How long does it take to become a pharmacy technician?

If you’re considering a career as a pharmacy technician, you might be wondering how long it takes to become one? 

As a career, a pharmacy technician gets the best of both worlds — they’re able to spend their days helping others and have job security and tons of room for growth.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a growth rate of 12% over the next few years, and many technicians can expect to make an average of about $32k annually. 

While the statistics are great, the education portion of this career is a considerable aspect of your path. So, what timeline can you expect if you anticipate becoming a pharmacy technician? 

How long does it take to go to school for Pharmacy Technician certification? 

You can go to school to become a pharmacy technician at vocational schools, community colleges, and even some four-year universities, depending on what education you want. To qualify for the various programs, you must have a high school diploma or GED. 

Once you’re accepted to a vocational program, your education could take 15 weeks with accelerated courses to two years for a diploma, certificate, and associate degrees. 

The length of time you spend in school is dependent on the program that you select. 

Does a Pharmacy Technician need on-the-job training?

Most states do not require on-the-job training as part of pharmacy educational courses. However, it is an option for those that want to get some hands-on experience while pursuing their education. 

Learning from trained pharmacists can help you discover the technical aspects and job skills that might be relevant for the licensing exam. That could put you a step ahead of your peers if you decide to do an internship while in school. 

Additionally, internships can help you get a foot in the door with a job you might want once you’re licensed. 

Pharmacy Technician Certification

What you need to secure a job as a pharmacy technician varies by state. Some states require you to pass a licensing exam while others are okay with you doing on-the-job training after completing your education.

Though certification is often optional, it can be a major plus when it comes to your job search. A certified technician can move from state to state and often will be on the top of a hiring pile when it comes time to make a choice. 


If you have an aspiration to become a pharmacy technician, the good news is that it doesn’t take as long as some traditional educations. You can likely have a job in the field within two years.