Online Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy technicians are a key element of the health care environment and are continually in demand. Aspiring pharmacy techs can now earn their degree online, giving them the flexibility they need to advance their careers.

Updated September 20, 2022

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Discover Careers in Pharmacy

Pharmacy employees form a key part of today's healthcare system. Safely handling medications, filling and pricing prescriptions for customers, managing inventory – these are just some of the many rewarding tasks associated with a pharmacy technician career. Online pharmacy technician schools prepare students to fulfill the essential job responsibilities, from assisting the pharmacist with preparing prescriptions to helping customers and patients. Read on to learn about online program options available as well as how to plan and prepare for a career in this exciting field.

Pharmacy technicians are a key element of the health care environment and are continually in demand. Aspiring pharmacy techs can now earn their degree online, giving them the flexibility they need to advance their careers while not sacrificing other areas of their lives. Graduates of these programs ensure patients receive the care and attention they need and the correct medication to take care of their health. There are several types of online pharmacy schools from which to choose, and students must do their research to find the right school for them. We've provided our research here to get you started. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

The Best Online Pharmacy Tech Schools


Allen County Community College

School Information
Location Iola, Kansas
Graduation Rate 39%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 73% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its Iola, Kansas, campus, Allen County Community College enrolls learners as a public institution. The school's 56 online associate programs include a pharmacy technician AAS program. Students can gain admission to the two-year program with a high school diploma or GED. Candidates may need to take a placement test, such as ACCUPLACER, to determine their class selections. Contact the program to learn more about admission requirements and start dates.

The flexible learning format makes it easier for students to earn a college degree. Students requiring the most flexibility can enroll in asynchronous courses with no set meeting times.

Credits earned at the accredited institution often transfer into four-year colleges and universities. Students interested in a bachelor's degree benefit from the school's articulation agreements with four-year colleges.

Allen County Community College Facts:

Online Enrollment: 1,760

Graduation Percentage: 39%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $1,800

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $1,800

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North Central Missouri College

School Information
Location Trenton, Missouri
Graduation Rate 41%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 63% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in Trenton, North Central Missouri College operates as a public institution. A leader in online education, the school offers 11 online associate programs. Applicants with a high school diploma or GED can join the online pharmacy technician program. Admitted students may need to take placement tests such as the ACCUPLACER to determine their graduation requirements. Many schools also accept SAT or ACT scores.

The online learning format puts more control in the hands of busy students seeking a pharmacy degree. The school's asynchronous course options appeal to students who require a flexible schedule.

After earning an associate degree in pharmacy, graduates enter the workforce or transfer into a bachelor's program. The accredited institution maintains articulation agreements with four-year colleges, making it easier for graduates to apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree.

North Central Missouri College Numbers:

Online Enrollment: 1,108

Student Graduation Rate: 41%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 20-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,440

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $5,370

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Spokane Community College

School Information
Location Spokane, Washington
Graduation Rate 26%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its campus in Washington, Spokane Community College operates as a public institution. At the school, degree-seekers select from seven online associate programs, which include a pharmacy technician associate program. The program accepts applicants with a high school diploma or the equivalent. The program may administer placement tests for some incoming students. Students can also choose to submit their SAT or ACT scores.

The pharmacy program uses a flexible learning format that appeals to busy students and working professionals. The school's asynchronous classes let learners complete lessons on their own schedule.

Credits earned at the accredited institution often transfer into four-year colleges and universities. The school maintains articulation agreements with four-year colleges, making it easier for graduates to move seamlessly into a bachelor's program.

Spokane Community College Numbers:

Online Enrollment: 2,824

Undergraduate Graduation Rate: 26%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,875

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $3,680

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Opportunities for the Pharmacy Tech Graduate

Pharmacy technicians may choose from several career options after earning an online education. They all require a minimum of a career diploma or associate degree, but may not require certification since regulations vary between states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, certification can make it easier for pharmacy technicians to find employment. Take a look at some career options with salary and education requirements below.

