How To Become a Pharmacy Technician Without Going To School?

Ever thought about a career in pharmacy? If you have, but don’t want to go back to school for another 4 years, then this is the article for you. We’ll discuss how to become a pharmacy technician without going to school and what qualifications are necessary for certain states.

How to become a pharmacy technician without going to school? In some states, it is possible to be hired as a pharmacy technician without previous training. In some other states, one is only required to register with the state board, and in some other states, it is necessary training and certification.

A pharmacy technician works together with a pharmacist to help patients get what they need and take care of their concerns. Pharmacy technicians help people to get their prescriptions and are responsible for the smooth operations of the pharmacy.

They take care of customer service, phone calls, technical operations such as filling prescriptions or ordering missing items, and more.

But pharmacies are not the only place where a pharmacy technician can work. For example, a pharmacy technician can be employed in hospitals, prisons, veterinary practice, the military, or an educational environment.

Pharmacy technicians working in a hospital can even work with medicine that needs to be delivered through a needle and work in a laboratory performing cleaning actions, sterilization of instruments, and maintaining drug dispensary machines.

For example, in traditional pharmacies, a pharmacy technician works in direct contact with customers who need medication or want to have some advice.

In the U.S., requirements to become a pharmacy technician vary depending on the state. Some states do not require any training to start working, but the pharmacist is responsible for supervising and training on the job for any new applicant.

Some other states require registration to the Health State Board. Then one can be hired and trained by the pharmacist. In some other states, one has to do an entire training program, pass an exam and get a certification before being hired.

How Fast Can I Become a Pharmacy Technician?

For those living in a state where certification is not required, it is possible to apply for a job, and once hired by a pharmacist, they will receive on-the-job training and work under supervision. However, it can take over six months to become a pharmacy technician following this route.

In those states where registration with the state board is required, the timeline is very similar. Besides that, one is supposed to wait for the acceptance of the registration, which usually takes only a few days.

For those living in a state that requires a training program and certification, the time to become a pharmacy therapist is considerably longer. A typical training program is around two years, even though faster routes can take eight months to a year. Unfortunately, the quickest training programs are also more expensive.

The prerequisites and route to becoming a trained pharmacy technician are the following:

  • GED or High School diploma
  • Graduate from a Pharmacy Technician training program
  • Get certification by an official certification body, such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), and the National Healthcareer Association (NAH)
  • The certificate has to be maintained actively with updates every two years

Can You Self Study For Pharmacy Technician?

There are many schools training programs to become a Pharmacy Technician. For example, one can get a degree as an associate in Science Pharmacy Technician or Bachelor in Science Pharmacy Technician. But, unless required by the state regulation, it is not necessary to train in any school.

For those states where it is not required to take a recognized training program but only to pass the board examination, it is possible to self-study. But, even if possible, it doesn’t mean it is the correct choice for everyone.

A student needs to be able to study independently, keep the motivation throughout the studies and recognize when ready to take the exam. It is not easy to train without assistance and to assess, without any help, to be prepared for the examination.

In the alternative, many online schools have an online training program that can prepare a student to take a board examination. A student can also take advantage of online preparatory tests and practice with the test exams many times as needed.

When studying alone, without following any formal training program, it is crucial to use the training manuals and guide purposely created to prepare students for the PTCE and take many practicing tests. The practicing test can isolate the areas that need improvement, and a student can intensify the studies in those areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is Pharmacy Technician Training At CVS?

CVS has a program in place to hire and train people to become retail Pharmacy Technicians. It is a 120 days training program that teaches customer service skills, pharmacy business, patient safety, pharmacy inventory, and workflow.

CVS training program is accredited and can help people to become nationally certified, and in some cases, provide additional materials and training necessary to pass the board exam. In addition, CVS pyas people while training them.

Is The Pharmacy Technician Exam Hard?

The Pharmacy Technician exam can be difficult to pass. In recent times the exam pass rate has decreased to 58% (2019 data). If the exam is failed, it can be done a second time after 60 days again. But, it cannot be done more than three times.

The key to passing the exam is to study the textbooks indicated for the exam (for example, the pharmacy technician training manuals) and take many practice tests.

What Score Do You Need To Pass The Pharmacy Technician Exam?

The minimum score needed to pass the Pharmacy Technician Exam (PTCE) is 1400. The possible scores go from 1000 to 1600. The exam has 90 questions, and it takes around 2 hours to complete the exam. The exam doesn’t present any type of format. Instead, it is random, meaning it jumps from one subject to another.

How Do I Pass The Pharmacy Technician Exam?

To pass the Pharmacy Technician exam, it is necessary a lot of preparation and practice. Studying the training manuals carefully and practicing on-line with the practice tests can be one way to go in preparation for the examination.

Additionally, a PTCB study guide is specifically designed to prepare a student for the PTCB exam. It is essential to read all the questions carefully during the exam and try to answer them all. Therefore, it is worth investing in a study guide for the PTCB exam and take many of those exams.


A Pharmacy technician is a vital member of the health care team. Working together with pharmacists, they help patients get their prescriptions and take care of any concerns they may have about those medications.

Becoming one doesn’t require education but you do need to be registered in your state or apply for certification. If you’re considering this career path, check out our post on how to become a pharmacy technician without going to school!