Pharmacy Technician Programs in Tampa, FL
With a population that is increasingly aging, and a rising number of people with access to better health insurance the number of pharmacies in Tampa, FL is increasing too, and, as these facilities need people to help them operate so are the number of job opportunities for pharmacy technicians as well.
While Florida is not a state that requires licensure to work as a pharmacy tech - only registration - most employers do prefer to hire certified pharmacy techs. In years past the exams that lead to pharmacy technician certification - the PTCE or the less common ExCPT -could be taken by those with as few as 100 practical hours experience without formal schooling.
That is no longer the case, as to take the PTCE, one now needs to have completed 500 hours or have attended a program offered at an approved pharmacy technician school. The good news for those interested in becoming a pharmacy technician these programs are not too lengthy, most are reasonably affordable and there are a number of different choices available to Tampa residents which we will be taking a look at here.
Tampa vs Florida Pharmacy Technicians Employment
There are 33,730 registered pharmacy technicians in Florida as of 2021 (1).
Of those, 5,330 live in the Tampa- St. Petersburg- Clearwater metro area.
Pharmacy techs employed in the Tampa- St. Petersburg- Clearwater metro area represents 17% of all PT's employed in the state of Florida.
Salary for Pharmacy Technicians in Tampa
The vocation is a reasonably well paid one.
In Tampa pharmacy techs earn an average of $36,510 per year or $17.55 per hour (2).
The lowest wages a pharmacy tech earns, usually those paid to new techs just starting out, are reported at $13.97 or less per hour in the 10th percentile but that rises as high as $22.22 or more per hour (3).
Pharmacy Technician Schools in Tampa, FL
Different people look for different things in an educational institution.
For some affordability is the biggest consideration, while for others location and flexibility of class schedules is very important as well.
In Tampa, FL there are currently five schools that offer pharmacy technician programs that give students the knowledge and tools they need to become a certified pharmacy technician.
Here's a brief overview of what each of these schools has to offer.
1. Concorde Career Institute [Tampa Campus]
The Concorde Institute, which is located in Northeastern Tampa, near the airport, has been offering vocational courses across a number of niches, including pharmacy technician, for over 40 years. The school, while being a good option for any student, is especially geared towards those who want a 'faster track' to work or adults who are looking to make a career change.
Concorde Institute Pharmacy Technician Program
The Pharmacy Technician program offered at the Tampa campus is a diploma program that can be completed in as little as six months if a student attends on a full time basis.
The program is described as a 'hybrid' program, as course work is completed both online at a student's own pace - and on their schedule - and, for the practical portions of the course, on campus in the school's real life laboratories.
Estimated program cost
The cost of attending Concorde Institute varies according to a student's age, living situation, current income and legal state of residence. The school does provide a financial calculator on their website so that each individual can determine what their costs might be. Federal financial aid is available to those who qualify and most students receive a Federal Pell Grant that offsets a portion of the cost of tuition.
To be admitted to the Concorde Institute Pharmacy Technician program students must be over the age of 18, a US citizen or legal permanent resident and have a high school diploma or GED. Students are required to be aware of the fact they will need to pass both drug and criminal background checks, as well as take and pass a basic CPR class in order to graduate and take their PTCE or ExCPT certification exam and register with the State of Florida as a pharmacy technician.
The Pharmacy Technician program at Concorde Institute is designed to offer students both the technical and the practical skills they need to pass their certification exams after graduation and to begin working in their field. A special emphasis is put on the role of the pharmacy technician as a patient and community advocate, as well as on the skills needed to ensure compliance with both state and Federal laws and insurance company guidelines.
Here's a sample of the modules you can expect to cover:
- Introduction to Pharmacy Practice Lab
- Pharmacology I Lab
- Pharmacology II Lab
- Compounding and Aseptic Techniques
- Externship I & II
The Concorde Institute Pharmacy Technician Program is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and licensed by the Commission for Independent Education, Florida Department of Education.
Address: Concorde Career Institute 4202 W. Spruce Tampa, FL 33607
2. Pinellas Technical College [St. Petersburg Campus]
For over 50 years Pinellas Technical College has been offering local students of all ages the chance to complete a vocational education that will help them move into a well paid technical field.
Pinellas Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program offered at Pinellas Technical College is a 1,050 hour course that awards credits that can later be applied towards a Pharmacy Management, A.A.S./A.S. Degree.
The course can be taken as a blended program, with much of the written coursework completed online with practical classes being completed on campus. In order to do so however students must pass a computer proficiency test.
How long the course takes to complete depends on the pace a student takes it at, but most finish in less than twelve months.
Estimated program costs
The cost of attending the program, for Florida State Residents, was $4,642.23 in 2019, inclusive of all book, lab and testing fees, including the $129 PTCB certification exam fee and the $109 Florida Professional Registration fee.
Available financial aid includes the Federal Pell Grant and various state agency scholarships and any additional balance can be met via a private student loan from an organization like Sallie Mae.
In order to be admitted to the Pharmacy Technician Program students need to be 18 years of age at the time of graduation, have -or be working towards - a high school diploma or GED and be willing to take and pass criminal background and drug tests, meet minimum vaccination requirements and take and pass a basic CPR course.
Student's competency in reading, math, and language is pre-assessed using the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). Required basic skills grade levels are: Reading-10, Math-11, and Language-10.
The coursework covers every aspect of the knowledge and skills required to become a certified and working pharmacy technician in both a retail and hospital setting and offers a special focus on the latter, a career path that is often more lucrative.
The program length is 1050 hours with a self-paced format conducive to individualized learning; 90 hours of health core, 360 hours of community pharmacy, and 600 hours of institutional pharmacy.
