7 Hours)

  • Understand expectations and procedures for passing off the labs in the kit.
  • Apply and prepare for the pharmacy technician externship.

Virtual Pharmacy Labs (25 Hours)

  • Verify DEA numbers.
  • Dispense and report theft of controlled substances.
  • Follow protocol for drug recalls, expired drugs, and destruction of controlled substances.
  • Store, order, and receive medication.
  • Understand unit dose preparation.
  • Follow protocol for labeling mix-ups and incorrectly dispensed drugs, and differentiate between drugs that look and sound alike.
  • Explain the effects of stress and fatigue and violations in the workspace.
  • Use abbreviations and symbols accurately and timely.
  • Explain the effects of specific drug interactions.
  • Follow protocol with reporting drug problems.
  • Assist a variety of customers, such as non-English speaking.
  • Manage staff members with diverse perspectives and personalities.
  • Manage situations that require alternate drugs and exceptions.
  • Manage drug and supply inventory.
  • Explain requirements for compounding medications.

Final Exam Preparation (1 Hour)

  • Identify the steps to effectively prepare for and access the final exam.
  • Identify the format, restrictions, and policies of final exams, including scoring, retakes, allowed resources, and time limits.

Externship (130 Hours)

  • Effectively and professionally communicate and interact with coworkers and patients.
  • Demonstrate scientific and industrial knowledge of the pharmacy profession and the role of the pharmacy technician.
  • Assist the pharmacist with prescription screening and distribution, medication preparation, and maintaining pharmacy safety procedures.
  • Prepare medications requiring the compounding of sterile, non-sterile, or chemotherapy/hazardous products.
  • Perform purchasing and ordering of supplies, and understand reimbursement and billing for pharmacy services.
  • Demonstrate preparedness for emergency situations and assist the pharmacist in ensuring medication safety practices.
  • Describe the use of current technology in the healthcare environment to ensure the safety and accuracy of medication dispensing.
  • Identify the responsibility of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in ensuring regulatory compliance and maintaining patient privacy.
  • Apply quality assurance practices and follow protocol in the event of supply shortages and quality breaches.

Pharmacy Technician Certifications

The moment you successfully complete your pharmacy technician training you’ll be ready to get PTCB certified. Our program includes a free exam voucher to cover the cost of this pharmacy technician certification, a $129 value.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Exam

The most recognized and respected national certification. It validates your pharmacy technician skills and ensures patient and customer safety.

Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT)

You’ll also be prepared to pass this exam from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). However, your program does not include a free voucher for ExCPT certification