Becoming a pharmacy technician may sound like a good way to get into the medical field, but you need to figure out how to get trained first. Do you hunt for jobs that will train you from scratch, or do you go through a training course and use that advantage to find work? These are things you have to consider.

A training course through a good pharmacy training school may be a very good idea. It can’t hurt to have an advantage over the completely untrained applicants. From there, you have to make sure you’re choosing a good course. Here are some factors to consider.

Online or Local?

There are a variety of online schools that offer pharmacy technician training, as well as local schools. There are advantages to each.

Online programs have the advantage of flexibility. You can usually work more or less at your own speed, all though there may be time limits. You don’t want to work too fast, or you might not really get the material down. You also don’t want to go so slowly that you forget the early stuff by the time you’re done.

Still, it’s great not having to worry about time off work or care for any children you may have. Online courses fit around your schedule for the most part.

Local courses are better if you aren’t so good at studying on your own. Some people really need the classroom interaction. If that’s you, skip the online course and see what’s offered in your area.

Program Length

Most pharmacy technician courses aren’t all that long, maybe a few months to a year. Length only matters in terms of how soon you’d like to work and whether or not the program is really complete enough for you to find work after graduation. You’re probably not getting enough information if the course says it only takes two weeks for most students to finish.


Education doesn’t come all that cheap, but it’s not all that expensive either. You’ll probably pay something in the $1000-2000 range, give or take a few hundred. If you get a career out of it, that’s not bad at all. Some programs will cost more, and there may be added costs for books and such.


You want your training course to be complete. A pharmacy technician should know medical terminology, pharmacology, relevant law, the business side of working in a pharmacy, and more.

It’s also helpful if you can get an externship to gain experience. Classroom or online work is great, but hands on does so much more and looks great on your resume.


Not all states require that pharmacy technicians be certified, but some do. It’s important that any training class you take prepare you for that. Even if your state doesn’t require it, certification is a nice addition to any resume.

Get free information from Career Step about how to train for a career as a pharmacy technician.