How Long Does It Take To Get Pharmacy Tech Certification?

Considering a career in pharmacy? Find out how long it takes to get pharmacy tech certification and start your new career today!

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In order to become a pharmacy technician, you must first complete a pharmacy technician training program and then pass a certification exam. The length of time it takes to complete a pharmacy technician training program can vary depending on the school you attend and whether you attend classes full-time or part-time. Most programs can be completed in one year or less.

The certification exam is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). To be eligible to take the PTCB exam, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete an accredited pharmacy technician training program, and have no more than four months of experience working as a pharmacy technician. There is no experience requirement to take the NHA exam.

Once you have met all of the eligibility requirements, you can register for the exam. The PTCB exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 2 hours. The NHA exam also consists of 90 multiple-choice questions, but you are given 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete it.

You will receive your results immediately after completing the exam. If you pass, you will be certified as a pharmacy technician and will need to renew your certification every 2 years.

The Certification Process

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers the nationally recognized Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential. Certification examinations are available year-round at more than 5,000 Pearson VUE test centers around the world. To be eligible to sit for the PTCB exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete a training program, or have at least 1 year of work experience as a pharmacy technician.

Applying for Certification

The first step in the certification process is to submit an application. The application will ask for your personal information, education history, and work experience. You will also need to provide transcripts from your pharmacy technician program. Once your application is complete, you will submit it to the board of pharmacy in your state.

The board of pharmacy will review your application to make sure you meet the requirements for certification. If you are missing any information, they will contact you and give you a chance to submit the missing information. Once they have everything they need, they will schedule an exam date for you.

You will need to take and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) before you can become certified. The PTCE is a computer-based exam that covers topics such as pharmacology, pharmacy law, and patient safety. The exam takes about two hours to complete, and you will find out your score immediately after finishing.

Taking the Exam

To become a PTCB-certified pharmacy technician, you’ll need to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). The PTCE is a computer-based exam that consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam.

The PTCE is offered year-round at Pearson VUE testing centers. To see a list of testing center locations, visit the Pearson VUE website. Once you’ve decided on a testing center, you’ll need to create an account with Pearson VUE and register for the exam.

The fee for the PTCE is $129. You can pay by credit card, debit card, or electronic check. If you’re unable to pay the fee, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. To see if you qualify for a fee waiver, visit the PTCB website.

Once you’ve registered and paid for the exam, you’ll receive an email confirmation from Pearson VUE with your appointment date and time. You should also receive a Welcome Letter from PTCB with information on what to expect on test day and how to prepare for the exam.

Maintaining Certification

Continuing education is required to maintain pharmacy technician certification in most states. Depending on the state, recertification may be required every one to two years. Some states have continuing education requirements as a condition of renewal, while others make it voluntary.

Continuing Education

To maintain certification, pharmacy technicians must complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years. Continuing education can be obtained through many different sources, such as community colleges, technical schools, and pharmacy associations. Some employers may also offer continuing education opportunities.

Renewing Certification

Every two years, pharmacy technicians must renew their certification by completing 20 hours of continuing education and paying a renewal fee. Pharmacy technicians who let their certification lapse can reactivate it by completing 20 hours of continuing education and paying a late fee.


Although there is no set time frame, it generally takes between four to eight weeks to complete the certification process. Once you have completed all of the necessary education and exams, you will be able to start working as a pharmacy technician.

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