Pharmacy Technician Programs in Boston, MA
The demand for certified pharmacy technicians is greater than ever across the country as pharmacies are at the forefront not only of the growing healthcare industry in general but of the efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is as true in Massachusetts as anywhere else, and why pharmacy technician programs in Boston are worth a second look by anyone interested in joining the medical profession without spending years in school.
Career Outlook and Demand for Pharmacy Technicians in Boston
According to the latest available figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working as licensed pharmacy technicians in Massachusetts in 2020 was 9, 150. Of those people, 6,820 identified as living in the Boston/Cambridge/Nashua MA/NH metropolitan area.
The average hourly wage for these pharmacy technicians in 2020 was $18.30. Starting wages, for brand-new pharmacy technicians, averaged $12.66 per hour, while those in the 90th percentile, the highest earners in the pharmacy technology field, made, on average, $24.90 per hour.
The career outlook for pharmacy technicians in Boston is good. Major chains like CVS are expanding their services to include more Minute Clinics and increased COVID testing, and experienced pharmacy technicians make up parts of those teams. In addition, an aging population is still increasing the demand for pharmacy services in general.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements in Massachussetts
Pharmacy technicians working in the State of Massachusetts are required to obtain a license from the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy. Certification is not necessary, but to obtain a license without it, candidates must prove they have 500 hours of relevant pharmacy technician experience. It is for this reason that formal certification via the PTCB - the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board - and the PTCE exam is the route most people choose to take.
To take the PTCE candidates must complete a PTCB approved training course.
Pharmacy Technician Schools in Boston, MA
There are four schools currently offering such a program in the Boston area. Here we are going to take a closer look at them, as each offer something slightly different, and may be better suited to some students than others.
75 Federal Street, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02110 617-399-3131
JVS is a non-profit, private workforce development agency that offers a number of career and vocational based training courses free of charge to local residents hoping to make a career change. One such offering is a free 12-week Pharmacy Technician Training Program that prepares its graduates to take the PTCE and to obtain employment as an entry level pharmacy technician.
The program is offered several times a year, as the foundation's funding allows. To qualify students must be able to prove their residence in the Boston/Cambridge/Nashua MA/NH metropolitan area as well as their legal status in the US. They must also be over the age of 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED and pass required criminal background and drug checks.
As the course is offered free of charge, admissions are competitive. However, aside from a HS diploma there is no GPA requirement. Admissions are made on a first come, first served basis from among qualified candidates.
The program is a full time offering, and instruction is offered as a hybrid online/practical learning experience. Some students may also qualify for an externship with one of JVS partners, which include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, CVS, Walgreens, South Shore Hospital and more.
In addition to covering all the basics needed to pass the PTCE the program offers after graduation placement assistance and can boast a 90% employment rate for students within three months of graduation and PTCB certification.
250 New Rutherford Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02129 617 228 2000
Bunker Hill is a traditional community college located in downtown Boston. For those interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician they offer a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program which will prepare students to take and pass the PTCB exam and gain employment as an entry level pharmacy technician.
This is a single semester, full time course to be completed both online and on campus. It is a selective admission course, which means students must meet minimum educational requirements, including taking a mandatory English Course and passing with at least a C average. In addition, students must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED and have maintained a 2.5 or better GPA in their senior year. They must also pass drug and criminal background checks.
In addition to classroom learning students will be required to complete a clinical rotation with a local employer, either in a retail or hospital setting, as arranged by the school.
As a traditional community college Bunker Hill can offer students access to Federal and State financial aid to cover their tuition costs, which are charged on a per-credit basis and will vary according to a student's personal circumstances.
670 West Boylston Street Worcester, MA 01606 508 853 2300
Quinsigamond Community College is located in Worcester, MA, just outside Boston, and offers a wide range of certificate, diploma and AAS degree programs. It is a full-time college where learning in 2021 is delivered as a hybrid model of online live remote classes and classroom-based learning.
For those interested in becoming a pharmacy technician the school offers two PTCB approved courses of study. Students must complete and graduate from the Pharmacy Technician - Direct Entry Certificate program, a 9-credit hour offering, before moving on to the more involved 25 credit Pharmacy Technician Certificate program.
The shorter program covers the basics needed to obtain an entry level position as a pharmacy technician and pass the PTCE. It consists both of a classroom element and a six-credit externship with an employer arranged by the school. The 25 credit Pharmacy Technician Certificate expands on that education and may be better suited to those hoping to work in clinical, rather than retail, pharmacy settings.
Both courses are selective admission courses, which means that, in addition to holding a high school diploma or GED and being over the age of 18 students must complete several prerequisite courses in Math and English and pass with a minimum of a C before admission. In addition, all candidates must take and pass criminal background and drug checks and prove their legal status for work in the US.
The costs of both programs are charged on per credit basis, the costs of which vary according to student situation and residence. Traditional Federal financial aid is available to those who qualify for it. The school recommends that students should meet with an Admissions' Representative to determine their personal financial liability.
33 Kearney Square, Lowell, MA 01852 800-818-3434
Located in Lowell, MA the Middlesex Community College offers future pharmacy technicians a 'fast track' to employment via their 60-hour Pharmacy Technician Program.
The program, which is a hybrid online/classroom-based offering, is offered two evenings a week and can be completed in as little as five months. Students are taught the basics needed to pass the PTCE exam and are prepared for an entry level position as a retail pharmacy technician.
As a 'cash only' program the Pharmacy Technician Program is not eligible for federal financial aid funding, and the cost for 2021 is $1,449. Payment plans are available as are some workforce grants for those who qualify.
To be admitted students must be over 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED. They must also be able to pass both criminal background and drug checks and a basic English and Math skills test set by the school.
Salary and job outlook figures courtesy of US Department of Labor.