Pharmacy Technician Schools in Boulder, CO

Becoming a pharmacy technician is increasingly an appealing career choice for many. It's a challenging, but satisfying, way to work in the healthcare profession without the need for five to seven years of formal schooling and yet still make a difference in patients' lives every day.

The field is also a well paid and in demand one. The number of pharmacies is increasing, both nationwide and in the State of Colorado specifically. Not only are retail and hospital pharmacies expanding their reach but the number of them in urgent care and long term care facilities is increasing as well. This means that the employment outlook for those aspiring to become a pharmacy tech is good.

The state of Colorado does not currently mandate that a person must hold formal pharmacy technician certification in the way that some other states do, but that does not mean that doing so should be overlooked. Most employers now demand it, whatever the state says, as certification implies that candidate meets a minimum standard of knowledge and experience that will help ensure that the needs of patients are met properly.

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Boulder vs Colorado Pharmacy Technicians Employment

boulder

colorado

330
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5,610
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Pharmacy Techs employed in the Boulder metropolitan area represents 6% of all PT's employed in the state of Colorado (2018, BLS) 

Total Pharmacy Technicians employed in Colorado state (2018, BLS)

Known for its snow sports friendliness and its breathtaking beauty Boulder, Co is a vibrant place that often appears on best of lists as a great place to live and work. It's even been named one of the 'happiest' cities in the USA on several occasions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 5,610 people employed as certified pharmacy technicians in the State of Colorado, and of those people 330 live in Boulder. As demand for their services grows that number is likely to as well.

Salaries for Boulder based pharmacy techs are increasing too. Currently, the average hourly wage paid is $17.69, which translates as an annual salary of $36,800. Even the starting salaries are reasonably good, with the lowest compensation - the 10th percentile - averaging $13.13 per hour rising to $23.43 in the 90th percentile.

Salary Percentiles for Pharmacy Technicians in Boulder

Salaries for Boulder based pharmacy techs are increasing too. Currently, the average hourly wage paid is $17.69, which translates as an annual salary of $36,800. Even the starting salaries are reasonably good, with the lowest compensation - the 10th percentile - averaging $13.13 per hour rising to $23.43 in the 90th percentile.

10th Percentile

$27,310

25th Percentile

$31,790

50th Percentile

$36,800

75th Percentile

$41,280

90th Percentile

$48,730

Pharmacy Technician Schools in Boulder, CO

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Many of Boulder's pharmacy technicians are graduates of the 3 accredited pharmacy technician schools in the city.

In order to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician - CPhT - one must pass a certification exam set by the PTCB. In the past anyone who felt they had the knowledge and experience to pass it could pay to take it, but in 2020 that has changed.

Now, in order to sit the certification exam students must either be able to prove they have at least 500 hours as a working pharmacy tech or have completed an approved pharmacy tech certificate program. As it is getting harder and harder to find work in the field without formal certification for most people the latter route is the one they are taking.

In the Boulder, CO area there are three schools that offer a PTCB approved certificate program. Each of them has something different to offer and to help you understand what that is, and which of them may be best suited to your needs here is a look at all three.

PIMA Medical Institute [Denver Campus]

Address: 7475 Dakin Street, Suite 100 Denver CO 80221 | Phone: 800-477-PIMA

Specializing in vocational education in the healthcare field, PIMA Medical Institute is a national private college that maintains campuses across the country, including one in Denver which is most conveniently located for students living in the Boulder, CO area, as it is just a 30-mile trip from one to the other and the school's campus is located near major highways, making for an easy commute.

As a private school specializing in career education, PIMA appeals to students of all ages but especially to adults who may already be working and looking to make a career change.

Pima Medical Institute Pharmacy Tech Certification Program

Estimated program cost

Pima Medical Institute's website states that in 2020 the tuition cost associated with their Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is $14,106. This total includes the fee for all classes and the entrance fee to sit the PTCB certification test upon graduation.

This total does not reflect the cost of drug and background testing, books and other supplies, which, the school estimates, adds another $800-$1,000 to the total cost.

For those who qualify, Federal and State student financial aid is available, as are a limited number of grants, including a Pell Grant for those who do not hold a degree. Students who do not qualify for government student aid can apply for the school's own payment plan to spread the cost of their education out into more affordable payments.

Basic admissions requirements

While the school seeks to accommodate as many students as possible, of all ages and of different education levels there are minimum standards that students must meet to enter the PIMA Institute Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program. These include the following:

  • Students must be over the age of 18, or, if they have parental permission and support, the age of 16.
  • Students must be willing to take, and able to pass a criminal background test. Drug testing is required to sit the PTCB exam, and by many employers but it is not a condition for entrance into this program.
  • Students must be legal residents and able to prove such
  • Students must take and pass a basic skills test set by the school that covers math, English and computer literacy.

Timelines

The Pima Medical Institute strives to serve as many people as possible and to that end the Pharmacy Tech program is designed to offer flexibility, so both day and evening programs are offered.

Students choosing to enroll in the day programs can expect to graduate in 35 weeks.

For evening students the timeframe to graduation is a little longer, around 40 weeks. New classes form every six to eight weeks and are offered year round.

In addition to their basic classroom training program participants are required to complete 250 hours of ' real world' hands on training via an externship with a local employer that can be arranged either by the school or the student themselves.

The PIMA Medical Institute Pharmacy Technician Certificate program provides all the basic technical and practical knowledge needed to pass the PTCB certification exam.

