Pharmacy technician training programs provide the skills needed to access rewarding careers in healthcare that do not require a four-year college degree. This guide reviews the best online pharmacy technician training programs, providing information on common admission requirements, coursework, and program types.

Earning a pharmacy technician associate degree or pharmacy technician certificate can qualify you for a job as a pharmacy technician. Pharmacy technicians earn a median annual salary of $32,700 in the U.S. In some states and metropolitan areas, pharmacy techs can earn $40,000 or more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for pharmacy technicians is projected to increase by 7% from 2018 to 2018 — faster than the rate of growth for the average occupation.

Top Five Online Pharmacy Technician Associate Programs:

Rank School Location
1 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
2 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO
3 Casper College Casper, WY
4 Central Piedmont Community College Charlotte, NC
5 Vincennes University Vincennes, IN

Top Five Online Pharmacy Technician Certificate Programs:

Rank School Location
1 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND
2 Lakeshore Technical College Cleveland, WI
3 University of Alaska Anchorage Anchorage, AK
4 Barton County Community College Great Bend, KS
5 Southwestern Oregon Community College Coos Bay, OR
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2020 Best Accredited Online Pharmacy Technician Associate Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

North Dakota State College of Science

Wahpeton, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

NDSCS is a public institution with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The school offers an associate-level pharmacy technician degree. Students in this program learn the technical and management skills needed to obtain entry-level careers in pharmacy-related industries.

Learners complete this program in a face-to-face or hybrid format. Associate degree-seekers complete at least 68 credits. Required courses include pharmacy practice, pharmaceutical calculations, a chemical/physical pharmacy lab, and on orientation to pharmacy practice. In most cases, associate students complete the program in two years.

Prospective students must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate and be at least 18 years old. Applications must include official ACT scores or approved placement testing results and high school transcripts.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technician, Associate of Applied Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $137/credit in-state
Credit Requirements: 68 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: In-person or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: ACT or approved placement exams

Contact

Phone: (701) 671-2347
Email: ndscs.distance.ed@ndscs.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

State Fair Community College

Sedalia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

Located in Sedalia, Missouri, SFCC holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers remote students an online associate of applied science in healthcare specialist with a pharmacy technician emphasis.

Associate degree-seekers need 61.5 credit hours to graduate. Required courses include microbiology, microcomputer applications, human physiology labs, and sociology. This degree also requires some general education courses in public speaking, business communication, U.S. history, and American government.

Using the Canvas learning system, students complete coursework entirely online and finish clinicals in person at approved facilities. Distance learners gain access to the school's academic advising and career services, full-text library access, academic and personal counseling, and tutoring services.


Program Overview

Program Name: Associate of Applied Science in Healthcare Specialist With Emphasis in Pharmacy Technician
School Status: Public
Tuition: $170/credit in-state; $230/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 61.5 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online with in-person clinicals

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: ACT, ACT Compass, or ACCUPLACER

Contact

Phone: (660) 530-5833
Email: admissions@sfccmo.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Casper College

Casper, WY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

Casper holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its catalog includes an online associate of science in pharmacy technology program. Most degree-seekers take 15-17 credits per semester and finish their degrees in two years.

Remote learners must complete at least 60 credits for graduation. Required courses include medical terminology, pharmacy calculations, pharmacy experiential training, and pharmacy law and ethics.

Prospective learners must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. Competitive applicants need a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and a "C" or better in certain prerequisite classes. Before pharmacy students can participate in clinical experiences, they must pass a background check and a drug test.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technician, Associate of Applied Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $135/credit in-state; $333/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: ACT for students out of high school more than two years

Contact

Phone: (307) 268-2100
Email: admissions@caspercollege.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Central Piedmont Community College

Charlotte, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 18%

Located in Matthews, North Carolina, CPCC is a public institution that holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Learners at CPCC can pursue the college's associate of applied science in pharmacy technology.

Major courses include hospital pharmacy, professional issues, a survey of medical terminology, and sterile products. Degree-seekers need at least 74 credits to graduate. Pharmacy students must earn a "C" or higher in required major courses to remain in good standing.

Learners interested in this pharmacy technician associate degree need to submit their high school transcripts and a separate pharmacy technology application form. The program accepts up to 24 students per year. Especially competitive applicants should have already completed general education courses, as outlined on CPCC's pre admission guide.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technician, Associate of Applied Science
School Status: Public
Tuition: $77/credit in-state; $271/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 74-75 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Contact

Phone: (704) 330-6432
Email: karen.garner@cpcc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Vincennes University

Vincennes, IN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 28%

VU is a public institution that holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Located in southeast Indiana, VU offers more than 20 online programs, including a pharmacy technician associate degree track.

This two-year program helps learners develop the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue entry-level positions at hospital and retail pharmacies. Associate degree-seekers need to earn at least 60 credits to graduate. Participants take courses such as medical terminology for allied health and pharmacology, as well as a dispensing lab.

