Career Step

Pharmacy Technician - online certificate program with Career Step.

Career Step Information PageThe following information is from the Career Step site, with added commentary from Rob

“Career Step occasionally provides discounts or other free items. For January 2017 they are offering a FREE laptop (or $400 off tuition).”

Complete Transparency: I want to be up front here. I had the opportunity to be a consultant on Career Step’s pharmacy technician program. My consult work was to review every pharmacy technician module for completeness and accuracy. Because of this relationship, I am very familiar with the content and the program. At first, I was concerned that an online program couldn’t teach as well as a campus based program. The people at Career Step have gone the extra mile to make the online learning experience just as good. I have a proposal for you so read on.

By clicking on the links to the Career Step program on this page, you will be taken to my personal referral page (which has a nice demo of the program). Unlike some of the other referral links for schools that pay a few dollars per referral, I have optioned to not be compensated for referrals, but for people who actually sign up. I believe in this program enough to know that people who sign up will get a good education.

Here is my proposal: If you review the information on this program and are interested, sign up for the free information and check out the program demo. If you decide to sign up for the program, let me know ( that you signed up through my referral (Referrer ID: ref11435) and I will personally answer any questions you have while you are studying the modules. They do offer some phone counseling, but you will be the only students with access to a licensed pharmacist with specialized training on pharmacy technician development. I want this to be a win-win for both of us and to ensure your success. I can only do this with Career Step, because I know the material intimately.

Pharmacy Technician - online certificate program with Career Step.
What You Get With Career Step

    Externship opportunity with Walgreens or CVS pharmacy

    Unlimited student and technical support

    Lifetime access to student forums and chat rooms

    Comprehensive Pocket Guide for Technicians drug reference handbook

    Access to Career Step’s The Pharmacy Counter newsletter blog

    Certificate of Graduation upon completion

    Personal consultation with an employment advisor (they have experienced pharmacy technicians doing this, I worked with Rebekah during module development, she rocks!)

    Personalized interview tutorials and training (I can add to this as well, I have interviewed many technicians as a pharmacy manager)

    Individual resume and cover letter review, tips, and advice (you can send me your resume for review)

    Access to Career Step’s help hotline for a full year after graduation

    14 in-depth pharmacy technician training modules (modules are listed below)

    Training on pharmacy management simulation software (their software is great for helping you memorize difficult concepts, and some are fun too)

    Preparation for careers in both retail and institutional settings

    Final Exam designed to prepare you for your PTCB Exam experience

Click Here to go to a free information request page and to see a demo of the program. Click on the “View a Course Demo” tab on the right side of the page.

Pharmacy Technician Modules: I was one of the main pharmacists who reviewed these modules for accuracy and completeness for Career Step. This is the main reason I recommend this program, I know it provides good content at a reasonable price. In the Institutional Pharmacy section I also happen to be the guy in the sterile compounding videos (yes it is my big break, but my face is covered, alas . . . I must not be meant for Hollywood)

    Program : In this module, the student will be introduced to the Pharmacy Technician training program. A learning objective for each of the modules in the program is presented, along with information on navigating and using the features and functions of the online program.

    Working at a Pharmacy: This module provides an overview of pharmacy practice settings and describes the differences between the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. It also outlines pharmacists’ expectations for their pharmacy technicians.

    Computer Fundamentals: In this module, the student will become familiar with basic computer skills, including using hardware, software, and the Internet.

    Keyboard Kinetics: This module will teach the student typing basics and help increase their efficiency on the computer keyboard for the input of patient, prescription, and insurance information. (if your typing skills aren’t great, this typing program is great for increasing speed and accuracy)

    Pharmacology: This module will introduce the student to the science of pharmacology, including drug actions and effects, dosage forms and routes of administration, and drug classifications. Students will learn the generic and brand names of common medications, as well as their uses. The module also provides an overview of drug references and other resources available to pharmacy technicians.

    Pharmacy Law, Regulations, and Standards: In this module, the student will learn about U.S. pharmacy law and its effects, including the regulation of controlled substances and confidentiality of patient medical records. The student will learn about regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Ethics for pharmacy technicians are also addressed.

    Business of Pharmacy: This module teaches essential communication skills, customer service techniques, and payment processing. Students will receive training in insurance billing, including an overview of private and government insurance plans. This module also provides training in inventory management for both retail and institutional settings.

    Prescriptions: In this module, the student will learn to create and review patient profiles and to read prescriptions, including common abbreviations. They will also learn the steps of the dispensing process, such as counting, packaging, and labeling. Information is included about special prescription types as well as avoiding medication errors.

    Pharmaceutical Calculations: This module begins with an overview of basic mathematic principles and their applications in the pharmacy. Students will learn about and practice dosage calculations, systems of measurement, compounding calculations, preparing injectable and intravenous medications, and business mathematics.

    Nonsterile Compounding: This module teaches the basics of nonsterile compounding in the pharmacy. It also includes step-by-step instructions for filling capsules, making lozenges, reconstituting powders, creating suspensions, and preparing ointments, creams, and gels.

