Best Online Pharmacy Technician Certification Programs Of 2024 (2024)

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Key Takeaways

  • Becoming a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) can boost your résumé and expand your job opportunities.
  • Many of these certificate programs are completely online, last up to 12 months and include 24/7 online support.
  • Pharmacy technicians earn a median annual salary of $40,300.

A lot goes on behind the scenes in a pharmacy. Beyond counting tablets and filling prescriptions, a pharmacy needs personnel to answer phones, address patient questions, perform inventory management, issue refunds, and process insurance claims.

That’s where pharmacy technicians come in. These professionals are the engine that keeps a pharmacy running smoothly. Under the supervision of a pharmacist, pharmacy technicians refill medications, package and label prescriptions, liaise with patients, and process insurance claims, among other tasks.

Demand for pharmacy technicians is rising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 6% growth rate through 2032, much faster than the 3% average across all occupations.

If becoming a pharmacy technician sounds like an exciting career path, you might consider earning a certification. Certification can expand your job opportunities, increase your earning potential and enhance your industry knowledge.

If you’d like to become a certified pharmacy technician from the comfort of your own home, read on. We’ve gathered the best online pharmacy technician certification programs of 2024.

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What Is Pharmacy Technician Certification?

The pharmacy technician certification demonstrates a pharmacy technician’s expertise in medication safety, patient care, pharmacy laws and other key elements of the profession.

Becoming a certified pharmacy technician is encouraged, if not required, by most employers. Certification proves that you’re a capable and knowledgeable employee, which leads to higher-paying roles.

Certification requirements typically involve completing a program that has been approved by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or accredited by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). To earn certification, you must complete program requirements and pass an exam.

Degree Finder

The two largest CPhT credential providers are PTCB and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). You’ll find the requirements for each of these exams below.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

To qualify for this certification, you’ll need to complete a PTCB-recognized training program in the last 60 days, or have at least 500 hours of pharmacy technician work experience. It costs $129 to apply for and take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam®.

National Healthcareer Association

You need a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for the NHA CPhT exam. NHA requires you to have completed a pharmacy training program within the past five years. Alternatively, you can demonstrate one year of work experience with at least 1,200 hours of supervised pharmacy work. The exam costs $125.

The Best PTCB-Recognized Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Explore accredited, nonprofit colleges that offer online CPhT training programs recognized by PTCB. We’ve listed these options in alphabetical order, not in order of rank.

PTCB’s list of recognized programs also includes for-profit colleges, private companies and other organizations. You can review all options on PTCB’s directory.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Total Cost: $3,573-$4,872
Program Length: 2 semesters
Program Overview: Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s pharmacy technician certificate program requires 16 to 21 credits. Major courses account for 15 credits, including an optional five-credit internship, while general education classes make up the remaining six.

By the end of the program, students will know how to calculate medical equations, adhere to ethical pharmaceutical practices, communicate with patients in multicultural contexts, and perform all pharmacy technician duties safely and effectively. Grads must earn a minimum “C” grade in each class.

Cincinnati State Workforce Development Center

Total Cost: $3,899
Program Length: Up to 12 months
Program Overview: Cincinnati State Workforce Development Center’s flexible pharmacy technician certificate is ideal for busy students. The 12-month curriculum is available completely online. Students have access to one-on-one support via live chat, phone and email. The certificate program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®.

Additionally, Cincinnati State Workforce Development Center partners with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy to offer externships nationwide, allowing students to learn by doing in professional pharmacy settings.

College of Western Idaho

Total Cost: $3,899
Program Length: 4-12 months
Program Overview: The online pharmacy technician certificate offered by the College of Western Idaho is self-paced, allowing students to complete the program in as little as four months.

Throughout the program, students learn how to measure and dispense medications, communicate with patients, and navigate pharmacy laws and ethics. They also gain practical experience by completing an externship at a local retail pharmacy.

