Pharmacy Technician Schools in Colorado Springs, CO

The US healthcare industry is larger than ever, thanks to an aging 'Boomer' population and an increased focus on the benefits of preventive wellness. This means that pharmacies are busier than ever and there are more of them than ever before too. In addition to retail and hospital pharmacies there are now pharmacies within many long term care facilities and urgent care centers and the online pharmacy business is growing too.

All of this means that the demand for pharmacy technicians is growing as well. Increasingly however for those interested in the field obtaining formal certification is a must. Which is where pharmacy technician schools come in.

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Colorado Springs vs Colorado Pharmacy Technicians Employment

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5,610
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Pharmacy Techs employed in Colorado Springs represents 14% of all PT's employed in the state of Colorado (2018, BLS) 

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

Colorado Springs has won a lot of accolades in the past few years. In 2018 it was voted 'Most Desirable Place to Live' by US News after being a runner-up the year before. It has also become known as one of the best cities for millennials and one of the most business friendly.

And as more people arrive, the more pharmacies, and pharmacy technicians are needed.

Of the 5,610 pharmacy technicians working in Colorado, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 790 of them live in Colorado Springs, and that number is likely to continue to increase as demand does. 

Salary for Pharmacy Technicians in Colorado Springs

It's a lucrative career choice, with the average hourly wage being $17.59, which translates to an average annual salary of $36,580. In the area the lowest wages, in the 10th percentile, are estimated at $12.57, rising to $24.00 in the 90th percentile.

10th Percentile

$26,140

25th Percentile

$29,820

50th Percentile

$35,390

75th Percentile

$40,830

90th Percentile

$49,910

Pharmacy Technician Schools in Colorado Springs, CO

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

There are some states in the US that mandate that an individual become a certified pharmacy tech before they can be employed as one, usually by taking and passing to PTCB certification exam. Colorado is not, at the time of writing, one of those states, but increasingly employers are mandating it anyway. Becoming certified is a sign that a potential employee has mastered the basics needed to work as a pharmacy tech effectively and that they understand all that comes along with the job.

In the past anyone who felt they would be able to pass the PTCB exam and was over 18 with a high school diploma or GED could take it. In 2020 that has changed. Now, if a candidate does not have 500 verifiable working hours as a pharmacy tech they must have completed a PTCB approved pharmacy tech program in order to sit the exam.

There are three schools in the Colorado Springs area that offer aspiring pharmacy techs the education they need.

Here's a closer look at them and what they offer.

PIMA Medical Institute [ Colorado Campus ]

Address: 5725 Mark Dabling Boulevard, Suite 150, Colorado Springs, CO 80919 | Phone: 800-477-PIMA

PIMA Medical Institute is well known technical trade school that maintains campuses all over the United States, including one in the heart of Colorado Springs. For those interested in a career as a pharmacy tech they offer a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program that prepares students to take the PTCB exam to become a certified pharmacy technician.

The school stresses that it offers adults of all ages the chance to further their career with vocational education in many fields but there is a stronger focus on enrolling working adults and those who want to begin working in the field at entry level as soon as possible.

Pima Medical Institute Pharmacy Tech Certification Program

Estimated program cost

The school's website states that in 2020 the basic cost of their Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is $14,106 and this figure does include the fee for the PTCB exam, something that students must sit within 60 days of graduation from the program.

What this figure does not include however is the cost of required books and lab supplies or the cost of mandated drug, background and medical tests. These expenses will add approximately $1,000 to the bill.

Those who qualify can make use of Federal student loans, and potentially federal and State grants to cover the cost of their tuition and supplies. Those who do not are offered the chance to pay for their course over time via a school administered payment plan. 

Basic admissions requirements

The school states that it tries to make the enrollment process for the Pharmacy Tech Certificate program as simple and accessible as possible. There are, however, a number of requirements that prospective students must meet, including all the following. To gain entry to the program students must:

  • Be at least eighteen years old, although some 16 and 17 year old students may be considered with parental permission and support
  • Be legal US residents
  • Be able to pass a school administered basic skills test, with a score of a minimum of 60 on the math portion.
  • Be able to take and pass a criminal background test. Drug testing is not mandated for admission to the program but it is mandated by both most externship employers and by the PTCB

Timelines

To accommodate as many students as possible the PIMA Institute pharmacy tech program is offered both as a full time day course and as an evening class. Those who choose to take daytime classes can expect to graduate from the program in 35 weeks while for those taking evening classes that timeline is extended by five to six weeks.

Instruction and practical exercises covered in classroom sessions give students the basic knowledge needed to pass the PTCB certification exam and work in an entry level pharmacy tech position. Students also gain valuable real world hands on training via a school arranged externship with a local employer.

Accreditation

Program Accreditation Pima Medical Institute's Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program is one of those that is approved by the PTCB, allowing students to be eligible to take their certification exam immediately after graduation. The program is also fully accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

As a whole is the school is regulated and approved by the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools, Department of Higher Education.