    Retail Pharmacy Practice: In this module, the student will learn about factors specific to the retail pharmacy, such as over-the-counter medications. They will also use simulated pharmacy software to practice entering patient data, processing prescriptions and refills, processing third-party claims, verifying cash pricing, and producing audit logs.

    Institutional Pharmacy Practice: In this module, the student will learn about factors specific to the institutional pharmacy. This encompasses hospital organization, inpatient drug distribution, aseptic technique, sterile compounding, and hazardous agents. Step-by-step instructions are given for preparing oral syringes, filling medication carts and floor stock, charging and refilling crash carts, aseptic hand washing, garbing, hood cleaning, using ampules, preparing parenteral solutions, and preparing sterile powder drug vials.

    Preparing for the Workforce: This module provides information about specific state requirements for pharmacy technicians in the United States, including explanations of registration, licensure, and certification. It also describes the certification exams and gives tips on preparing for and taking them.

    Final Exam Preparation: Upon completion of the program, students will have the opportunity to assess their skills through a final exam. This module contains information about the structure of the exam, tips for passing it, and how to schedule a time to take it.

Do you want to see a demo of the program? Go here and click on the “View a Course Demo” tab on the right side of the page.

Program cost

    The program cost $1995 (significantly less than nearly all campus based programs). This includes the 6 book companion series (a recent addition, due to popular demand of students), and they provide a voucher for taking the PTCB exam (currently priced at $129).

    Career Step occasionally provides discounts or other free items. For January 2017 they are offering a FREE laptop (or $400 off tuition).

    By signing up through my referral link you will get a $50 credit. (some promotional offers do not allow for both discounts, but some do, so make sure you ask)

    Career Step also takes MyCAA (a program for military members and spouses). This may cover all your costs for this program.

Tuition Assistance/Payment Plans

    3 monthly installments
    – 0 interest
    – Down payment, shipping and handling, sales tax, and the cost of any upgrades due at time of enrollment.
    – Remaining balance divided into 3 equal payments to be paid over the next 3 consecutive months.

    12 monthly installments
    – 8% interest
    – Down payment, shipping and handling, sales tax, and the cost of any upgrades due at time of enrollment.
    – Remaining balance divided into 12 equal payments to be paid over the next 12 consecutive months.

    MOUNTAIN AMERICA CREDIT UNION – Mountain America Credit Union offers students an Education Line of Credit to help them reach their education goals.
    – The Education Line of Credit is only available to students who qualify in the states of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.
    – If you would like to learn more about the process of how to apply for an Education Line of Credit with Mountain America Credit Union, please contact one of our financial aid advisors at 1-800-411-7073 or at

    STATE ASSISTANCE – If you need financial assistance to pay for your enrollment or are an individual with a disability, check with your local Workforce Service or Vocational Rehabilitation office to determine if you qualify for one of their programs.

    Career Step is currently an eligible training provider with Workforce Services in many states and is an approved vendor with Vocational Rehabilitation in most states. For the most up-to-date information on Career Step’s status in your state, please contact our Special Services Coordinator at 1-800-411-7073.

    Click Here to go to a free information request page and to see a demo of the program. Click on the “View a Course Demo” tab on the right side of the page.

    Pharmacy Technician - online certificate program with Career Step.

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  1. Eric.. i live in indiana and am close to the border of ohio whats the best certification I can get to work in either state

  2. Hi Rob! my name is fabricia .. im like to become pharmacy tech in florida… what is the education to become a pharmacy tech? do I have to go to school to start working in any pharmacy?

  3. Hi Amany, I wish I had better news for you, so here it goes. For Tennessee you will be fine getting licensed with either program and then completing PTCB. In Florida, they have strict school criteria and neither school is on the approved list based on my research. I updated the Florida page under schools to link to the Florida school listing document. Take a look and consider doing one of those schools.

  4. Just wanted to let you know of a great supplement for those studying for the national exam. The book is from Tech Lectures and has won two national awards in the past three years. It comes in a study packet with free email support. Affordable, heck yes.

    Regards, Joe Medina, CPhT

  5. hi i am amy
    i am interest to be a technical pharmacist. I live in TN ,is this online programs Penn-Foster & Career Step help me so fare ?
    and also i planning to live in Florida after 6 month my question is if i finished the studying and the PTCB exam it will be accept in Florida in this case ?thanks in advance !

  6. Hi Jake,
    No, but you can complete the Career Step program and then obtain your PTCB (which the program will provide the education you need to pass).

  7. Is this program approved for the State of Georgia?

  8. Hi Tara,

    One thing that is nice about Career Step is that they accept MyCAA funding. For South Carolina I am still checking, South Carolina lists what education needs to be completed, but does not approve any specific program. The list of items are covered by the program as best as I can tell. I have a formal request in to find out.


  9. I am a military spouse and am currently living in Va. However will be moving to Sc in about a year. Will this course meet the Sc requirements?