Career Options
Pharmacy Technician (pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores)Accepts prescription orders and assists licensed pharmacist in filling and dispensing medication in a store setting$28,080Diploma or Associate Degree; Certification (some states)
Pharmacy Technician (private hospitals)Accepts prescription orders and assists licensed pharmacist in filling, dispensing, and delivering medication to patients in a hospital setting$34,640Diploma or Associate Degree; Certification (some states)
Assistant Pharmacist/Pharmacy AideProvides basic customer service and assists pharmacist by accepting prescriptions, answering phones, and checking people out at the register$23,300High School Diploma or GED
Lead Pharmacy TechnicianManages and oversees the duties of pharmacy technicians$37,131Diploma or Associate Degree; Certification (some states), 1-2 years of experience
PharmacistPrepares and dispenses prescription medication, advises about potential interactions, and gives customers health and wellness advice$120,9504-year Pharm.D. and license

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pharmacy Technician

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 52 percent of pharmacy technicians in the U.S. worked in pharmacies and drug stores, while 13 percent found employment in private hospitals in 2014. Drug stores and pharmacies can be a very busy working environment with many responsibilities, including greeting customers, entering their prescription information into the computer, measuring medications, and accepting payment. Pharmacy technicians need to be able to prioritize and manage tasks well because they also need to answer calls from customers and health care providers as they come in.

Those working in private hospitals fulfill many similar job responsibilities, working under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist as they enter orders and fill prescriptions for inpatients and patients soon to be discharged. Hospital pharmacy technicians prepare a wider variety of medications because of the different health needs of the patients they service.

In some states, pharmacy technicians are permitted to compound medications under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Being detail oriented is essential to prevent prescription mistakes. The BLS projects a growth of 9 percent in the employment of pharmacy technicians from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Reasons for the expected growth include an aging population requiring more prescriptions and increased health care coverage making it possible for people to pay for medication.

Pharmacy Assistant/Pharmacy Aide

Pharmacy assistants provide the most basic levels of service in a pharmacy. Although they assist pharmacists along with pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants do not have the same level of training and education. The primary responsibility of a pharmacy assistant is check people out at the cash register and provide customer service assistance so pharmacy technicians can handle other duties. Job growth for pharmacy assistants is projected to be 3 percent from 2014 to 2024 according to the BLS.

Lead Pharmacy Technician

Lead pharmacy technicians handle the same responsibilities as other pharmacy technicians while also providing leadership and guidance, monitoring workflow and billing activities. In addition to preparing medications and dispensing them into bottles, lead pharmacy technicians are responsible for selecting and stocking medications and supplies in the pharmacy. Busy pharmacies often require lead pharmacy technicians to take on more of the pharmacist's responsibilities in order to free them up to handle tasks that require advanced training.


Pharmacists are licensed to prepare and dispense prescription medication to patients. They also advise patients about how to use their prescriptions safely. Pharmacists must earn a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree and pass two licensing exams in order to practice. They are responsible for record-keeping and administrative tasks and overseeing the pharmacy technicians. The national job growth outlook for pharmacists is 3 percent from 2014 to 2024 according to the BLS, slower than average for all occupations. An increase in the number pharmacy school graduates has resulted in more competition for jobs.

Pharmacy Technician: Milestone Map

Earning an associate's degree is a significant accomplishment for someone pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician, but it is just one of many. The map below identifies potential milestones a pharmacy technician might accomplish while working in the profession.

1 Associate's Degree

Completed an online pharmacy technician education

2 Certification

Became certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)

3 Entry-level job

Assisted pharmacists in dispensing medication in a local retail store

4 Specialized training

Completed training in pharmaceutical compounding to expand skillset

5 Promotion

Earned position as a Senior Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) at a hospital pharmacy

6 Moving Up

Became the hospital pharmacy's lead CPhT within five years

Pharmacy Technician Schools: The Online Experience

One of the benefits of an online pharmacy technician education is having the flexibility to continue meeting work and personal responsibilities while learning an important vocation at the same time. Most online pharmacy technician schools offer similar courses as traditional campus programs, so students can be confident that they are learning all of the necessary skills to thrive in the pharmaceutical industry.

