Pharmacy Technician Programs in El Paso, TX
El Paso, TX is the legendary Texas border town that is rich in Wild West lore and the last point in Texas before the land becomes Mexico. It is always a growing, vibrant city that is home to more than 840,750 people.
As the city grows so does the demand for pharmacies, both in retail and clinical settings. A pharmacy technician is a very important part of any pharmacy team, whether they are working in a store, a hospital, a long-term care facility or an urgent care. This has been especially underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State of Texas is one of the states in the US that holds its pharmacy technicians to very high standards, higher than the majority of other states. In order to work as a pharmacy technician in the Lone Star state you must obtain both formal certification and licensing from the Texas Board of Pharmacy. The state accepts both the PTCB certification obtained by passing their PTCE exam or the equivalent NAH certification, which is obtained by passing their ExCPT exam.
In addition, all licensees must be legal residents or citizens of the US and prove they have a criminal record free of felonies or major misdemeanors. They must also agree to be drug tested at any time and pass a drug test before a license to practice is issued.
As completing an approved training program is now a prerequisite of taking either certification exam, finding the right one is a must for any El Paso resident considering becoming a pharmacy technician. There are a number pharmacy technician schools in El Paso to choose from, and we will take a closer look at them in a moment. But first, let's look at why becoming a pharmacy technician at all is such an appealing prospect for many people.
Salary and Job Outlook in El Paso
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019 there were 38,550 licensed pharmacy technicians registered with the Texas Board of Pharmacy. Of those people, 2,260 identified as living in the El Paso.
Average salaries for pharmacy technicians are very competitive when compared with other similar healthcare professions. In 2019 the average hourly wage for all pharmacy technicians in El Paso was $16.37. Those just starting out earned an average of $12.34 per hour and in the highest earning bracket, the 90th percentile, that figure rose to $22.58.
In regards to the US job market, Texas, California, and Florida have the most job openings for pharmacy technicians.
Top Pharmacy Technician Schools in El Paso
As we touched on earlier there are a number of pharmacy technician programs offered by schools easily accessible to El Paso residents that meet or exceed the standards set forth by the Texas Board of Pharmacy and the PTCB.
As each of them offers something different, and in some cases caters only to a certain demographic, here is a closer look at them all.
PIMA Medical Institute - El Paso
6926 Gateway Boulevard E. El Paso, TX 79915| 800-477-PIMA
Our Review of the Program
The Pima Medical Institute is a national network of private technical schools that provides a wide range of vocational programs across the country, including a certificate program for pharmacy technicians. Their El Paso, TX campus It is targeted at a wide variety of students, from those who have just graduated from high school to working adults who are looking to change careers.
According to the school's website, in 2020, $14,106 was the cost of completing their Pharmacy Technician Certificate. This amount covers books and supplies required to complete the course and also covers the fee for sitting the PTCE exam to become a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT) at the end of the program.
Federal and state financial aid, as well as a few state grants, is available to those who qualify. Students who are not eligible for Federal financial assistance may instead be able to receive a private student loan from an organization like Sallie Mae. A payment plan is also available, but all balances must be paid prior to graduation.
To be admitted to the program a student must be over 18 and hold a high school diploma or equivalent GED. They must also pass a basic skills test administered by the school itself. In addition to these educational requirements students must prove their legal status in the US and pass drug and criminal background checks.
The program itself is a fulltime offering but can be completed in the day or as an evening class. Most students complete it in less than nine months, although evening students usually take a few weeks longer to do so than students taking daytime classes.
All students are required to complete a school arranged externship with a local retail pharmacy and, at the conclusion of the program are offered additional coaching and prep ahead of taking their PTCE certification exam.
The pharmacy technology program is approved by both the Texas State Board of Pharmacy and the PTCB.
The University of Texas - El Paso
2011 Hawthorne St, El Paso, TX 79902| 915-747-5000
Our Review of the Program
The storied University of Texas offers two pharmacy technician training programs via their El Paso campus. Each of them provides students with the basics needed to pass the PTCE certification tests, but they differ in other smaller ways, including in price.
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program with Clinical Externship program is a primarily online offering that includes a physical clinical externship with a local employer as arranged by the university. The cost of this program, which is completed in about 3 months with classes meeting twice a week, is $3,000, including the cost of books and supplies.
Students may also opt to take the Pharmacy Technician Training with Optional Clinical Externship. This is basically the same course, but if a student wishes to complete an externship, they must arrange it for themselves. The cost of this program is $1,999.00 and it too is primarily conducted online and takes around three months to complete.
Financial aid is not available to pay for either course, but a limited number of workforce grants are available for local El Paso residents and the university does offer a payment program.
To be admitted to the program students must be over the age of 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED. They must also - at their own cost - provide the university with an acceptable background check, drug test, and basic physical results.
Both programs give students the basic knowledge needed to pass the PTCE certification test and are approved by both the Texas Board of Pharmacy and the PTCB.
El Paso Community College
100 West Rio Grande Ave, El Paso TX 79902| (915) 831-4490
Our Review of the Program
El Paso Community College, which is a traditional community college offering a wide range of certificate and degree programs, offers two educational paths for would be pharmacy technicians: a one-year certificate program or a full two-year associates degree.
The cost of either program is charged on a per credit hour basis. That cost is dependent on a number of factors - including physical residence and family income - and the school itself recommends meeting with an enrollment counselor to figure out just what those costs might be for you.
Traditional federal and state financial aid is available to those who qualify, and it is how the majority of students in the program pay for their schooling. Those who do not qualify can consider taking out a private student loan from an institution like Sallie Mae to cover their costs instead.
There are educational minimum requirements students must meet in order to enroll in either program. These include holding a high school diploma or GED and having maintained a minimum 3.0 GPA when last enrolled in school. Admission to the associate's degree program also calls for the completion of several basic education prerequisite courses.
In addition, students must also be able to prove their legal residence status and pass criminal background and drug tests. A BLS first aid certification is also required but that can be obtained with the help of the school.
In terms of coursework the curriculum for both programs is the same for the first year of study. Classroom work is completed on campus and an externship with a local retail pharmacy is required. At the year mark, students who are in the associates degree program may choose to take the PTCE exam and obtain their certification, which will allow them to work in their field while completing their education if they choose to do so.
Both pharmacy technician programs offered by the El Paso Community college are approved by the Texas Board of Pharmacy and the PTCB.
El Paso Independent School District
Our Review of the Program
The El Paso Independent School District serves almost 60.000 local students. For their high school students completing a pharmacy technician training program that is approved by the PTCB and the state Board of Pharmacy is an option for students in 11th and 12th grades. The program is not, however, open to general public and enrollment in it can only be arranged by a student's regular high school guidance counselor. For those students interested in a great hand on career it may be well worth asking about though.