Pharmacy Technician Programs in Columbia, SC: Find the Best School Today!

More than ever before, a pharmacy technician in Columbia, South Carolina - or anywhere else in the US - is a crucial member of any pharmacy team, either in a retail or clinical setting.

As pharmacies - especially those who serve the general public - take a larger role in healthcare, including vaccine administration - certified pharmacy technicians who have completed formal training at pharmacy technician programs in community college or vocational schools in South Carolina are in greater demand than ever before.

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Pharmacy Technician Salary and Employment Outlook in Columbia

When choosing a career path, or making a career switch, researching the salary and job growth prospects it offers is a must. That is especially true if you are going to pay for schooling to achieve your career goals.

In terms of salary in general, pharmacy technicians are well paid. In Columbia, statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data state that the average salary paid to a pharmacy technician is $36,530 per annum, approximately $17.56 per hour. 

This was higher than the state average of $36,330 annually/$17.47 per hour and the national average of $17.66 per hour/$36,740 per annum, demonstrating that Columbia pharmacy technicians can expect to be well compensated for their efforts. 

Salaries will vary of course according to experience and education level as well as by employer. The same data shows that in 2021 the lowest 10% of earners, likely those in entry level positions, averaged $13.83 per hour/$28,740 per annum, while the top 10% commanded $47,580 or more (around $22.32 per hour). 

The job growth outlook for South Carolina pharmacy technicians is also particularly good. The BLS predicted that between 2016 and 2026, the field would grow by around 12%.

However, given the increased role pharmacies are playing in both pandemic management and basic healthcare in general since the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth projection is likely to be higher. 

Pharmacy Technician Requirements in South Carolina

Unlike some US states, South Carolina requires pharmacy technicians to be certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board before they can register with the Board of Health and work as a pharmacy technician. Candidates for PTCB certification must complete an approved training program before taking the PTCE exam as of 2020.

In addition to the PTCE exam, the SC Board of Pharmacy requires students to complete 1000 hours of practice (up to 400 clinical training hours in an education program) under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist AND provide proof of completion of a formal academic pharmacy technician training program that is nationally accredited. 

Since pharmacy technicians in South Carolina are regulated licensure with the South Carolina Board of Pharmacy is a requirement. 

CE (Continuing education) is required in order to maintain certification and licensure for the state of SC. 

Best Pharmacy Technician Programs in Columbia

Anyone interested in joining this exciting profession should enroll in a pharmacy technician school. There are a number available to choose from, each offering something slightly different, as we'll explore here.

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Aiken Technical College

P.O. Drawer 696
Aiken, SC 29802
Tel: (803)-593-9231

Aiken Technical College, which is located in Aiken, SC, about an hour outside Columbia, offers an ASHP accredited, PTCB approved limited enrollment Certificate program in a hybrid format to qualified students of all ages.

The program offers a comprehensive overview of the pharmacy technician role, as well as specialist prep for PTCB certification testing. Extensive lab work is completed on campus, while some written portions of the course can be completed online.

To be admitted, students must meet all state licensing requirements and pass a skills test and admissions interview. Those who do enroll can complete the course in two semesters of full time study, around a year.

Traditional financial aid is available to those who qualify, and tuition is charged on a sliding scale rate that will be set during the admissions process. The lowest available rates are usually charged to in-state students.

Midlands Technical College

1260 Lexington Drive,
West Columbia SC 29170  
Tel:  (803) 738-8324

At their West Columbia campus, the vocationally focused Midlands Technical School, which is a private college offering a wide range of certificate and degree programs, offers a PTCB approved Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program that also has the rarer distinction of being approved by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) as well.

The course is also very flexible, as it can be taken as a purely campus-based program or as a hybrid offering that sees a portion of the course completed online at the student's own pace. In either format it covers the basics needed to pass the PTCE exam as well as a comprehensive overview of the job of pharmacy technician as a whole. How long the program takes to complete depends upon the delivery format a student chooses. Campus based study can be completed in around 12 months, while the hybrid program may take a little longer. An in-person internship with a local employer is a requirement for graduation. 

Admission to either course requires a high school diploma or GED, passing a college interview and meeting state standards for negative drug testing and criminal background checks free of felonies or drug related misdemeanors. The cost of the 22 credit hours Pharmacy Technician Certificate to South Carolina residents is set at $3,916.00, not including books and fees. Financial aid is available to those who qualify, along with a limited number of local workforce grants. Lecture class size is 25, job placement is also a feature of this training program.

Southeastern Institute

1628 Browning Rd. #180
Columbia, SC 29210
Tel: (888) 282-0833

Southeastern Institute, a part of Southeastern College, is a private vocational school that offers a variety of vocational programs to people of all ages.

Their Certificate in Pharmacy Technology program is a campus-based curriculum that provides students with a thorough understanding of the responsibilities and skills required to pass the PTCB certification exam and work in an entry-level role.

The course lasts two and a half semesters and can be finished in 12-14 months if taken full-time. It offers both theoretical and lab-based studies, and students must complete a school-arranged externship with a local firm before graduating. As the course progresses, students will be offered more PTCE test preparation.

Traditional student financial aid is available to those who qualify, and it is the primary source of funding for 92 percent of students.

To be admitted to the program, students must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, have no drug-related misdemeanors or felonies on their record, and pass a drug test. In addition, the school administers a basic skills test to determine basic English and math proficiency, as well as requiring verification of legal status in the United States

Palmetto School of Career Development

7001 St. Andrews Rd. Suite A5
Columbia, SC 29212
Tel: (803) 781-0023

Palmetto offers a variety of vocational courses to students of all ages as a private technical training school. They offer a short basic certificate course for those interested in becoming a pharmacy technician that includes both PTCE and ExCPT exam preparation and a basic overview of the profession in general.

Admission does not require a high school diploma or academic record, but a high school diploma or GED, as well as a clean background and drug test, are required to take the PTCE and register with the South Carolina Board of Health to work as a pharmacy technician. Classes are held on campus on Friday evenings for a total of 12 weeks (approximately 3 months).

Students cannot use traditional financial aid to cover the cost of the course, which is set at $1,000. Some students may be eligible for job grants to help offset the cost, and a payment plan is also available to spread the cost out. School is also dedicated to helping student find placements upon graduation. 

Central Carolina Technical College

506 N. Guignard Drive Sumter,
SC 29150
Tel: (803) 778-6621 ext. 221

Central Carolina Technical College offers a limited enrollment Certificate in Pharmacy Technology that is PTCB, ASHP and ACPE accredited to students who meet their general academic standards for college admission and who complete mandatory prerequisite course in Medical Terminology.

Those who qualify for admission - they must also be over 18 and present a background check free of felonies or drug related misdemeanors - are given a comprehensive, campus-based education in all aspects of the job of a pharmacy technician, while also being prepared to take the PTCE exam.

An internship with a local employer is also a required element to be completed prior to graduation. In terms of costs, these vary according to a student's residence. Residents are charged the lowest fees at $194 per credit hour. The program can be completed with between 30 and 33 credit hours. 

Typical courses students can expect to learn include: pharmacy technician math, drug classification, applied pharmacy practice laboratory, medical terminology and therapeutic agents. Most students make use of traditional financial aid to fund their studies, if they qualify, or may choose to take a private student loan from a lender like Sallie Mae. 

Other Cities in South Carolina

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