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Online Pharmacy Technician Program (2024)

Pharmacy Technician

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Starting a career as a Pharmacy Technician is a promising move into the stable healthcare field. The demand for skilled Pharmacy Technicians is rising, prompting many schools to offer convenient online classes. This article covers what Pharmacy Technicians do, the availability and sources of online classes, and what these courses entail. By completing a pharmacy technician training program online, individuals can position themselves for pharmacy technician jobs. Apparently, becoming a certified pharmacy technician can lead to earning a good pharmacy technician salary.

Key Points

  • A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who assists pharmacists in preparing and dispensing medications, managing inventory, and providing customer service.
  • Pharmacy technician training can be completed online through various accredited programs.
  • The pharmacy technician schools renowned for their comprehensive online pharmacy technician programs include CareerStep, MedCerts, Penn Foster, Stepful, and US Career Institute.
  • It typically takes 9 months to 2 years to become a pharmacy technician, depending on the chosen program.
  • The average pharmacy technician salary per year is $40,300.

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What is a Pharmacy Technician?

A pharmacy technician is a healthcare professional who works under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Their primary responsibilities include preparing and dispensing prescription medications, maintaining accurate records, managing inventory, and providing excellent customer service. Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in ensuring the safe and efficient distribution of medications to patients.

Can Pharmacy Technician classes be done online?

Yes, it is possible to complete pharmacy technician classes online except in Missouri and Oklahoma. These states only require students to complete their training through an in-person or hybrid program.

Where to find online Pharmacy Technician classes?

Dreambound helps individuals find career-focused education. We have built a search engine that allows people to compare different class options across more than 80 career-focused educational programs. Our platform considers factors such as cost, program length, degree level, and more. Here's what some of our students had to say about their experience with Dreambound:

The whole thing was easy, and the customer service was great - they kept in touch throughout. — Oreoluwa Oyenuga

Dreambound made things so simple and easy! It was really handy and got the job done well! — Jamie Wilson

As we ensure that students receive quality education, here are some online pharmacy technician programs you can explore through Dreambound.

Comparing Online Pharmacy Technician Training Porgrams

The following schools are well-known for their comprehensive online pharmacy technician programs. This guide is designed to help prospective students choose the pharmacy technician school that best fits their educational and career goals.

CareerStep vs Penn Foster

Tuition: CareerStep charges $3,899, while Penn Foster offers several payment options:

  • Pay in Full: $1,399

  • Monthly Auto Pay Plan: $1,399 total, $59 per month, can start for $20 down, all major credit and debit cards accepted

  • Monthly Mail Pay Plan: $1,399 total, $59 per month, can start for $39 down, payments can be mailed

Length of Training: CareerStep provides 12 months of program access with clinical experience, whereas Penn Foster offers a fast track option completing in 13 months and an average duration of 17 months.

Graduation Rate: CareerStep boasts a 36% graduation rate, significantly higher than Penn Foster's 26.26%.

Financial Aid:

  • CareerStep: Offers a range of financial aid options including credit card payments, Affirm financing with no late fees, military discounts, employer-paid programs, state funding eligibility (such as Workforce Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, TAA funding), and flexible payment plans through Monterey Financial.
  • Penn Foster: While not accepting federal financial aid, Penn Foster provides affordable monthly payment plans with 0% interest, ensuring manageable financing options for students. Options include paying in full upfront or choosing between monthly auto pay and mail pay plans.

Requirements:

  • CareerStep: Requires applicants to have a GED or High School Diploma and be at least 18 years old to enroll.
  • Penn Foster: Allows enrollment at 17 but requires students to be 18 to complete the externship. Requires a High School Diploma/GED and access to a Windows-based computer running Windows 10 or later, ensuring students have necessary technology for program completion.

MedCerts vs CareerStep

Tuition: MedCerts has a higher tuition fee of $4,000 if paid in full or $346 per month on a monthly payment plan compared to CareerStep's tuition fee of $3,899.

Length of Training: MedCerts offers a training program that spans 25 weeks, focusing on comprehensive career preparation within a relatively short timeframe. In contrast, CareerStep provides 12 months of program access that includes clinical experience, allowing for a more extended period to absorb and apply learning.

Graduation Rate: MedCerts boasts a higher graduation rate of 82%, indicating superior student success and completion rates compared to CareerStep's graduation rate of 36%. This higher graduation rate at MedCerts suggests a supportive learning environment and effective program structure that promotes student achievement and completion.

Financial Aid:

  • MedCerts: provides robust financial aid options through government grant-funded programs like MyCAA, Army Credentialing Assistance, Coast Guard COOL, Air Force COOL, and Workforce Funding, which support military spouses and individuals seeking career educational opportunities. Their focus on affordability and accessibility is underscored by flexible payment plans and recognition of programs as MyCAA Approved, aligning with the needs of military families.
  • CareerStep: offers various financial aid avenues, including credit card payments for self-financing, Affirm financing with no late fees, penalties, or surprises, allowing payment over time, military discounts for veterans, current military personnel, and their spouses, and eligibility for state funding programs such as Workforce Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, and TAA funding. Their partnership with Monterey Financial ensures accessible financing solutions for learners with varying credit histories, supporting their commitment to career-focused education.