Texas A&M International University

Total Cost: $2,995
Program Length: 12 months
Program Overview: Texas A&M International University’s online pharmacy technician program covers the fundamentals of pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacology, communication skills and pharmaceutical calculations. By the end of the program, students will be prepared to apply for a 100-hour pharmacy externship. Externship applicants must be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma.

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Total Cost: $1,800
Program Length: 164 hours
Program Overview: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center offers a 100% online, self-paced program. Students must complete the curriculum within 12 weeks of enrolling, but they retain access to the material for six months. Courses cover dosage calculations, medication safety, pharmaceutical terminology and cardiovascular medication.

Other Accredited Colleges Offering Online Pharmacy Technician Certification Programs

The following programs are offered through accredited schools, but they aren’t recognized by PTCB. However, they may fulfill requirements for NHA’s CPhT credential.

The City College of New York

Total Cost: $800
Program Length: 75 hours
Program Overview: The City College of New York’s online pharmacy technician certification covers topics such as pharmacy law, human anatomy and physiology, medical dosing and pharmacy management. The fully online coursework takes 75 hours to complete.

Community College of Philadelphia

Total Cost: $1,299
Program Length: 2-4 months
Program Overview: Students enrolled in the Community College of Philadelphia’s online pharmacy technician certification program earn their credential within two to four months. The program offers 24/7 access to on-demand support and an optional clinical externship opportunity.

The curriculum covers topics such as pharmacy terminology, reading and interpreting physician orders and prescriptions, pharmaceutical calculations, and insurance billing.

Ed2go

Total Cost: $2,995
Program Length: 12 months
Program Overview: Ed2go partners with various accredited colleges, including Texas Tech and several California State University schools, to offer its 400-hour online pharmacy technician certification. The self-paced program must be completed within 12 months.

The curriculum includes an online lab component that offers practical experience in processing orders and filling prescriptions. Students also learn medication storage guidelines, proper medication handling, and pharmacy regulations and standards.

Note that this program doesn’t meet requirements for students planning to work in Utah, Washington, North Dakota, Virginia or West Virginia.

Purdue University

Total Cost: $860
Program Length: 16 weeks
Program Overview: Purdue University’s asynchronous pharmacy technician program lasts 16 weeks. By the end of the program, students will understand the federal requirements to process prescriptions and safely dispose of medications. The program also covers safety procedures, quality assurance, reverse distribution, and the top drugs and dietary supplements.

Current and previous pharmacy managers deliver the curriculum through live webinar sessions, homework assignments, interactive quizzes and assessments.

San Francisco State University

Total Cost: $1,499
Program Length: 6 months
Program Overview: Students enrolled in San Francisco State University’s online pharmacy technician program have access to 24/7 mentoring, interactive learning modules, labs and a career resource portal. The program includes an 80-hour clinical externship.

The courses cover dose conversions, handling sterile products, dispensing prescriptions, billing and inventory control. The self-paced curriculum must be completed within six months. Students near San Francisco have the option to complete this certificate in a hybrid format.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Pharmacy Technician Certification Online Training

Is the pharmacy tech test hard?

The PTCB certified pharmacy technician exam has a pass rate of around 69%. Your individual difficulty level depends on how thoroughly you prepare for the exam and whether you study through an official training program.

How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?

It depends on whether you become certified. Most certifications take up to a year to complete, though some self-paced programs can be completed in just a couple of months.

How much do certified pharmacy techs make?

According to the BLS, pharmacy technicians earn a median annual salary of $40,300. In comparison, the national median wage was $48,060 for all occupations in May 2023.

How do I become a pharmacy tech?

You can become a pharmacy technician with a high school diploma. However, earning a certification can increase your earning potential and expand your job opportunities.

Best Online Pharmacy Technician Certification Programs Of 2024 (2024)

FAQs

What is the best online school for pharmacy technicians? ›

6 Best Pharmacy Tech Schools for an Online Associate Degree
  • Ultimate Medical Academy. ...
  • State Fair Community College. ...
  • Barton Community College. ...
  • Allen County Community College. ...
  • North Dakota State College of Science. ...
  • Quinsigamond Community College.

