Do You Need a Degree to Be a Pharmacy Technician?

Considering a career as a pharmacy technician? You may be wondering if you need a degree to get started in this field. The answer is no – you do not need a degree to be a pharmacy technician!

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The Basics of the Profession

A pharmacy technician is a person who works in a pharmacy and assists the pharmacist in various tasks related to the preparation and distribution of medications. A pharmacy technician does not need a degree to work in most pharmacies, but some employers may prefer to hire candidates who have completed a formal training program.

What pharmacy technicians do

Pharmacy technicians are responsible for a wide range of activities in the pharmacy. They may help the pharmacist dispense prescription medication, maintain records, counsel patients on the proper use of their medications, and perform other administrative tasks. Typically, pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist in a retail or hospital setting. Some states require pharmacy technicians to be certified; however, certification is not always necessary to find employment.

While most pharmacy technicians receive on-the-job training, some states require formal education and/or certification. Formal education programs for pharmacy technicians typically last one year or less and lead to a certificate or diploma. These programs are available at community colleges, technical schools, and hospitals. A few colleges offer two-year associate degree programs in pharmacy technology. These programs combine classroom study with hands-on training in a hospital or retail setting.

The skills needed to be a pharmacy technician

A pharmacy technician is an allied health professional who works closely with a licensed pharmacist in a variety of settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics. pharmacy technicians typically help fill prescriptions, answer customer questions, and keep the pharmacy organized and running smoothly.

While no formal education is required to become a pharmacy technician, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a pharmacy technician program from an accredited school. These programs typically take one to two years to complete and include both classroom instruction and hands-on experience in a real-world setting.

In addition to completing a formal education program, prospective pharmacy technicians must also pass a national certification exam. Once certified, pharmacy technicians must keep their skills up-to-date by completing continuing education credits on a regular basis.

The Education Required

Though pharmacy technicians don’t need a degree, they do need to complete a postsecondary education program. These are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools. The program will last anywhere from one to two years, and it will include both classroom and laboratory work. After completing the program, students will need to pass a nationally recognized exam in order to become certified.

Pharmacy technician programs

In order to become a pharmacy technician, you will need to complete a pharmacy technician program. These programs are typically offered at community colleges and take between six months and one year to complete. During your training, you will learn about the different medication types, their uses, and how to dispense them. You will also learn about the different roles that pharmacy technicians play in the healthcare system. Once you have completed your training, you will be eligible to take the national certification exam.

On-the-job training

While some employers may require that you have a high school diploma or GED, most will provide on-the-job training. Once you are hired, you will likely go through a training period, which may last up to several months, in which you will learn the basic skills and knowledge needed to perform your job. During this time, you will be paid a training wage, which is usually lower than the hourly rate paid to experienced pharmacy technicians.


Although most employers prefer pharmacy technicians to have completed a formal education and training program, it is not always a requirement. Some states allow candidates to become certified without completing an educational program. In addition, some employers may offer on-the-job training for candidates with the right skillsets.

Certification requirements

There are no formal education requirements to become a pharmacy technician, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many community colleges and technical schools offer pharmacy technician programs that last anywhere from a few months to a year. These programs usually combine classroom instruction with hands-on experience in a pharmacy setting. Some states require pharmacy technicians to be certified, and certification can also make you more attractive to employers.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential. To be eligible for the exam, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program, and pass a background check. Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll need to renew your certification every two years by completing 20 hours of continuing education and passing a recertification exam.

If you’re already working as a pharmacy technician and don’t have formal education or certification, you may be able to get by with on-the-job training. However, this will likely limit your career advancement opportunities, so pursuing formal training is generally a good idea.

The benefits of certification

Many pharmacy technicians choose to pursue certification in order to improve their career prospects and earn a higher salary. Certification can also make you eligible for promotions and other opportunities within your company.

There are several benefits to becoming certified as a pharmacy technician:

-You will have a wider range of job opportunities available to you.
-You will be able to command a higher salary.
-You will have the opportunity to pursue promotions and other advancement within your company.
-You will be able to provide better customer service and patient care.
-You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have met the standards of excellence in your field.

The Bottom Line

In short, no – you don’t need a degree to work as a pharmacy technician. Although some employers may prefer or require applicants to have an Associate’s degree, the majority of pharmacy technician jobs only require a high school diploma or equivalent.

That being said, completing a pharmacy technician training program – either at a vocational school, community college, or online – can give you the skills and knowledge you need to excel in this career. Plus, many employers prefer or require candidates to have completed a formal training program.

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