One thing that students do have to keep in mind before they enroll is the fact that not all schools accept credits from PIMA Medical Institute and that credits earned there may not transfer to other schools. PIMA themselves advise that students check with any other schools they may be considering later to determine if the credits they earn will be transferable before they enroll.

Pikes Peak Community College [ Colorado Springs Campus]

Address: 5675 S. Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 | Phone: 719-502-2000

Pikes Peak is a traditional community college located right in Colorado Springs that offers students access to both certificate and Associates Degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. For those who are interested in becoming a certified pharmacy tech the first step is completing the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program.

However, after they become certified students have the option to return to their studies to complete additional topic and general education classes to be awarded an Associate of Applied Science Degree.

Pikes Peak Pharmacy Technician Degree and Certificate

Whether they intend to eventually pursue an Associates Degree students must begin their Pharmacy Tech education at Pikes Peak by graduating from the Pikes Peak Pharmacy Technician Certificate program.

Estimated program cost

As Pikes Peak is a traditional college tuition is charged on a per credit basis. In 2020 the cost per credit for in state students is variable, according to their personal circumstances and eligibility for financial aid and grants. To estimate costs based on your personal situation, you can make use of the calculator offered on the school's website.

To give an idea of affordability for an in state resident living independently of their parents who is aged 18-24, eligible for financial aid and earning less $30,000 annually than the per semester cost in 2020 amounts to approximately $2,261, excluding books and supplies. We encourage you to calculate costs for yourself though as they are likely to be different.

Basic admission requirements

To be admitted to the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program at Pikes Peak student must meet a number of requirements, including all the following:

  • Students must be high school graduates or hold an equivalent GED
  • Students must have passed, or be willing to take, several prerequisite college level courses in Math, English and computer literacy. All classes can be taken at Pikes Peak.
  • Students must be able to pass both a criminal background check and a drug test
  • Students must be up to date on immunizations and hold a BLS CPR certificate

Timelines

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program is a two semester program designed to be completed in a single school year with admissions being made every spring and fall.

Classroom modules provide a technical knowledge foundation that meets and exceeds that required to pass the PTCB certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Practical modules are conducted in a classroom based lab. Students also complete, in their second semester, a number of assignments with relevant pharmacy employers in both retail and hospital settings.

After graduating from the certificate program, and obtaining their CPhT certification students can choose to return on a part time basis for an additional year to earn either a full Associate of Applied Science Degree or an Advanced Pharmacy Technician Certification. The latter calls for an additional 11 credits of classes and the former at total of 62, with their initial basic certificate having earned them 33.

Accreditation

PPCC’s Pharmacy Technician Program has been accredited by ASHP, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

Address: 500 Airport Blvd, Aurora, CO 80011 | Phone: 303-344-4910

If aspiring pharmacy tech students are willing to travel further Pickens Technical College, located in Aurora, CO, approximately sixty miles away offers a pharmacy tech certificate program that is more affordable than many while still providing students with the knowledge and experience they need to become a certified pharmacy technician.

With a stated concentration on Career Technical Education (CTE) the program is geared to adults with other responsibilities - jobs, children - which may be just what some people need.

Pickens Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program

Estimated program costs

As we mentioned, the tuition for what is still a very comprehensive course at Pickens is more affordable than some and in 2020 is $8,398.00.

It should be noted that this total represents almost all the expenses associated with both the program itself, including the medical, criminal background and drug testing fees students will accrue in order to meet both admissions requirements and those of the PTCB and externship employers. It also includes the cost of all books and lab supplies.

Most students meet these expenses by taking advantage of Federal and state student financial aid, as well as, for some, state based CTE grants. Those who do not qualify for student aid can choose to pay for the program via the school's payment program instead.

Basic admissions requirements

To be admitted into the Pharmacy Technician Certificate program offered at Pickens Technical College students must be able to satisfy the following basic requirements:

  • Students must be over the age of 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED at the time of graduation. This means that some 17 year olds can be admitted with parental consent provided they will meet these requirements at the program's end.
  • Be a legal resident of the US and prove that fact
  • Students must take, and pass, a school administered skills test that covers math, English and basic computer skills.
  • Be up to date on all required immunizations and be able to demonstrate a negative result on a TB test.
  • Take and pass both a criminal background check and a drug test.

Timelines

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program is a two semester offering designed to be completed in five months however students are given one full school year to complete. The majority of required technical lab and written work must be completed on campus, but some written assignments can be completed online. Three hour classes are offered five days a week in the early morning or mid-afternoon.

This schedule allows many of those students who have families to care for, or who work a more flexibility than some other college based pharmacy tech programs.

Students will also be required to complete an externship placement with a local pharmacy employer. The school will help arrange this to try to ensure that it best suits the student's outside school life and schedule.

Accreditation

The Pickens Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate program is one of the courses approved by the PTCB, aka the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the school itself is fully accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.

According to their website, 100% of program graduates got jobs working in the field.

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