Comprehensive Guide to the Pharmacy Technician Career

If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, there is good news. Several states have no official requirements for pharmacy technicians. Ohio is one, and there are a couple of others. If you can get hired by a pharmacy, and do on the job training, you are all set.

Other states, however, (like California, Georgia and Texas) require that you get certified before you can begin working. Don’t worry, though. The process is fairly simple and inexpensive. You can easily finish it in less than one year. Some people complete their programs in a little as seven months!

Pharmacy Technician Certification....the Two Exams

There are two exams that you can take to get certified, the Examination for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). They’re offered by nationally accredited organizations, and you can take them year-round at official testing centers.

The ExCPT costs $105, and the PTCE costs only slightly more at $129. Best of all, because these are computerized exams, you can find out whether you passed on the same day that you take the exam. And if you don’t pass on the first try, there’s no waiting period to take the exam again. You can do it as soon as you’re ready.

There are two exams that you can take to get certified, the Examination for Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). They’re offered by nationally accredited organizations, and you can take them year-round at official testing centers.

The ExCPT costs $105, and the PTCE costs only slightly more at $129. Best of all, because these are computerized exams, you can find out whether you passed on the same day that you take the exam. And if you don’t pass on the first try, there’s no waiting period to take the exam again. You can do it as soon as you’re ready.

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Pharmacy Technician Certification....How to Prepare

Some people just buy exam preparation books and study on their own before they begin the exam. If you check out online forums for pharmacy technicians, you can see commenters who claim that they passed on their first try after studying for just a few days. This is a risky move, though.

That’s why most professionals recommend that instead of going it alone, you complete a training program for pharmacy technicians before you attempt the test.

Odds are, the university or community college nearest to you offers some kind of training program for hopeful pharmacy technicians. You don’t need a four year degree for this career, though. You don’t even need an associate’s degree. All you need is enough training to get certified. Two semesters of courses are generally enough for this.

If you want to take a pharmacy training program at a college or university, you will need to apply to that school. The requirements usually aren’t as stringent as they are to get into the main university.

Most programs only require that you have a high school degree (a GED counts, too) and basic math abilities. If you passed Algebra I in high school, you should be good, although the programs are math-heavy, so you might want to review the basic skills.

Pharmacy Technician.... On the Job Training

All good training programs should include an internship. This allows you to spend a few weeks working at a pharmacy, learning what your future responsibilities will be.

This is where the official training programs come in handy, because if you can show employers that you have completed an internship; this gives you a huge boost when it comes time for you to apply for a job.

After the internship, all you need to do is pass one of the exams mentioned above, and then your job search can begin!

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Get information on Pharmacy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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  • Updated September 10, 2020
  • Career