How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pharmacy Technician?

So, you want to be a pharmacy technician?

Before you take the leap, you should understand the costs associated with becoming a pharmacy technician such as school tuition and exam fees.

Upon completion of school, you can expect your duties as a pharmacy technician to include:

  • Locate, pack, dispense, and label medication that’s being prescribed to patients
  • Processing insurance claims
  • Keeping up with inventory
  • Filing paperwork

Pharmacy technician school costs can range between $400 and $40,000 depending on where you go to school and the program you choose.

Vocational and trade schools are much cheaper compared to a four-year degree.

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How Much Does it Cost to Complete Pharmacy Technician Trade/Vocational School?

Training programs that are taken at a trade school can cost anywhere between $700 and $12,000.

The final cost will depend on the school you attend in addition to the state you reside.

Trade schools provide a lot of hands-on training where you can gain quick exposure and graduate with a certificate.

There are also online training programs available, and most of these are self-paced.

Community College

Community colleges offer both certificate programs and associate degree programs.

Courses will help you prepare to work as a pharmacy technician.

Certificate programs taken at community colleges don’t include fine arts, math, writing, and other related courses that you may take in an associate’s degree program.

Additionally, you can enroll in an associate’s degree program within a community college.

Here you can expect to earn at least 60 hours compared to the 21 you would earn if you were to enroll in a certificate program.

Associate’s degree programs take about two years to complete and cost more than trade schools.

Furthermore, community colleges don’t offer bachelor’s degree programs.

However, you can transfer to a university once you have completed your associate’s degree program from a community college.

If you choose to move on to earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy (although not required to become a pharmacy technician) tuition can be as high as $95,000 a year.

Trade School vs. College by Numbers

National AverageFour-Year CollegeTwo-Year CollegeTrade School
Average Cost$5,000 to $95,000$12,500 to $40,000$700 to $12,000
Time to Complete4 years2 yearsUp to 6 months
Other ExpensesBooks/Supplies/EquipmentBooks/Supplies/EquipmentBooks
AwardBachelor's degreeAssociate's degreeCertificate

How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician License Cost?

There are a couple of different certifications you can receive as a pharmacy technician.

Both of them have different costs and requirements for recertification.

Again, these costs will vary depending on where you live.

The average cost to take the CPhT exam (Certified Pharmacy Technician) is $129.

You will also have to pay $49 to renew your certification every two years.

Additionally, the ExCPT exam (Certified Pharmacy Technician) costs $117.

This certification must be renewed every two years.

The renewal fee is $55.

The following states require certification for pharmacy technicians:

  • Arizona
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Idaho
  • Maryland
  • Louisiana
  • Massachusetts
  • New Mexico
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Washington

From this list, several of these states such as Arizona and Illinois, require pharmacy techs to not only obtain a license but certification as well.

Other states such as Louisiana and New Mexico do not issue licenses to pharmacy technicians.

They do, however, require pharmacy techs to have the necessary certification and registration.

What are the Additional Costs After Becoming a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy technicians must purchase and wear the appropriate work attire.

This includes business casual clothing.

Other pharmacies require their technicians to wear scrubs and comfortable shoes.

There aren’t too many additional costs besides the obvious.

You will need to have a vehicle to get to and from work.

You will also need to supply your vehicle with gas and have adequate insurance.

If you don’t have a car, you will need to find another option for reliable transportation.

A cell phone is also needed.

Equipment that pharmacy techs use to perform their jobs will be provided to them, including:

  • Lab balances
  • Lab blenders
  • Tube filling machines
  • Automatic bottle-filling machines
  • Computer-operated dispensing equipment
  • Tablet coating machine

Is Becoming a Pharmacy Technician Worth the Investment?

The costs associated with becoming a pharmacy technician will vary.

Factors determining exact costs will depend on the school you attend, exam and licensing costs, and additional expenses needed to start your career.

On average, pharmacy techs make $37,790 per year.

Employment is expected to increase by 6 percent from 2022 to 2032.

This is above average compared to other professions.

Approximately 44,900 job openings for pharmacy technicians are expected every year over the next ten years.

With that being said, if you believe a job as a pharmacy technician suits you, and you’re prepared to make the necessary investments, you should consider taking the initial step.

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