Interested learners must meet certain reading and math prerequisites. The university also requires learners to submit their scores from the ACT, SAT, ACCUPLACER, or another VU-approved exam for placement purposes. Students who possess a health pharmacy technology certificate from Indiana University receive automatic acceptance into this associate program.


Program Overview

Program Name: Associate of Science/Career Tech in Pharmacy Technology
School Status: Public
Tuition: $193/credit in-state; $470/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online except for 200 practicum hours

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.3 minimum
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, ACCUPLACER, or other VU-approved exam

Contact

Phone: (812) 888-5900
Email: disted@vinu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2020 Best Accredited Online Pharmacy Technician Certificate Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

North Dakota State College of Science

Wahpeton, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Located in Wahpeton, North Dakota, NDSCS is a public institution with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. The school offers a pharmacy technician certificate through a hybrid format. Participants learn about topics like inventory management, recordkeeping, community and institutional practice, and sterile product preparation.

This one-year program includes 44 credits of coursework and an eight-week, in-person internship. Required courses for this certificate include pharmacy records and inventory management, pharmacy law and ethics, pharmaceutical calculations, and concepts of anatomy and physiology.

Prospective pupils must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate for consideration. Applicants under 25 years of age must also submit ACT scores. Students need to complete required pharmacy courses with a "C" or higher to remain in good standing. This program boasts a 100% job placement rate for its 2018-2019 graduates.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technician, Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $137/credit
Credit Requirements: 44 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: ACT for applicants under 25 years of age; placement testing results are also accepted

Contact

Phone: (701) 671-2114
Email: ndscs.distance.ed@ndscs.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Lakeshore Technical College

Cleveland, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 41%

LTC is a public college located in Cleveland, Wisconsin. The school oversees a pharmacy technician program that best serves pupils who currently work as pharmacy technicians or in a closely related area. Interested students should possess two or more years of experience before applying to the program.

Learners complete the majority of requirements for this pharmacy technician certificate online. Depending on the class, students may need to complete lab-focused coursework in person.

This 17-credit program helps students further develop their specialized skills, better understand technician theory, and prepare for the national certification exam. Required courses include parenterals for working pharmacy technicians, medical terminology, and health insurance and reimbursement. Most learners finish this program in two semesters.


Program Overview

Program Name: Employed Pharmacy Technician, Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $137/credit in-state; $205/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 17 credits
Program Length: 1 year or less

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: Two years preferred

Contact

Phone: (800) 621-7440
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage, AK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

UAA is a public school that holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The university offers a 16-credit pharmacy technology occupational endorsement certificate, which students can earn entirely online. Upon completion of the program, students can sit for the national pharmacy technician certification board examination.

Using the Blackboard learning system, learners complete six pharmacy technology courses. Students complete the program through an asynchronous format, taking classes like pharmacology for technicians, techniques of pharmacy practice, pharmacy calculations, and topics in pharmacy.

Incoming students may start the program in the fall or spring semester. Full-time students typically graduate in two semesters. Prospective students need a high school diploma or GED certificate. UAA also expects applicants to possess proficiency in math, English, typing, and computer technology.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technology, Occupational Endorsement Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $223/credit in-state; $789/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 16 credits
Program Length: 1 year or less

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (907) 786-1800
Email: futureseawolf@alaska.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Barton County Community College

Great Bend, KS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 32%

Located in Great Bend, Kansas, BCC is a public school that holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Remote students can pursue the college's pharmacy technician certificate. Learners need 29 credits for graduation, and they typically finish in two semesters.

Required courses include pharmacy calculations, pharmacy operations, customer service, and pharmacy technician topics. Upon completion of the program, students can sit for the pharmacy technician certification board exam or the exam for the certification of pharmacy technicians.

Remote students complete all coursework online, although they must participate in an in-person internship at an approved pharmacy site. While enrolled, distance students can access 24/7 technical support, tutoring services, and counseling.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technician, Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $150/credit
Credit Requirements: 29 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters

Delivery

Format: Online plus an in-person internship

Contact

Phone: (620) 792-2701
Email: webinquiry@bartonccc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Southwestern Oregon Community College

Coos Bay, OR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

SWOCC is a public school located in Coos Bay, Oregon. The college offers a certificate of completion, pharmacy technician program and holds regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Graduates of this technical program gain the skills needed to assist pharmacists in hospital and retail pharmacy settings.

Pharmacy students can complete major coursework entirely online. Required courses for the pharmacy technician certificate include body structures and functions, pharmacology, pharmacy records management, and human relations in organizations. Learners need to earn at least 51 credits with a 2.0 GPA or higher to graduate.

Incoming students must take placement exams in math, writing, and reading. Additionally, pharmacy students need to complete a criminal background check and drug testing.


