Most jobs in the medical field can be acquired through post-secondary schooling, but to become a pharmacy tech, you don’t have to necessarily attend vocational school or college.
This job is easier to start than many other careers in healthcare.
Through it, you can quickly start a career in the medical field or use it as a stepping stone to another role.
Below, you will find the information on how you can become a pharmacy technician without formal training.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacy Tech
- 2 Training Programs
- 3 Certification
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacy Tech
Often, you only need a high school diploma or an equivalent to become a pharmacy technician.
You can receive on-the-job training instead of formal training to learn your duties as a pharmacy tech.
It will vary depending on the workplace.
Still, a high school diploma or GED is not always enough.
In some states, you need to obtain a pharmacy technician certification and work for some employers.
However, you don’t have to necessarily go to school to acquire the certification.
To find out if you need training and certification for this job, you should check the requirements of your state.
Also, you should check the requirements of certain employers and consider which qualifications you need to stay ahead of the competition.
Even if you take some pharmacy technician training, the level of resources and commitment is different from completing a college or advanced education.
It is not mandatory, though, to complete a training program through a vocational school or community college.
Instead, you can learn through a training program at a pharmacy.
Pharmacy technician programs are offered by major pharmacy retailers such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
The programs can vary by company.
CVS has on-the-job training for a pharmacy technician, and Walgreens holds Walgreens University.
They provide a pharmacy tech program and a path to certification through PTCB.
The pharmacy tech program of Rite Aids combines workbook exercises and courses with hands-on training in stores.
Other pharmacies also offer training programs, for example, small chains or independent pharmacies.
If you can’t physically go to school but have time to dedicate to studies, you can take online training with hands-on training in a pharmacy.
For example, you can take a program through the CareerStep Online Training solutions, which offers internships with Walgreens or CVS.
If you don’t want to take any training, you can obtain a certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
This option doesn’t require schooling at the moment.
Instead, you need to pass an examination.
However, the Board is changing the requirements in 2020, and they will include a PTCB-recognized education or training program or work experience.
To obtain this certification, you need a high school diploma or GED, as well as disclosure of criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration.
Alternatively, licensure actions, a passed examination, and compliance with certification policies may be required.
The examination for Pharmacy Technician Certification costs $129.
To obtain the Pharmacy Technician Certification (CPhT) from the National Healthcareer Association, you need to complete a training program additionally to a high school degree or GED.
However, training may be substituted by one year of work experience.
This exam costs $117.
You can start as a pharmacy technician without a formal training program.
Instead, you can acquire certifications or get training at a pharmacy.
To determine your path to a pharmacy tech job, check the requirements of your state and recommendations of potential employers.
If you check in with a pharmacy concerning their training program, you may find that the path to a new career can be easier and faster than you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you self study to become a pharmacy technician?
It is possible to study for yourself and then pass the national pharmacy tech exam.
The requirement is to pass that test, regardless of how you got there.
Most people do it by going to school, but there are online programs, and you could teach yourself at least in theory.
Is the pharmacy technician exam hard?
The pharmacy tech test is considered difficult.
Anything related to medicine is tough to learn, whether it is human or animal.
According to national statistics, 72 percent of students pass the test.
Before 2000 it was 80 percent.
The percentage went down between 2013 and 2019 but is now back in the 70s.
Can I pass the PTCB without studying?
If you are a genius, you might pass the PTCB test without studying, but even that would be unlikely.
This is a hard test involving a lot of medical subjects, so you would have to study to pass it.
Even with studying, 30 percent of those taking the test still do not pass.
How many math questions are on the PTCB exam?
There are likely 30 math questions on the PTCB test.
There are a total of 90 questions, and a third of them relate to math in some way.
Some students feel there are fewer and some say there are more math-related questions.
Can you use a calculator on the PTCB?
There is a simple calculator built into the test, and the math questions asked are not complicated.
You may not use your own calculator while taking the test.
However, if there is one available at the test center, you may use it.
How long is the PTCB certification valid for?
The PTCB certification lasts for two years.
Regardless of when you got it, all registrations expire on the last day of October, so it could be a few months longer or shorter.
You may start renewing in mid-September.
There are also refresher courses required along the way.