Pharmacy Technician Programs in Cedar Rapids, IA: Where Are The Best Schools?
Whether in a retail or clinical setting, pharmacy technicians have long been an integral part of the pharmacy team. Certified pharmacy technicians are in higher demand than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and pharmacies have taken a key role in both basic healthcare and pandemic management.
This is true in Iowa as well as elsewhere. Pharmacy technician schools in Cedar Rapids provide the first step toward a well-paying and exciting career for area residents.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job Growth Outlook for Cedar Rapids
The average salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data, was $36,740 per year, or $17.66 per hour.
In Iowa, the average annual wage was $36,590 or $17.59 per hour, during the same time period.
In the Cedar Rapids area, the average hourly wage for pharmacy techs was $17.59 per hour, or $36,590 per year.
The pay for pharmacy technicians in Cedar Rapids varies depending on the position, the employer, and the level of experience. According to the same employment statistics, the bottom 10% of earners made less than $28,990 per year (around $13.94 per hour), while the top 10% made around $22.22 per hour, or $46,210 per year.
In terms of job creation, pharmacy technicians in Iowa have a bright future.
Prior to the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that local job growth in pharmacy technology would grow by around 13% in Iowa between 2016 and 2026, a figure that will certainly have increased due to the expanded COVID-19 and basic healthcare services that most pharmacies now provide.
Pharmacy Technician Programs in Cedar Rapids, IA
For many years, all a pharmacy technician had to do to work in Iowa was register with the state board of pharmacy.
All of that changed in 2021, and certification – either through the PTCB via the PTCE test or the NAH via their ExCPT exam – is now required as well.
In addition, candidates for registration must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED, and provide both a negative drug screen and a clean criminal record free of felonies and any drug related misdemeanors.
Currently, there are only two schools in the Cedar Rapids area that offer PTCB approved pharmacy technician programs, but this may change in the future as a result of the new state requirements.
Tuition fees range from between $2,600 and $6,800 for the two listed institutions.
Here’s a closer look at the benefits of these pharmacy technician education programs, and what they have to offer.
6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404
Kirkwood Community College offers a comprehensive program that results in a Diploma in Pharmacy Technology and the readiness to take the PTCE certification test.
Offered via the college’s campus based Katz Family Healthcare Simulation Center, this full time, two semester, campus based offering puts a focus on practical, hands-on training to prepare students for the world of work as well as to give them the knowledge needed to pass the PTCE.
Students may also choose to complete an optional additional externship with a local employer, although this is not a requirement for graduation, as the practical education mandated by the PTCB is provided in the school’s simulation lab. After graduation, students may choose to apply credits earned to an AAS Degree in Medical Assisting, which can be completed with an additional year of study.
The cost of the program is more affordable to local residents than out-of-state individuals and it’s listed on their site. Traditional financial aid is available to those who qualify, as are a number of state workforce grants. To be admitted, students must meet all the registration guidelines set out by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy as well as the school’s own academic standards.
1501 East Orange Road
P.O. Box 8015
Waterloo, IA 50704-8015
Hawkeye Community College offers students a 3 month, fast track program that results in a Certificate in Pharmacy Technician Studies. Open to both new high school graduates and older adults, the program is designed to give a basic overview of the responsibilities and duties a pharmacy technician must undertake.
In addition, students are prepared to take the PTCE certification exam right after graduation so that they can register with the state and (hopefully) begin working right away.
Classes are offered online, and can be completed at home. Students must, however, be available several evenings a week to participate in live Zoom based lectures and discussions. They must also complete a 40-hour externship with a local employer – as arranged by the school – in order to meet the practical education guidelines set out by the PTCB.
To be admitted to the program, students must meet all the Iowa Board of Pharmacy’s registration requirements. As this is not a credit granting program, traditional financial aid is not available. The school also does not offer financing, but students may be able to obtain a private loan from a lender like Sallie Mae. In addition, some adult individuals may be eligible for a state Workforce Grant to offset the majority of their costs.
Main featured image via davidwilson1949/flickr