I once got the chance to enter a pharmacy depot and was intrigued by the number of different medications found in that place. Over 200, to be exact. I was like, who manages all this stuff? They all looked like ibuprofen to untrained eyes like mine. But pharmacy technicians know it all.
After finishing high school or a diploma, you are eligible to apply across various institutions in the states; for the Pharmacy Technician Program. Once you complete the program, pass the PTCB exam, and you are ready!
In this article, we will discuss the easiest way you can become a pharmacy technician.
What’s the Easiest Way To Become a Pharmacy Technician?
The fastest way to become a pharmacy technician is by enrolling in a Pharmacy Technician Program from your local institution.
When I was searching for such programs, it was interesting to find some colleges offering courses that can be completed within just nine months after joining.
There are several entry requirements that you need to meet before you can enroll. I’m listing some of them:
- Aged 18 or above.
- And should have completed high school.
- Sometimes pass a skills test with the college that tests you on Math, English, or other core science-related subjects.
- Prove that you’re legally allowed to stay in the US.
- Pass a drug test and background verification process.
It’s easy to become eligible and apply, but there is also something important you should be mindful of; I will mention this in the next section. It just makes more sense that way!
But as of now, some of the programs give you great flexibility on when you want to attend them. Like attending classes in the day/ evening or full-time/part-time. The day/full-time programs are the fastest if you want to get things rolling fast.
And an approximate tuition fee for these programs hovers around $15,000 in total.
You Have Completed the Educational Program — Now What?
Good job! But things don’t end there. Before you can get on job boards to apply for listings, know that many employers prefer their pharmacy technicians to be PTCB certified.
To earn this certification, you must pass the Pharmacy Technicians Certification Exam (PTCE), which comes under the Pharmacy Technicians Certification Board (PTCB).
The board offers two pathways to earn their certification:
- To be eligible for the first pathway, you must graduate from a PTCB-recognized training program. There are over 1000 such programs across the states; you can find the list here.
- To be eligible for the second pathway, you must be an experienced pharmacy technician with a minimum of 500 hours of on-duty service.
It is interesting to note that the second pathway is preferred if you didn’t enroll in PTCB-approved programs from the directory I shared above. So, keep an eye out when choosing the institution to study (very important).
The other eligibility requirements for the PTCB exam are easy to meet, and you should be able to qualify if you can pass the main pharmacy technician program.
About the PTCB exam:
- It’s a computer exam that happens in a test center, and it has 90 multiple-choice questions.
- The exam duration is around 2 hours.
- Once you complete the exam, your preliminary results will be shown to you. Your final results will be posted within your PTCB account after two to three of the exam.
If you like to get a feel of the PTCB exam, please feel free to try our PTCB Practice Test and put your skills to the test. And if you need help with exam preparations, I’m inviting you to check our PTCB comprehensive study guide. Great results are guaranteed!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most searched questions about pharmacy technicians:
What’s the salary of pharmacy technicians?
Given the financial investments required, it’s easy to understand this gets asked around a lot, but here it goes: as a pharmacy technician, you can hope to make anywhere between $30,000 to $45,000 per year.
The national average in the United States is around $37,000 per year, which translates to $20 per hour.
Several important factors can swing your salaries towards the higher and lower end. Location is the single most important factor, followed closely by your experience in the pharmacy sector.
Is being a pharmacy technician hard?
I’m not gonna lie and will be completely transparent in this section. There are very few jobs in the medical industry that are “easy.”
When people’s lives are at stake, you are expected to deliver the best, and failing to do so can result in the worst outcomes for the patient.
As a pharmacy technician, you will be spending most of your days:
- Dealing with medications and ensuring patients receive appropriate packages for their prescriptions.
- Assisting pharmacists whenever needed.
- Meticulously take note of all the patient information, and there will be rush hours. And not all the patients will be pleasant to deal with.
You will work on all the mentioned points and will be expected to bring your pharmaceutical expertise to the table at all times.
Yet, it’s not all gloomy; some feel alive and thrive in such environments, and I have seen them up close. So cheer up!
Complete your high school diploma. Look at the requirements for the institutions you’re applying for and make sure they are PTCB-approved programs. Successfully graduate from the program and prepare for the PTCB exam. Ace the exam, and you’re ready to enter the pharmacy industry.