Students enrolled in online pharmacy technician programs often work at their own pace. Online tutors are available when needed to help students digest the material covered in their classes and virtual labs. Examples of how multimedia is used for instruction in a virtual setting include videos, digital study guides, online lectures, and webinars. Students also have 24/7 access to lessons, assignments, and online peer discussion forums.

Completing an externship is a significant component of many online pharmacy technician programs. Institutions often partner with retail pharmacy chains around the country to provide externship opportunities. If students do not live close to a participating pharmacy, they can arrange a substitute externship or enroll in a virtual internship.

Online Program Options for Pharmacy Techs

Online pharmacy technician schools offer several types of programs to meet the different needs of their students. It's helpful for prospective students to understand all of the types of programs available to ensure they choose the option that supports them in their personal career journey. The three most common program options are a career diploma, associate degree, and continuing education program.

Career Diploma

Vocational schools and community colleges offer online career diplomas that can be completed in a year or less. These private institutions specialize in preparing students to enter the workforce by providing the necessary training and credentials. Community colleges are public institutions, and generally less expensive for in-state students.

Students enrolled in pharmacy technician career diploma programs learn to manage and update patient records, understand medical terminology, and assist pharmacists with office duties. Specific program requirements vary depending on the type of institution and program, but pharmacy technician career diploma programs generally include a combination of curriculum hours and supervised training by a licensed pharmacist. Externships may be offered at community hospitals or local retail pharmacies.

Most career diploma programs take up to a year to complete and consist of 18 to 50 credit hours. However, accelerated programs allow students to graduate in as little as three months by studying full-time. Although the time it takes students to graduate depends on the amount of time they can put in, online pharmacy technician diploma programs at accredited online schools meet or exceed the training requisites for both the PTCB and NHA exams.


In addition to offering diploma programs, career schools and community colleges also offer pharmacy technician associate degree programs to prepare students for careers as pharmacy technicians. Associate degree programs include general education courses not found in diploma programs. Community college tuition is less expensive for in-state residents and may be a better financial option. However, tuition differs among programs, so it's important to research costs before deciding on a program.

Associate degree programs are comprised of 90 credit hours of general education and pharmacy technician courses. In some cases, students need to meet math or science prerequisites before beginning their associate degree education, so prospective students should find out what is expected ahead of time. Online pharmacy technician programs include subjects such as Pharmacy Law, Pharmacy Calculations, and Pharmacy Records Management, among others. Students are also required to complete an externship so they can handle responsibilities in a pharmacy setting after graduation.

Pharmacy technician associate degrees from accredited institutions meet or exceed the PTCB and NHA certification exam requirements—just like career diplomas. However, some employers prefer employees to hold a degree.

Continuing Education

Continuing pharmacy education (CPE) ensures that pharmacy technicians maintain competency and improve their professional skills. Since most states require pharmacy technicians to be certified, CPE is also necessary to renew certification.

Each State Board determines the requirements for certification or license renewal. For instance, the Florida Board of Pharmacy requires pharmacy technicians to renew their licenses 12 months from initial licensure after completing 9 general hours of CPE, 1 hour of HIV/AIDS CPE, and 2 hours of medical CPE. New licensees in California are exempt from the first cycle of renewal. However, 30 hours of CPE must then be completed every two years for renewal.

The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NAPB) and the ACPE provide a simple way for pharmacy technicians to keep track of their CPE through CPE Monitor. After setting up a profile, users receive an e-Profile ID to be submitted along with their birth date when registering for CPE courses. Providers automatically transmit claims to ACPE, who in turn transmit it to NABP.