  10. For California, it will not count as an approved program; however, I recommend completing Career Step and then obtaining your PTCB. You can become licensed in Cali with your PTCB. You will then have formal training, an externship (through Career Step), and PTCB national certification. This will be good on a resume. This is a nice option because you can do it much faster than campus based training and likely for a lot less (and you can get a laptop or iPad right now). You can also work around your current schedule. I must place the disclaimer that you need to have more discipline when completing an online program because you get to decide when you train, versus a class schedule that forces you to go and stay caught up. If you know you would struggle in staying motivated and on task, then you may want to consider a class based program. Let me know if you decide to do the Career Step, I offer my support if you go through my referral. Best of luck, -rob

  11. I am interested in this program but i don't know if it helps me to get a license in California

  12. Hi Amanda, it is not approved in New Mexico, but you can use it to help pass the PTCB and use your one year to land a job and complete the 220 hours of on-the-job training and documentation. I would also consider looking at campus based programs that are approved near you, you can check by going to the state page and scrolling down to the campus based school section. Best of luck -Rob

  13. Can you tell me if I can use this program to become licensed in New Mexico?

  14. Hi Tom, yes and no. You can use Career Step to learn how to become a pharmacy technician and pass the PTCB exam. You can request Career Step to help you find an externship, which will get you your 20 hours of training with pharmacist. This will work. Your other option is to find a pharmacy willing to complete the 2080 yours of training (which is one year at 40 hours/week). I like the PTCB and 20 hour option my self. -Rob

  15. Hi Tina, thank you for the kind words. The Career Step course is as long as you want to make it, You get to do it at your pace. having said that, they expect you to finish in less than 6 months. I know people have done it in less than 2 months. The externship is not guaranteed, because it depends on the availability of the pharmacies they have contracted with in your area. In San Diego, you should have a pretty good shot at an externship, but you can also call them and ask if they have one near your home. They would help you set up the externship as well. Let me know how it goes if you decide to do it. Thanks again, -Rob

  16. Hi Sonia, I think I answered this by email, but just in case others are reading this. Career Step is not an approved program in Illinois. you can use it to help obtain PTCB and land a job, and then you can use the Pharmacist in Charge training to meet pharmacy technician requirements in Illinois. It is more risky than just going to an approved program, but it is likely less expensive as well. -Rob

  17. Hi Rob, first off, thanks for taking the time to answer all of our questions! My name is Tina and I live in San Diego. How long is the career step course and will there be a guaranteed externship? If so, would it be something I would have to set up or will career step help with the process?

  18. Hi Linda, Career Step does not currently have approval in Florida. I strongly recommend finding a course near your home. Such as a community college. You can also check the technical schools search on the home page right side bar or the schools liste on the Florida page. -Rob

  19. My daughter is interested in doing an online pharmacy tech program. We live in Florida which requires a state licenses and completion of a board approved pharmacy technician training program. Will this program qualify?

  20. Hi Marc, the externship is critical. I recommend you do the Penn Foster externship (even if you have to set it up yourself). Whatever they can do to help is great. The difference between an externship and volunteering is an externship is often more structured, but both will get you experience. It sounds like the one hospital has some human resource policies that make it difficult to just volunteer, that is a bummer. Keep looking for hospitals that will let you volunteer for experience or will allow yo uto set up an externship through Penn Foster. The other thing to consider is asking to be brught on PRN, this will get your foot in the door. We hire a lot of PRN staff first and then move them to part-time or full-time positions. Don't be picky here, go for every position out there. Check to see all the jobs in your area. Have someone check your resume and make sure you do not have any errors. When you get an interview, where a dress shirt and tie. Also, look for a small mom and pop (owned and operated by the pharmacist, think non-chain) retail pharmacy, they have more flexability and will likely take a volunteer/externship since it is essentially free labor. This will give you experience to place on your resume. If you do a good job, they might even keep you on PRn (since you did free training). Best of luck, -Rob

  21. Hi Rob,
    Thank you for this very helpful website.
    I'm from Arizona. I completed the Pharmacy Tech program from Penn Foster last February. I passed the PTCB exam last July on the first attempt without any prior experience and I'm already licensed. Unfortunately, I'm having trouble finding a job since they require experience. I've applied in retail, hospital and even posted my resume online. I got some phone calls from different agencies but they require experience.
    I'm planning to volunteer at the hospital, my question is what's the difference between volunteering and doing the externship? One of the hospital told me that they don't allow CPhTs to volunteer in the pharmacy since it's a paid position. And if I volunteer they won't put me in just one area.
    Penn Foster has an optional externship but I have to make the arrangements myself, they will not help me with that. What should I ask them (hospital/facility)? What are the requirements and how's the process like in order to get in the pharmacy? I'm still confused 'coz this is my 1st time doing this, so I really don't know and have no idea what to expect. I just really want to get a hands on training and learn as much as I can. Can you give me more tips, any information will be highly appreciated.
    Thank you Rob! I look forward to your reply. God bless you!