Pharmacy tech looking into microscope

How to Become a Pharmacy Tech & How Long It Takes

Do you picture yourself working in a pharmacy and helping patients in the healthcare field? If so, then a career as a pharmacy tech may be a good place to start. In as little as 12 weeks, you can launch a career as a certified pharmacy technician and start working, even while pursuing additional training in healthcare.

Not only is this career path ideal for individuals passionate about the medical field and helping others, but it also presents promising opportunities in a growing field. With an expected job growth of 6%, higher than the average, opportunities in this area are frequently available. This guide will provide you with the necessary steps on how to become a pharmacy technician, opening doors to these rewarding job opportunities.

What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?

Pharmacists, with their advanced training, play a crucial role in safely dispensing medications as prescribed by doctors. However, the smooth operation of a pharmacy also relies on several other professionals. Among these professionals are pharmacy technicians. These technicians are responsible for accurately measuring medications and assisting customers at the counter. They communicate with issuance providers and physicians’ offices to ensure patients get the right medications. Additionally, they maintain the organization of the pharmacy, enhancing the quality of service for patients. While they perform many tasks similar to pharmacists, they defer to pharmacists for specific inquiries about medications and their interactions.

Steps to Becoming a Pharmacy Technician

Pursuing a career as a pharmacy tech offers a valuable entry into the world of pharmacy services. For some, it represents a rewarding career in its own right, while for others, it serves as a foundational step towards a more extensive pharmacy career. In either case, acquiring the right training is crucial in learning how to become a pharmacy tech. Here are the steps you will need to follow.

1. Find a Pharmacy Technician Program

The first step in becoming a pharmacy technician is enrolling in an accredited training program. This will give you the education you need to understand the role of a pharmacy tech and pass the necessary examinations.

Many aspiring pharmacy technicians pursue an associate degree in the field. This degree not only thoroughly prepares them for pharmacy technician duties but also offers a broad range of courses useful for various future career paths. These credits can transfer into a bachelor’s program should the student decide to pursue additional education in the future.

Another option is to pursue an accelerated pharmacy technician training program. Advanced eClinical Training has a convenient online pharmacy technician certification program that can get you started on this path so you’ll gain the necessary education for this career. This program offers a 12-week, self-paced option to get the necessary certification in pharmacy technician work so you can start working even while pursuing additional medical training or an associate degree. Through partnerships with Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, this program also provides hands-on education in pharmacies across the nation.

2. Get Qualified to Take the PTCB Certification Exam

Beyond your training and certification, gaining clinical experience in the medical field can be highly beneficial. This exposure to various healthcare settings will deepen your understanding of the pharmacy tech role within the broader medical context. Opportunities to shadow doctors and pharmacists, engage in volunteer work, or take on entry-level healthcare positions can be invaluable. Advanced eClinical Training provides a flexible program tailored to help you acquire these essential skills and experiences.

3. Take the PTCB Certification Exam

Once you have the right experience and background education, the next step is to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam. The PTCB exam is required in many states for someone to work as a pharmacy technician. Employers in states that don’t require it also often want to see this certification test. Taking it will ensure you can work anywhere that you want to work.

The PTCB test is an in-person exam. Candidates apply and pay online, then report to the testing center at the designated time to take the test. Once you pass, you will be a certified pharmacy tech and can begin looking for work.

4. Start Looking for Work

The only credential for working as a pharmacy technician is passing the examination, so at this point, you can start looking for work. Entry-level roles are available at most hospital and pharmacy systems. Having clinical experience in addition to your certification may open the door to higher-paid positions beyond entry-level programs.

You’ll need to keep your certification up as you move forward in your career. Continued education ensures you know about new medications or discoveries in pharmaceuticals. You will need to prove your continued education in order to keep up your pharmacy technician certification, which needs to be renewed every two years. 

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

The duration of your training to become a pharmacy tech varies, ranging from as little as 12 weeks to up to two years, depending on whether you pursue an associate’s degree. With Advanced eClinical Training’s streamlined approach, you can complete your education in just 12 weeks. Following this, you’ll need to schedule and take the certification exam, which may extend the timeline slightly based on the availability of test dates.

Looking to advance your career with a pharmacy technician certification? Advanced eClinical Training offers the perfect starting point. Enroll now in our online program and start transforming your future today!

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