How to Become a Pharmacy Tech Without Going to Training School
You want to enter a challenging field with lots of potential for growth. You've heard that pharmacy tech is one such field. But you don't want to have to pay for school right now. Is becoming a pharmacy tech still an option? Under certain circumstances the answer is yes, as you'll discover if you read on.
States That Have No Formal Requirements for Pharmacy Techs
Some states in the US do not mandate that a pharmacy tech have any formal schooling or training before they can be hired. Other states will allow those without formal schooling to work as long as they register with a state board.
The good news (for some) is that if you live in Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Michigan, New York, or Pennsylvania, the only thing you need to do to work as a pharmacy tech is find someone to hire you.
Just because there are no formal schooling or certification requirements in these states does not mean you won't have to spend plenty of time learning, as you still must be proficient in all your duties before a pharmacist will feel confident enough to allow you to work without supervision.
The Advantages of On-the-Job Training
If you are hired by a smaller, independently owned pharmacy in one of the states I just mentioned, the chances are good that you'll get one-on-one hands on training from existing staff.
For some people this is a much better way to learn than sitting in a classroom or taking online tests as it offers an exciting, hands on introduction to the job that can be a lot more engaging.
Larger, chain pharmacies usually offer a more formal training program to their new pharmacy techs, one that is standardized nationwide. These are a little more like going to school, but you'll still get to experience the 'real life' working environment of a pharmacy sooner than those who head to school to study and for some that's a real plus.
These programs are normally offered as a part of your training at no additional cost, so working for one of these companies can be especially helpful, as you will receive a school quality training without having to go to school.
Working in States That Require Board of Health Certification
As I mentioned earlier, in some states in the US - Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Main, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia to be precise - no formal pharmacy tech training is required in order to be employed in the field, but you will have to register with the State Board of Health before beginning work.
In most of these states that registration involves proving that you are the proud owner of a high school diploma or GED, submitting proof of your identity and right to work in the state and paying a fee that can range from $30-$150. You won't usually be able to register until you have a formal job offer, but they will usually allow you to work while the registration is still pending.
Working in States That Require Formal Training
If you have yet to see me mention your home state, then that means that you live in a state that requires you undertake enough formal training as a pharmacy tech to pass an examination called the PTCE.
To pass the PTCE you do not have to have attended a formal training course, but it helps as it is not the easiest test to pass. There is even good news here though, for those who would prefer to avoid a formal classroom; there are lots of online resources available to help you gain the knowledge you must have to have a great shot at acing the exam and formally becoming eligible to be hired in your exciting new field.
Landing Your First Job as a Pharmacy Tech
The one downside to choosing not to enter a formal school or training program to become a pharmacy tech is that you may have to work harder to convince a potential employer that you have what it takes to become a great asset to their business and a help to their patients.
It's not cheap to train a pharmacy tech so almost any employer will want candidates to demonstrate they'll be able to handle the job even though they have not completed a formal training program or attended a school for pharmacy technician training.
What will you need to prove? That you are ready and willing to learn is a must. There is a lot more involved in the job of pharmacy tech than simply handing customers their prescriptions and smiling nicely. You will need to understand not just the drugs you will be working with but also health insurance rules and policies, HIPPA guidelines, how to bill prescriptions properly, what to do if a patient asks for advice and more.
In order to give yourself the best shot at landing the job take the time to make use of all the resources you can find online that offer a look into the day to day responsibilities of a pharmacy tech. This way you'll be able to impress an interviewer with your knowledge and demonstrate that you are already committed to working in the field, even if you have not attended a formal school or training program, all you need is the chance to develop those blossoming skills.
Becoming a Pharmacy Tech Without Formal Training: The Bottom Line
So now you know. It's possible to become a pharmacy tech without going to school. It's going to still take hard work and commitment to get into this rapidly growing field, but if you are up for the challenge a very satisfying - and very diverse - career may await you. The number of opportunities for pharmacy techs is growing, so if you are looking for a new challenge, this may be the right one for you!