Requirements:

  • MedCerts: requires applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED, possess access to a web browser with internet connectivity, and successfully pass a background check.
  • CareerStep: mandates that applicants have either a GED or high school diploma, be at least 18 years old to enroll. Their focus on career-oriented education is supported by a high pass rate of 95% on National Healthcareer Association certification exams, reflecting their dedication to preparing graduates for successful healthcare careers.

Penn Foster vs US Career Institute

Tuition: Penn Foster offers a tuition fee of $1,399 for its programs, available through multiple payment options including Pay in Full, Monthly Auto Pay Plan starting at $20 down, and Monthly Mail Pay Plan starting at $39 down. In contrast, US Career Institute provides a lower tuition fee structure with Pay in Full costing $979 or a Payment Plan option at $1,279 ($69/month).

Length of Training: Penn Foster offers a Fast Track program completing in 13 months and an Average Time program taking 17 months. On the other hand, US Career Institute provides flexible training lengths ranging from 4 to 9 months, accommodating varied student schedules.

Graduation Rate: Penn Foster reports a graduation rate of 26.26%, while US Career Institute boasts a higher graduation rate of 73.95%. This indicates higher student success and completion rates at US Career Institute compared to Penn Foster.

Financial Aid: Penn Foster does not accept federal financial aid such as student loans or grants like the Pell Grant. However, it offers affordable monthly payment options with 0% interest. US Career Institute does not offer financial aid but provides an affordable monthly payment plan as an alternative to upfront tuition payments.

Requirements:

  • Penn Foster: mandates that students can begin their program at the age of 17, but they must be 18 years old by the time they complete their externship. The minimum educational requirement for enrollment is a High School Diploma or GED. Additionally, students need access to high-speed internet and must possess a Windows-based computer running Windows 10 or later, along with an active email account to complete their coursework effectively.

  • US Career Institute: requires prospective students to hold a high school diploma or GED to qualify for enrollment. Students are expected to have access to either a computer or a phone to facilitate their coursework, ensuring they can participate in and complete their program requirements effectively. This flexibility in technology access allows students to engage with course materials conveniently, supporting their educational journey.

Stepful vs US Career Institute

Tuition: Stepful charges a tuition fee of $1,449 for their Pharmacy Technician program, which is higher than US Career Institute's fee of $979 for full payment or $1,279 with a payment plan ($69/month).

Length of Training: Stepful offers 4 months of online training along with 130 clinical hours. In contrast, US Career Institute provides a training duration ranging from 4 to 9 months.

Graduation Rate: US Career Institute boasts a higher graduation rate of 73.95%, indicating higher student success and completion rates compared to Stepful, which does not specify its graduation rate.

Financial Aid: US Career Institute does not offer federal financial aid but provides an affordable monthly payment plan to help students manage tuition costs. On the other hand, Stepful offers various scholarships for their Pharmacy Technician program, including:

  • Stepful Scholarships: These scholarships vary in amount, with options like $550 available for qualified applicants. Eligibility requires a high school diploma or GED and residency in any state except Washington. Applicants can check eligibility instantly through a brief application process.
  • Walgreens: Offers up to $250 scholarships annually for pharmacy technician students who demonstrate financial need and are eligible to take the certification exam.
  • GoodRx Equity in Pharmacy Scholarship: Provides $5,000 to pharmacy technicians or students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, belonging to underrepresented populations in healthcare.
  • American Association of Pharmacy Technicians (AAPT) Scholarship: Varies based on certification and requires AAPT membership, enrollment in a pharmacy technician program, completion of 12 training hours, and a C grade or better.
  • USHP Technician Scholarships: Reimburse costs for pharmacy technician certification exams after passing, supporting advanced certifications.
  • Community College of Philadelphia Workforce Development Program Scholarships: Offers up to $6,000 for students enrolling in workforce development programs, including pharmacy technician training.

Requirements: Stepful requires applicants to have a high school diploma or GED, maintain a stable internet connection, pass a background check and drug test, and reside in specific eligible states to qualify for certain scholarships. US Career Institute mandates a high school diploma or GED and access to a computer or phone for coursework.

Highest-rated online Pharmacy Technician classes

CareerStep

  • Fully online; learn on your terms.
  • 12 months of access including PTCE/ExCPT certification preparation materials.
  • Accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) / Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)
  • Cost: $3,899 total
  • Not available for students in MA and WA.

Online Pharmacy Technician Programs with Financial Aid (for those who qualify)

CCI Training Center

  • Fully online; learn on your terms.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET)
  • Financial aid may be available for those who qualify.
  • Not available for students in all states.

Cheapest Online Pharmacy technician classes

Penn Foster

  • Self-paced, learning at your own schedule
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
  • Flexible payment plan options
  • Cost: <$2,400 for diploma, <$1,500 for Associate's. As low as $59/mo.
  • Not available in all states.