Distance Education: Students with proficient computer skills may opt for enrollment into the blended online pharmacy technician program which is a combination of both distance learning and live classroom activities. Whether the student chooses the blended online or the onsite class, the lessons are the same and available online to both groups.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Program at Pinellas College is a highly respected one and it is accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the State of Florida Department of Health (DOH), Department of Pharmacy.
Phone: (727) 893-2500
Address: 901 34th Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33711
3. Altierus Career College [Tampa Campus]
Altierus Career College offers education that is geared towards adult students who need flexibility and affordability when it comes to their vocational education.
The school, which is located in the heart of Tampa, ensures that students enrolled in its programs - including the 8-month Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program - only need to attend classes for a few hours three times a week, with other coursework completed online - so that learning can be easily fit into a busy schedule.
Altierus Career College Pharmacy Technician Diploma
The Altierus Career College Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program is a 48 credit, 8-month program that calls for work to be completed online as well as in the school's pharmaceutical lab.
Estimated program costs
The school advertises that it charges a single price for the course, inclusive of everything needed, including testing and registration fees. The total cost of the course, for a Florida State resident, was $14,700 and financial aid, including Federal Pell Grants and other state based grants is available to those who qualify.
In an attempt to make vocational education available to as many as possible in lieu of a high school diploma or GED prospective students can take a school administered skills test to gain admission to the Pharmacy Technician program. They must be willing to take drug and background tests and to meet basic vaccination requirements before graduation and taking their certification exam.
Much of the technical, written portions of the course can be completed by students online, and these modules cover the knowledge needed to pass the Pharmacy Technician certification exams offered by both the PTCB and the ASHP. The practical portions of the course which are completed on campus cover both lab work and soft skills training in areas like customer service and patient advocacy.
Here are the main takeaways for this program:
- 8-month diploma program
- 3 times/per week on campus + online coursework
- 48 credits
- 280 classroom hours + 280 lab hours
- 200 externship hours
The program is accredited by the ASHP and approved by the PTCB and the State of Florida Department of Health (DOH), Department of Pharmacy.
Phone: (833) 692-4264
Address: 3319 W. Hillsborough Avenue,Tampa FL 33614
4. Ultimate Medical Academy [Online]
The Ultimate Medical Academy, as it name suggests, specializes in vocational education for adults who want to enter the medical field, including becoming a pharmacy technician. The Pharmacy Technician program is not, however, campus based. It is, instead, online based with the practical requirements for certification being met via an externship.
Health Sciences - Pharmacy Technician (Associate Degree) Course (Online)
The coursework for the Pharmacy Technician Training Program offered by Ultimate Medical is completed completely online on a student's own schedule. The course ultimately leads to an Associate’s Degree in Health Sciences, although students may be ready to take their certification exam after completing their 180-hour practical externship and begin working before completing the whole course. Most students graduate within two years, many within 18 months.
Estimated program costs
The course is a 1080 clock hours/61.5 semester credits course and tuition is charged on a per credit basis. The cost of credits varies according to a student's personal situation and financial aid eligibility.
The school offers consultations with Financial Aid specialists to help interested individuals determine what their costs will be.
As the program is an Associates Degree Program the requirements for admission are stricter than some other pharmacy technician programs. Students must hold a high school diploma and meet basic GPA standards. They must also be able to pass a drug and background test, meet CPR training standards and take prerequisite general education credits in addition to pharmacy specific courses.
The bulk of the online coursework completed for the Associates Degree Program relates to the medical field and pharmacy technology but classes in English, Math and other electives are required as well.
You’ll study the human body (anatomy), diseases, math (for making dosage calculations) and more.
Students must maintain an acceptable average to remain enrolled. The school does help arrange the 180 hour externship - which is not paid - and tries to find students a position that is as convenient for them as possible.
The degree program is approved by the PTCB and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). The school itself is accredited by Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Address: 9309 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33612
5. Brewster Technical College [Tampa Campus]
Brewster Technical College is a public post-secondary technical college that is part of Hillsborough County Public Schools, and students must be residents of the school district to attend. While it is geared mainly towards high school seniors and new graduates, adult learners are welcomed into the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program as well.
Brewster Technical College Pharmacy Technician Diploma
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program at Brewster Technical College is an 11 month program that is primarily completed on campus. It covers all the knowledge needed to pass the PTCB certification test and credits earned can later be transferred to an Associate's Degree program at other area Florida community colleges.
Estimated program costs
The cost of the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program at Brewster Technical College was an estimated $4,300 in 2019, which included the cost of books and lab supplies, but not the $129 fee for the PTCB exam or the $109 fee for Florida registration as a Pharmacy Tech.
To be admitted to the program students must have, or be working towards, a high school diploma and be over the age of 18 at the time of graduation. An interview will also be required.
They must also meet entrance test requirement scores for math reading, and language on Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) 11th grade math and 10th grade in language skills and reading.
Furthermore, they must also be able to pass a school set skills test as well as drug and criminal background tests and meet basic vaccination requirements. Tests include: CPR (BLS); immunizations including HBV, MMR, PPD or CXR; background check, drug screen; first aid; proof of medical insurance coverage and physical exam.
The program on offer is a comprehensive one that covers both written and practical elements that meet the standard for taking, and passing, the PTCB and for working as an entry level tech in retail, hospital and long term care environments.
You'll learn medication names and reasons for use, review and fill prescriptions and medication orders, create IV products with aseptic technique, perform dosage calculations, utilize Pyxis system, learn and use professionalism skills in clinical site externships.
Here are the general location training sites for the externships: Tampa, Florida and Hillsborough County.
The course is accredited by the ASHP and approved by the PTCB and the State of Florida Department of Health (DOH), Department of Pharmacy.
Address: 2222 North Tampa Street, Tampa FL 33602
Main Image Source: Brewster Technical College.