Demand for pharmacy technicians is growing because of increasing demand for pharmaceuticals, and it is a profession you can start without a four-year degree. If you want to earn a diploma to enter this healthcare career, check out our list of 15 affordable colleges that offer pharmacy technician programs.
How Can you Become a Pharmacy Technician?
Students can become a certified pharmacy technician after completing a one-year certificate or two-year associate’s degree from a community college or technical school. These programs include classes about medicine, necessary job skills, and anatomy, as well as practical training. Each state has different professional licensing requirements. In some states, graduates can become licensed after completing their degree; other states require an exam. Students can take a national licensing exam, which is accepted in all 50 states some students can take classes from online pharmacy schools.
Top 5 Pharmacy Technician Schools
|1||Mountainland Technical College||Lehi, Utah|
|2||Southeast Community College||Lincoln, Nebraska|
|3||North Central Kansas Technical College||Beloit, Kansas|
|4||Western Technical College||La Crosse, Wisconsin|
|5||Western Iowa Technical Community College||Sioux City, Iowa|
What do Pharmacy Technicians Do?
A pharmacy technician assists pharmacists with dispensing drugs to customers in hospitals, retail pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities. In this role, they earn on average $34,000 per year. Some pharmacy technicians move into management positions over time or go on to earn a doctor of pharmacy degree to become a certified pharmacist.
What Schools Have the Best Pharmacy Technician Programs?
We’ve compiled a list of the best pharmacy schools. We ranked these colleges based on their tuition (lowest is best) and number of credits required (lowest is best).
Our Best 15 Pharmacy Technician Schools
Mountainland Technical College
Mountainland Technical College in Utah offers a four-month pharmacy technician program with a 200-hour externship. Students learn how to assist pharmacists in simulated labs and in a real pharmacy during their externship. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing exam and become a licensed pharmacy technician in the state of Utah. The program is offered in Lehi and Spanish Fork.
Southeast Community College
Southeast Community College offers a two-semester pharmacy technician diploma, which is available in Lincoln, Nebraska, and online. Students gain hands-on experience from certified pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
North Central Kansas Technical College
At North Central Kansas Technical College, students can earn a one-year pharmacy technician certificate which qualifies them to be a registered pharmacy technician in Kansas without taking the national exam. Students gain hands-on experience in a retail simulation lab and take classes including Pharmacology and Sterile Compounding and Aseptic Technique.
Western Technical College
The pharmacy technician diploma at Western Technical College in Wisconsin is offered through a joint program with Lakeshore Technical College. Students take classes at both schools, including Pharmacy Law and Pharmacy Drug Distribution Systems.
Western Iowa Technical Community College
Western Iowa Tech Community College offers a twelve-month pharmacy technician diploma. The program prepares students for licensure in Iowa and to take the national licensing exam.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Dickson offers a pharmacy technology diploma that can be completed in 12 months of full-time study. The program includes supervised clinical training and classes such as Third-Party Reimbursement and Pharmacy Math. Students will complete 160 hours of clinical training. They also incorporate hands on learning in class with prescription filling simulations, non-sterile compounding, and sterile compounding labs. After this course, students will be ready to sit and take the national certification exam and become licensed as a registered pharmacy technician. The program strives in teaching students worker characteristics skills on how to obtain a position in the field and on how to be a successful employee.
State Fair Community College
State Fair Community College offers a pharmacy technician skills certificate and professional certificate as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Health Science with Emphasis in Pharmacy Technician. The skills certificate meets the minimum requirements to take the pharmacy certification exam, and the professional certificate and AAS include extra healthcare courses. Students can earn the stackable certifications one at a time. The programs are available in Sedalia, Missouri, and online.
Hutchinson Community College
Students at Hutchinson Community College can earn an Associate of Science in Pharmacy. The program prepares students to transfer to the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy, which requires eight more semesters to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy.
North Dakota State College of Science
The North Dakota State College of Science offers a pharmacy technician certificate and an Associate of Applied Science in Pharmacy Technician. The certificate program includes eight weeks of internship. Both programs are available on-campus or through hybrid courses. Jointly accredited by American Society of Health System Pharmacists and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.
Central Piedmont Community College
Central Piedmont Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science and a diploma in Pharmacy Technology. The AAS degree allows graduates to become a validating technician in North Carolina, meaning they can validate stocking and unit dose packaging functions in hospitals. The programs are available in Charlotte, North Carolina, and online.
Manatee Technical College
Manatee Technical College offers a diploma program (ATD – Advanced Technical Diploma). They take 10-40 college credits towards a pharmacy management degree. The program qualifies graduates to register as a pharmacy technician in Florida and take the national exam.
*The total cost for the program, including books and all fees, is less than $5,000.
Pinellas Technical College
Pinellas Technical College offers an associate’s degree for students who want to become a pharmacy technician. The degree is available through a blended online format.
Students can complete the pharmacy technology program at Casper College in as little as ten months. Casper offers a certificate and an Associate of Science in Pharmacy Technology, and it has the only pharmacy technology program in Wyoming that is available online and on-campus.
Vincennes University offers both online and face to face options for two different certificate programs, 2 semester in length, along with an Associate’s of Science in Pharmacy Technology. The program prepares students for state licensing and to take the national certification exam. This is done by completing lecture courses including Pharmacology, Calculations, Law and Ethics, and simulation labs. These labs include retail, sterile compounding, aseptic technique, and a hands-on experience through experiential sites.
Lorenzo Walker Technical College
Lorenzo Walker Technical College in Naples, Florida, offers a ten-month pharmacy technician certificate. The program educates students about topics such as pharmacology and pharmacy law.
How Did We Rank this List?
Our ranking was based 66.7% on tuition and 33.3% on credits required.
From each institution’s website, we gathered in-person tuition rates for out-of-state domestic students in the different programs. Where tuition was only listed on a per-year or per-semester basis, the year was assumed to consist of two semesters, twelve credits each.
Some colleges measure credit in total clock hours students spend in the program rather than credit hours. For these schools, clock hours were divided by 15 to create an equivalent to credit-hours for ranking.
Tuition figures do not include fees or other expenses.
Each school was given a score from 1 for the highest tuition to 15 for the lowest. Schools were also scored from 1 to 15 for the number of credits required for the program based on data from the school websites. For schools that offered multiple programs, the shortest program was used for the ranking.
Then, tuition points were multiplied by two. The weighted scores were added together to produce the final ranking.
Problems with your Ranking?
If your school isn’t on this list and you think it deserves consideration for an update, please contact us. Also, if you work for one of the schools on this list and you notice an error, please let us know. We always seek to provide the most accurate information available and let readers know about the best schools across the country.
Still not Sure which School is Right for You?
Finding the right college to become a pharmacy technician is an important decision. If you’re still trying to find the right school, check out our other lists and our degree finder.