Pharmacy Technician course outline

While the specific course outline may vary between institutions, most online pharmacy technician programs cover the following core topics:

  • Pharmacology and medical terminology
  • Pharmacy law and ethics
  • Medication dispensing and inventory management
  • Pharmaceutical calculations
  • Pharmacy operations and customer service
  • Practical training or externship

Looking to study online? These resources have you covered:

Certification vs License

Certification and licensure are essential for pharmacy technicians to practice legally in most states. It's crucial to understand the difference between the two and the requirements specific to your state.

Certification

A certification is a voluntary credential that demonstrates a pharmacy technician's knowledge and skills in the field. It is typically obtained by passing a national exam administered by recognized certifying organizations, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), or the National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA).

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License

A license is a mandatory requirement in some states for individuals to work as pharmacy technicians. Licensing involves meeting specific educational and training requirements, as well as passing an exam regulated by the state's board of pharmacy.

Here's a breakdown of the states that require certification and licensure:

Alabama

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Alaska

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Arizona

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Arkansas

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

California

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Colorado

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Connecticut

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Delaware

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? No
  • Technician representation on board? No

Florida

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Georgia

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Hawaii

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? No
  • Technician representation on board? No

Idaho

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Illinois

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Indiana

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Iowa

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Kansas

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Kentucky

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Louisiana

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Maine

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Maryland

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Massachusetts

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Michigan

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Minnesota

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Mississippi

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Missouri

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Montana

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Nebraska

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Nevada

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

New Hampshire

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

New Jersey

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

New Mexico

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

New York

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? No
  • Technician representation on board? No

North Carolina

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

North Dakota

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Ohio

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Oklahoma

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Oregon

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Pennsylvania

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? No
  • Technician representation on board? No

Rhode Island

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

South Carolina

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

South Dakota

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Tennessee

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Texas

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Utah

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Vermont

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Virginia

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Washington

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

West Virginia

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Wisconsin

  • Certification required? No
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? No

Wyoming

  • Certification required? Yes
  • Registration or License required? Yes
  • Technician representation on board? Yes

Learn more about the Pharmacy Technician

How much does a pharmacy technician make?

The average pharmacy technician salary is $40,300 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2023. Salaries can vary widely, ranging from $32,000 to over $57,000 per year, influenced by factors such as location, experience, and employer.

What is the highest paying pharmacy technician job?

The highest paying pharmacy technician jobs are typically found in specialized fields like nuclear pharmacy or with government agencies, where salaries can exceed $50,000 per year, depending on experience and location.

Top-paying states for Pharmacy Technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying (annual mean wage) states for pharmacy technicians in the United States are:

  • California: $55,710
  • Alaska: $55,390
  • Washington: $54,030
  • Massachusetts: $50,440
  • Hawaii: $49,810

Which course is best for pharmacy technician?

The best course for pharmacy technicians is CareerStep’s comprehensive online program, which offers in-depth training, flexible learning options, and strong support to prepare students for certification and employment.

What is the best certificate for pharmacy technician?

The best certificate for pharmacy technicians is the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), as it is widely recognized and ensures high standards of knowledge and skills.

Where does a Pharmacy Technician work?

Pharmacy technicians can find employment in a variety of settings, including:

  • Community pharmacies (retail drug stores)
  • Hospital pharmacies
  • Clinics and healthcare facilities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Mail-order pharmacies

How to become a pharmacy technician?

To become a pharmacy technician, complete an accredited training program, such as those from CareerStep or Penn Foster, pass the certification exam from the PTCB or NHA, and meet any state-specific registration or licensure requirements.

How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?

It typically takes 9 months to 2 years to become a pharmacy technician, depending on the chosen training program and whether you pursue a certificate or an associate degree. After completing the program, you will need to pass the certification exam, such as the one offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and meet any additional state-specific requirements.

What comes after becoming a Pharmacy Technician?

After gaining experience as a pharmacy technician, there are several career advancement opportunities to explore:

  • Becoming a lead or senior pharmacy technician with increased responsibilities and supervision duties.
  • Pursuing further education to become a pharmacist.
  • Transitioning into related roles, such as pharmaceutical sales representative or pharmacy manager.
  • Specializing in areas like nuclear pharmacy, compounding, or medication therapy management.

Pharmacy Technician classes by city

If you prefer to explore local options for pharmacy technician classes, you can browse through this list or you can always search by zip code if your city is not listed.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a pharmacy technician through an online certification program is a convenient and flexible way to enter the field of pharmacy. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in this rewarding career. Remember to research and choose an accredited online program, complete the required coursework and training, prepare for the certification exam, and pass the exam to become a certified pharmacy technician.

Consider Dreambound as a valuable resource if you're thinking about getting started in this field. We've written many guides to help with the different parts of the certification process across the country:

Joanna Paragas
Written by
Joanna Paragas

Joanna Paragas is part of the Growth team at Dreambound. Her primary role involves creating various automation to streamline workflows and make tasks more efficient for the entire team. Beyond her professional endeavors, Joanna enjoys spending her free time playing with her dogs and enhancing her knowledge by enrolling in online courses.

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