As certification renewal requirements have increased over the past decade, ACPE-providers have begun to offer many CPE courses online for pharmacy technicians. A searchable database of CPE providers is available at the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) website.

Key Curriculum for Online Pharmacy Tech Programs

Courses in an online pharmacy technician program focus on math and science topics that provide students with skills useful when working as a pharmacy technician. Examples include:

Pharmacology for Mechanical Structures

Practical pharmacology knowledge, including mechanisms of drug interactions, indications and contraindications, and side effects relating to the cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, muscular, nervous, and respiratory systems.

Community Pharmacy Practice

Skills needed to interpret, prepare, label, and maintain records of physicians' medication orders and prescriptions in a community pharmacy setting. Topics include prescription calculations, count and pour techniques, and customer service.

Pharmacy Law and Ethics

Investigation of the Federal and State laws that govern pharmacies. The course also addresses principles of ethical thought as well as how to follow proper ethical practices.

Pharmaceutical Calculations

The fundamentals of pharmaceutical measurement and the mathematics encountered in pharmaceutical practice.

Pharmacy Practice

Instruction in the professional attitudes, judgments, and technical skills to function as pharmacy technicians in the community setting. This course provides active participation in daily operations.

Must-Haves for Pharmacy Tech Programs

Deciding on an online pharmacy technician program can be challenging because of the many programs available. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an online pharmacy technician school.

Accreditation: The Seal of Approval

Before choosing an online program for pharmacy technicians, it's important to check its accreditation status. Schools receive accreditation after completing an optional, extensive process to evaluate the program's qualifications. Employers may be skeptical about hiring pharmacy technicians who did not graduate from an accredited institution. In addition, graduates from accredited institutions can be assured they will get the full benefits of their online pharmacy technician education. The following certifications apply to online pharmacy technician programs.

Preparation Timeline: Associate Degree

Students can ensure they are ready to earn their online pharmacy technician associate degree by completing required tasks on a schedule. Following a timeline or calendar of important dates can be helpful to keep students on track and eliminate the risk of missing crucial deadlines. The chart below is an example of an enrollment timeline for a pharmacy technician online associate of applied science degree.

Preparation Timeline
Time Before Program Start Date
Step 1 Graduate high school or earn GED6 months
Step 2 Research online associate degree options for pharmacy technician training5 months
Step 3 Apply to desired program; submit support materials, if necessary (transcripts, resume, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, writing sample)4 months
Step 4 Register as a Technician Trainee with the State Board, if necessary. This may include a background check and fingerprinting.3 months
Step 5 Complete FAFSA®, apply for financial aid and secure applicable grants, loans, and scholarships.2 months

In addition to the above steps, there are additional ways students can begin to prepare for an online pharmacy technician education—as well as actions they can take even after they have begun to work in the field.

Pharmacy Technician Licenses and Certifications

There are several licenses and certifications associated with pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician. Requirements vary by state, so anyone interested in becoming a pharmacy technician should check with their state's licensing board.

Similar Online Vocational Programs

After reading this guide, prospective students may wonder if a career as a pharmacy technician is right for them. For students interested in entering the medical field through the vocational track, here are three related online programs:

Online Ultrasound Technician Schools:

Students who enjoy working in the healthcare field but prefer working directly with patients may choose to attend an online ultrasound technician school. These schools teach students how to operate special imaging equipment to create images and conduct diagnostic tests.

Online Vet Tech Schools:

For students with a passion for medicine who love animals, an online vet tech school may be the ideal path. Vet tech schools prepare students to perform medical tests to diagnose animal injuries and illnesses under the supervision of licensed veterinarians.

Online Physical Therapy Assistant Programs:

Another option for students who want to work in healthcare is becoming a physical therapy assistant. Online physical therapy assistant programs instruct students how to help patients regain movement and manage pain while recovering from illnesses and injuries.

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