Program Overview

Program Name: Pharmacy Technician, Certificate of Completion
School Status: Public
Tuition: $96/credit
Credit Requirements: 51 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: Entry placement exams

Contact

Phone: (541) 888-7298
Email: elearningsupport@socc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

Online Pharmacy Technician Training Program Overview

Pharmacy technician certificate and associate degree programs teach students the skills needed to assist pharmacists in filling prescriptions. They also provide information on the composition and uses of common medications. In addition, students learn about ethical and legal considerations of dispensing drugs, appropriate professional behavior, and the calculations used in pharmacy practice.

Graduates of pharmacy tech training programs are qualified to dispense medications in a pharmacy setting under the supervision of a pharmacist. However, several states also require pharmacy technicians to pass a certification exam. Pharmacy techs wishing to become pharmacists must earn a four-year bachelor's degree and then complete a 3-4-year graduate program.

Common Pharmacy Technician Courses

Introduction to Pharmacy

This course differentiates the roles of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians and explores the responsibilities of pharmacy technicians in retail and hospital settings and in the healthcare system. Students gain skills related to interpreting pharmacy orders. Topics include ethics, quality assurance, medical terminology, and drug delivery systems.

Pharmacy Practice

In this class, learners gain the skills needed to process prescriptions, apply relevant laws and regulations, evaluate insurance coverage, and dispense medications under supervision. Specific coursework may include professional behavior, drug labeling, dispensing procedures, and controlled substance procedures.

Pharmacy Calculations

Here, students learn different systems of measurement related to pharmacy practice. They also learn to calculate medical dosages needed to prepare medication orders. Topics include pediatric dosages and powdered medications.

Pharmacology

This course introduces the properties and effects of pharmacologic agents in major drug categories. Students learn to categorize major drugs according to their therapeutic categories and identify their generic names, indications, and side effects. Specific topics include hormones, nutritional products, respiratory drugs, and gastrointestinal agents.

Pharmacy Clinical

Pharmacy tech training programs typically include one or more opportunities for students to work in a pharmacy under the supervision of a pharmacist. Students apply their classroom knowledge and receive on-site training and experience. Learners practice dispensing medications, interacting with patients, and operating pharmacy computer systems.

Online Pharmacy Technician Program Admission Requirements

  • High School Diploma or GED Certificate

    Applicants must graduate from high school before pursuing a college-level pharmacy technician certificate or associate degree. Some programs will accept a GED credential in place of a high school diploma.

  • Test Scores

    Some pharmacy technician training programs require applicants to submit ACT or SAT scores (or other placement test scores). Check with your school to see if it requires recent test scores.

  • Transcripts

    Programs will likely require you to submit official transcripts from your high school and any colleges you have attended. Some programs may also require prerequisite courses (such as algebra or English composition) and/or a specific minimum GPA (typically in the range of 2.0-2.8).

  • Drug Screening

    Some programs require applicants to submit a negative result on a drug test; this is typically needed to work in pharmacies and medical facilities.

  • Background Check

    Some training programs require applicants to pass a background check and have no felony convictions.


Pharmacy Technician Career Paths

In general, the role of a pharmacy technician is an entry-level position; however, some pharmacy techs can move into supervisory or management positions as they gain experience. Some states and employers require pharmacy technicians to be certified or licensed, which is done by passing a certification exam. The National Healthcareer Association and the Pharmacy Technical Certification Board offer certification exams for pharmacy technicians.

Those who wish to advance their careers by becoming pharmacists must complete a bachelor's program and then enter graduate school. Pharmacists typically need to hold a doctor of pharmacy, which is a four-year professional degree. Pharmacists must also gain licensure, which requires passing two certification exams.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a pharmacy tech make with an associate degree?

Most pharmacy technicians earn between $23,000 and $48,000 annually, and the median wage is $32,700 nationwide. An associate degree can help you qualify for a higher-paying job, as compared to only earning a certificate.

Can you become a pharmacist with an associate degree?

To qualify for a job as a pharmacist, you must earn a bachelor's degree and then a doctor of pharmacy. Finishing both degrees as a full-time student typically takes 6-8 years. However, earning an associate degree may be a good first step toward a career as a pharmacist.

Is pharmacy a good career?

Pharmacy technicians are in demand. The BLS projects employment for pharmacy techs to increase faster than average in the coming years and notes that pharmacy technicians may take on more responsibilities in the future as pharmacists become more involved in patient care activities, such as giving flu shots.

Is pharmacy technician a stressful job?

Working in a busy pharmacy can be stressful. Pharmacy technicians must negotiate with healthcare providers and insurance companies on behalf of customers and patients. Interacting with patients regarding their medical needs takes professionalism and patience.

Can you become a pharmacy tech without going to school?

Pharmacy technicians can sometimes learn their role through on-the-job training, provided they graduated from high school or earned a GED certificate. However, your state or employer may require certification; this could mean that you need to enter a postgraduate training program and pass a certification exam.

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