Towards the end of the program, as graduation nears, students are given additional access to an online library of past papers and other revision materials to help them prepare for the test.

Accreditation

The PIMA Medical Institute Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program is fully accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and accepted as a suitable qualification program by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

In addition, the school itself is approved by the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools, Department of Higher Education.

PIMA Medical Institute does warn students that credits earned from their the Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program may not be fully transferable to other schools in the future, and advise that students should check that for themselves prior to enrollment.

Address: 3645 West 112th Avenue, Westminster, CO 80031 | Phone: (303) 404-5000

Front Range Community College is a traditional and well established community college that offers affordable education at both the certificate and Associates Degree level in a wide range of disciplines. For aspiring pharmacy techs the school offers a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program at its Westminster Campus, located about 20 miles outside Boulder.

As it is a community college the school offers a more collegiate campus experience and while all students are accepted the student body tends to be a younger one. If you are looking for a 'college experience' as well as the education needed to pass the PTCB then this may be the right school choice for you.

Front Range Community College Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program

Estimated program cost

The tuition for the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program at Front Range is charged on a traditional per credit basis. The program runs for two semesters which is equal to 27 In 2020 the school's website states that the per credit cost for an in state student at Front Range is $210.01.

This means that on average the program will cost approximately $5,670. Students will also need to purchase books and lab equipment and pay various testing fees, something that may add up to $800 to that total.

Federal and state student financial aid is available for those students who qualify, as are a limited number of grants. How much is available is dependent on a student's personal status and circumstances, but the school maintains a financial aid department which can help you determine just what your final costs will be ahead of enrollment.

Basic admission requirements

As it is an 'open enrollment' school anyone over the age of 17 - even if still in high school - can apply to Front Range Community College. To gain access to the Pharmacy Tech certificate program students do not need to hold a high school diploma or GED, as long as they can pass a school set entrance test.

It should be noted however that as of 2020 aspiring pharmacy techs are required to have a high school diploma or GED to take the PTCB exam, so students should be working to complete one of these options before graduation from the pharmacy certificate program.

There are some additional acceptance requirements that are unique to medical programs. Entrance into the Front Range Pharmacy Tech Certificate program calls for all students to be up to date with basic immunizations and to hold a BLS CPR certification from the American Heart Association. Students should also be prepared to take and pass a drug test and a criminal background check.

Timelines

The Front Range Community College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program takes two full semesters to complete. The first semester is classroom based and covers the theoretical and technical knowledge needed to pass the pharmacy tech certification test

The second semester of the program moves out of the classroom and sees students complete two five-week experiential modules in community pharmacy settings, something that not only meets the practical experience requirement for the PTCB test but also offers students a taste of what working as a pharmacy technician will be like once they become certified.

As they near graduation from the program Front Range pharmacy tech students are given access to additional online and classroom resources to help them study for their certification exam. These materials are offered at no additional cost.

Accreditation

The Front Range Community College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is nationally accredited by the ASHP and approved as a suitable training program by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

Credits earned at Front Range in the Pharmacy Tech program are transferable to other colleges, as the school is fully accredited by the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education (SBCCOE), the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), the Colorado State Approving Agency for Veterans Education and Training, and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Some students, after becoming a certified pharmacy tech do choose to return to the school to take additional classes needed to apply to a school of pharmacy to become a licensed pharmacist.

Address: 1860 Lincoln Street Denver, CO 80203 | Phone: (720) 423-4700

Emily Griffith Technical College is located in Denver, making it a 30 mile, 45 minute commute for aspiring pharmacy technicians from Boulder.

The reason that some may want to make that commute is that the school has a reputation for being one of the most affordable technical schools in the area as well as one of the most inclusive.

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program offered at Emily Griffith Technical College is one that is designed for working adults who want to start working in the field as soon as possible and its affordability and shorter length does make it appeal to many of those people and may be a great choice for you.

Emily Griffith Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program

Estimated program costs

According to the school's website, the tuition cost for their Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program in 2020 is $3,738. This figure does not reflect the additional cost of books, supplies or fees for drug and background testing. These costs add an additional $700-$900 to the final total.

Those who qualify can apply for Federal financial aid to cover the cost of the program and some may be eligible for state grants as well. Students who cannot/do not want to take out government backed student loans can take advantage of the school's own payment plan instead.

Basic admissions requirements

While Emily Griffith Technical College tries to accommodate as many students as possible there are requirements to be met by all students before and during enrollment in their Pharmacy Tech program, including the following:

  • Students are required to hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Students must be over the age of 18
  • Students must complete a student survey detailing why they would like to enter the program
  • Students must take and pass a school set entrance examination covering English, math and basic computer skills
  • Students must have all required vaccinations and have recently tested negative for TB
  • Students must agree to, and pass, drug and criminal background tests.

Timelines

The completion timeline for the Emily Griffith Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate is around three months in terms of classroom based training with an additional 200- 250 hours spent in an externship with a local employer to meet the practical experience requirement set by the PTCB.

Some elements of the classroom learning can be completed online at home, but students can expect to do most of it on campus. Classes are offered three times a year and at times that accommodate as many students as possible, including some evening classes. Exact class schedules and start dates are posted on the school's website.

As students approach graduation, they will need to begin studying for the PTCB certification test as it must be taken within 60 days of graduation from the program. To help them in this students are given access to past papers and other revision aids as well as to additional help from instructors if they need it.

Accreditation

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program at Emily Griffith Technical College is fully accepted and accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists and is deemed an acceptable course to the PTCB. Emily Griffith Technical College itself is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).

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