Pharmacy Technician Schools in Grand Rapids, MI
Pharmacy technicians have long been an important part of any pharmacy team, whether in a retail setting or a clinical environment. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and pharmacies have taken a key role in both basic healthcare services and pandemic management, certified pharmacy technicians are more in demand than ever, and that is as true in Michigan as anywhere else. For area residents pharmacy technician schools in Grand Rapids offer the first step to this well paid, exciting career.
Pharmacy Technician Salary in Grand Rapids vs. MI vs. Nationwide
Making a career change, or starting a new career, and going to school to help do so is a time-consuming, and often expensive undertaking. Therefore, it makes sense to understand just what that new path offers, especially in terms of salary and job growth.
In Grand Rapids, MI, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports1 an average annual salary of $31,840 around $15.31 per hour for pharmacy technicians. That figure is similar to the statewide average of $32,690/$15.72 and just a little lower than the overall national mean wage for pharmacy technicians of $33,950/$16.32.
Actual pay rates are commensurate with experience, and also vary from employer to employer. According to those same figures the lowest rates of pay - paid to the bottom 10% of earners, usually those just starting out, averaged $24,290 per annum, or $11.68 per hour.
On the other end of the pay scale the highest earners, usually those with the most experience, or who worked in clinical environments, could expect to command $40,310 or more per annum, or around $23.62 or more per hour.
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI
$24,290 - $40,310
Expected growth in the field of pharmacy technology is expected to be good. Previously the BLS had predicted an up to 11% growth between 2020 and 2028, but that figure is now likely to be higher as pharmacies take on a significant role in COVID-19 pandemic management.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements in Michigan
According to the Michigan Board of Pharmacy, while only formal licensing, and not certification, is mandated in the state2, becoming certified is encouraged. To be licensed, candidates must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED, present a criminal background check free of felonies and drug related misdemeanors and prove they are current on state mandated vaccinations.
It is not only the Board of Pharmacy that recommends certification for pharmacy technicians, but most employers also prefer it too, especially as only certified techs can participate in things like vaccination administration.
The most commonly taken - and easily recognized - certification for pharmacy technicians is issued by the PTCB, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. To take that exam candidates must meet all the same guidelines as they must for state licensing while also having completed a PTCB approved training course.
Pharmacy Technician Programs in Grand Rapids, MI
There are several pharmacy technician education programs offered in and around Grand Rapids metro area. As each school offers something slightly different it makes sense to find out more about them all before making a final choice:
1624 Woodworth St NE Grand Rapids, MI 49525 (616) 588-2203
Ross College is a private vocational school that maintains a number of campuses nationwide, including one in Grand Rapids. The school offers a 36-week Pharmacy Technician Certificate program that covers all the skills and expertise required to pass the certification exam and work as an entry-level pharmacy technician.
Although most of the written coursework can be done online, lab classes and some expert lectures are held on campus. Prior to graduation, students must also complete a 100-hour externship with a suitable employer.
Students must meet all the criteria to register as a pharmacy technician with the state and pass a practical skills examination set by the school to be accepted to the program. The cost of the program varies depending on a student's residency status and salary, but you can use this net price calculator to figure out what you will pay. Almost all students, according to the school, depend on traditional federal financial aid and some state-based grants to pay for their tuition.
11611 W. Pine Lake Rd. Plainwell, MI 49080 1-877-901-7360
Michigan Career and Technical Institute is a government administered workforce retraining program sponsored by the State of Michigan. It offers retraining at no cost to those who meet their criteria and are considered viable candidates for future employment.
Entrance to the program is decided by an individual's caseworker, and open enrollment is not available. Interested persons who think they may qualify should contact their local labor board.
Those who are retrained undergo the equivalent of three semesters of formal training at a local employment center and are also required to complete an outside internship. At the end of the program students are also required to sit the PTCE to obtain PTCB registration as a graduation requirement. If they pass, they are offered career placement assistance.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Pharmacy Technicians https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292052.htm
2. Michigan Board of Pharmacy: https://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-89334_72600_72603_27529_27548---,00.html