Can You Become A Pharmacy Tech Without Going To School?

pharmacy-tech-without-school

In this article...

Considering a career as a pharmacy tech but confused about whether you’ll have to go back to school? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

In fact, many people wonder whether they’ll need to enroll in an educational program before finding their dream job in a pharmacy.

And until recently, it was pretty easy to become a pharmacy technician without going to school. You simply had to pass the PTCB exam to get accredited.

But since January 2020, things have changed a little…

What changed in January 2020?

From January 2020, candidates hoping to become PTCB certified pharmacy technicians must:

You still need to pass your PTCB exam – but now, you must complete either the education or work experience route before you’re eligible to sit it.

But don’t worry, pharmacy technician school doesn’t have to be scary. We’re going to break down everything you need to know, starting with how to find a suitable program:

How do I find a recognized training program? 

OK, so what’s the most important thing to look for in a training program? 

Great location? Good reviews from previous students?

Well, while these factors are undoubtedly important, they’re not the most important factor to consider. No, first you need to make sure that you choose a PTCB recognized course. 

You see, only PTCB recognized programs qualify you to take the PTCB exam.

Luckily, the PTCB website lists all of the approved courses here. Making it easy to ensure that you choose a valid program of study.

Now, while some people love the buzz of starting a new educational program, others are filled with dread at the idea of attending classes in person.

But is there an alternative? Let’s find out:

Can I train to be Pharmacy Tech online?

Introverts and people with busy schedules rejoice! You don’t have to attend school in person in order to qualify as a pharmacy tech. You can choose to study online instead.

In fact, there are lots of choices for students hoping to join a pharmacy tech program online. 

So, whether you choose to enroll at the American National UniversityAncora Education, or one of the many other institutions offering recognized programs online, you can study wherever is convenient to you.

OK, so you can study online if you prefer. But how long will it take you to complete your program?

How long does a Pharmacy Tech training program take?

How long it takes to train as a pharmacy technician varies widely depending on the program you choose.

In some institutions, you can complete your training in a matter of a few short months. In others, you are looking at closer to a year of study before you can sit your PTCB exam.

So, is it better to choose a longer or shorter training program?

Well, that depends on you!

Generally speaking, shorter courses are more intensive. This makes them ideal for students who have a lot of time to dedicate to their studies.

Longer courses, on the other hand, tend to require less work each week. This makes them perfect for candidates who already have busy schedules.

And don’t forget, you can use our free PTCB practice test to check whether you are ready for your exam.

But the length of your course is unlikely to be your only consideration at this point. You’re probably also wondering how much it all costs too, right?

How much does Pharmacy Tech training cost?

Well, like program length, the cost of your pharmacy tech course will vary depending on which program you choose.

However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $5,000 in tuition fees

Now, if you want to avoid taking out student loans, you might be wondering if there’s a way to learn as you earn and still gain accreditation? 

What are Pharmacy Tech apprenticeships?

In some larger pharmacies, such as Wallgreens and CVS, it is possible to combine work experience with a recognized training program.

This means that you can gain relevant experience as you study, and already have a job lined up for when you pass your PTCB exam! 

Now, we’ve covered lots of information for new pharmacy technicians. But what if you’ve already been working for a while?

What if I have already completed 500 hours of work experience?

OK, so you’ve been working in a pharmacy for a while. Sure you meant to book your PTCB exam, but you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Do you still have to complete a training program?

Well, the short answer is: “no”. If you already have 500 hours of work experience, you can go right ahead and book your test.

How do I prove I’ve completed 500 hours of work experience?

The PTCB doesn’t currently require that you submit any evidence in order to prove that you have obtained the minimum number of hours to take the PTCB test.

Instead, candidates are simply required to confirm that they have completed a minimum of 500 hours of work experience during the application process.

However, trust only goes so far!

 And that’s why the PTCB does reserve the right to audit any application, at any time, in order to check that the correct information has been provided.

Now, whether you are going back to school, completing an apprenticeship, or already have many hours of experience, you’ll need to pass your PTCB exam before you can become a certificated pharmacy technician.

So, how do you make sure you pass the test?

How do I make sure I pass my PTCB exam on my first attempt?

Passing the PTCB exam is no mean feat. In fact, the current national average pass rate is only 58%.

But don’t worry, we have just the thing to help.

Our PTCB Hero study guide helps you to pass your exam the first time. 

And with a 98% pass rate, you can be sure you’ll be satisfied, or your money back!

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones

Michelle is Medical Hero's in-house expert on the PTCB exam and pharmacy technician careers.