What two certification exams for pharmacy technicians are available in the US? ›

Pharmacy Technician Certification Options
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) ...
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) – ExCPT exam.

What is the difference between 123CPhT and 100CPhT? ›

123CPhT was designed based on that feedback and with the latest version of the PTCB Exam in mind. 123CPhT has been specifically designed to teach you exactly how to pass the current PTCE. While 100CPhT boasts a high pass rate on the PTCB Exam, 123CPhT has an incredible 88% PTCB Pass Rate.

Which certification examination for pharmacy technicians is accepted in all 50 states? ›

PTCB Certification is accepted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhTs) work across the US in a wide range of pharmacy practice settings.

Which pharmacy tech certification is best? ›

The PTCB CPhT Certification is the technician credential pharmacists trust. With the CPhT credential, technicians demonstrate their knowledge and commitment in medication safety and effective patient care across pharmacy settings. Employers prefer, and many require, their pharmacy technicians to be PTCB CPhTs.

What is the easiest pharmacy school to get into? ›

Some of the easiest pharmacy schools to get into include Health Sciences and Pharmacy at St. Louis, with an acceptance rate of 86%, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (91%), and North Dakota State University College of Pharmacy (96%).

Which two organizations offer pharmacy technician certification in the US? ›

There are two primary organizations that provide pharmacy tech certification; the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Both are certified by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and are recognized in all 50 states.

Is the PTCB exam hard? ›

The pharmacy technician exam can be challenging, so completing a preparation course is highly recommended. The pass rate for the pharmacy technician certification exam is 71%.

How much does a certified pharmacy technician make in the US? ›

How much does a Pharmacy Technician make in USA? The average pharmacy technician salary in the USA is $39,006 per year or $18.75 per hour. Entry level positions start at $33,666 per year while most experienced workers make up to $52,672 per year.

Is RxTechExam real? ›

RxTechExam is a premier Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Recognized Educator. We prepare individuals to pass the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) through our self-paced online course.

Is PTCB the same as CPhT? ›

By earning your PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) Certification, you will be valued by pharmacy employers to perform a variety of tasks to support pharmacists and patients. Employers prefer, and many require, their pharmacy technicians be PTCB CPhTs.

What state has the highest number of certified pharmacy technicians? ›

According to the BLS, the top five states in terms of the highest number of employed pharmacy technicians (as of May 2013) are:
  • California: 31,750 pharmacy technicians.
  • Texas: 28,910 pharmacy technicians.
  • Florida: 24,700 pharmacy technicians.
  • Illinois: 18,510 pharmacy technicians.
  • New York: 16,770 pharmacy technicians.

What's the difference between PTCB and ExCPT? ›

When comparing ExCPT and PTCB, there are a few notable distinctions to consider. The PTCB exam lasts for 2 hours, consisting of 90 questions, while the ExCPT exam extends to 2 hours and 10 minutes with 100 questions. These variances highlight the differing lengths and question quantities between the two exams.

Which course is best for pharmacy technician? ›

Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician

The Pharmacy Technician program consists of both classroom and clinical education and provides students with the skills and knowledge they need to qualify for entry-level positions in retail and chain, hospital, and mail-order pharmacies.

How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician in California? ›

Completing at least 240 hours of coursework that meets the requirements that Title 16 California Code of Regulation section 1793.6(c) specifies. Completing a training course with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)

What is the best state to work as a pharmacy technician? ›

The Highest-Paying States for Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technician pay varies by state. California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia are the top-ranked states for pharmacy technician salaries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Is Penn Foster pharmacy tech program accredited? ›

Penn Foster's training program meets the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)/Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) requirements for accreditation. This accreditation is the national standard for pharmacy technician training programs, and is viewed favorably or required by employers.

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