Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Nalea J. Ko
Updated April 16, 2024
Edited by
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Do you want to jump-start your healthcare career? Well, there’s good news: You can complete an online pharmacy tech program in as few as 12 months and for less money than a four-year degree.

Plus, the best online pharmacy technician programs allow you to balance other obligations while you pursue an in-demand career.

Here, we give you more than just a dose of information on the best online pharmacy technician programs. Find out how you can start earning a pharmacy tech paycheck, what you need to get licensed or certified, and your potential salary.

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Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Read Our Methodology Here

#1 Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

State Fair Community College

  • Location-markerSedalia, MO
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,080
  • Out-of-state$5,520
  • Retention Rate60%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,288
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment64%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

North Dakota State College of Science

  • Location-markerWahpeton, ND
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$4,528
  • Out-of-state$5,433
  • Retention Rate71%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled2,977
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment28%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

Barton County Community College

  • Location-markerGreat Bend, KS
  • 2 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$2,368
  • Out-of-state$3,008
  • Retention Rate64%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,300
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment54%
  • AccreditationYes

Why Get an Online Pharmacy Technician Degree?

  • Demand for pharmacy techs is projected to increase over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
  • Pharmacy tech programs teach you valuable skills needed to work in hospitals and drug stores.
  • Online pharmacy tech degrees prepare you for a license or certification, if required in your state.
  • You learn federal and state laws and medical dosing in a pharmacy tech degree.
  • With an online program, you can study to become a pharmacy tech from anywhere.
  • Two-year online pharmacy tech degrees cost less than a four-year degree.

How Much Does a Degree in Pharmacy Tech Cost?

To become a pharmacy tech, you can pursue either a certificate or associate degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average public two-year college in 2020-2021 cost in-state students $3,501, while out-of-state students paid $8,256.

Online degrees save you money on room and board and transportation costs. That said, you may see additional charges for technology fees, clinical externships, background checks, and drug testing — which are needed before clinical placements.

Career and Salary Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians

Median Annual Salary (BLS, May 2023): $40,300

Job Outlook (2021-2031): +5%

Pharmacy techs help dispense prescription medications to customers. In this role, you prepare prescriptions and perform calculations under the supervision of a pharmacist. While the bottom 10% of pharmacy technicians earned median annual salaries of $32,720, the top 10% made earned $57,130 a year, according to the BLS.

In terms of practice settings, pharmacy technicians working in outpatient care centers made the most with an annual mean salary of $61,080. Food and beverage stores paid pharmacy technicians $38,730 per year, while health and personal care retailers (a category including drug stores) paid a slightly higher salary of $40,170.

You could also get paid more if you live in higher-paying states. For example, California paid pharmacy technicians the nation’s highest mean annual wage of $55,710, substantially higher than the national average for the field.

Pharmacy Technician Certification

Practice requirements for pharmacy technicians vary between states. According to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, 29 states and Washington D.C. require pharmacy technicians to hold licensure or certification before they can practice. Another 16 states require national certification and license or registration.

Many states recognize the certified pharmacy technician credential issued by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). To qualify for certification, you must graduate from a pharmacy technician program recognized by the organization and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam. PTCB accepts applicants with at least 500 hours of professional experience as a pharmacy technician in lieu of an associate degree or certificate/diploma.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacy Technician Programs

How long does it take to complete a pharmacy technician program?

A 60-credit associate in applied science degree typically takes two years to complete. You can complete diploma or certificate programs — which require fewer credits — sooner.

Do you need a license to be a pharmacy technician?

States regulate licensing and certification requirements for pharmacy technicians. Check your state board of pharmacy for specific regulations. Depending on where you live, you may need to be registered, nationally certified, and/or licensed. Some states don’t have any licensure or certification requirements.

What’s the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist?

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing prescription medications. Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of a pharmacist.

Pharmacists need a doctor of pharmacy degree, and a state license to get hired. Pharmacy technicians can begin working with a certificate, which takes only one year, but many pharmacy techs choose to earn an associate degree.

How do you become a pharmacy technician?

You only need a GED certificate or high school diploma to get started as a pharmacy technician. Not every state requires pharmacy technicians to get licensed or credentialed, but you do need to complete a formal education program, including a certificate or associate degree.

Next Steps

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