Step 1: Apply for a Post Secondary Education Program (Optional)
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is the accrediting body for pharmacy technician programs. ASHP-certified programs are available at many community colleges and vocational schools. Most certificate programs can be completed within a year or less, while associate degree programs typically take two years to complete.
Step 2: Complete On the Job Training
Most programs allow students to gain clinical experience during their training. Depending on state laws, students may also choose to gain on-the-job training without enrolling in a postsecondary education program. Clinical experience may take the form of a structured training program at a retail drugstore that has partnered with the school. Another option is to complete hands-on training at an approved pharmacy or medical center.
Step 3: Become Certified
Some states require pharmacy technicians to become certified. Even in states where certification is not required, most employers will only hire pharmacy techs who are certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).The PTCB requires applicants to pass an exam, while the NHA requires students to complete a training program or have at least one year of experience working as a technician. Both organizations require applicants to have a high school diploma.
Step 4: Become Specialized
Some pharmacy technicians choose to work exclusively for a retail drugstore chain and will complete specialized training to serve as a general pharmacy technician, community pharmacy technician or central pharmacy operations technician, or in a similar role.