Pharmacy Technician Schools in Colorado
Pharmacy technicians are skilled pharmacy assistants who often work directly with patients in customer service. Colorado’s pharmacy technicians have a wide range of additional duties, which can include compounding, measuring, and packaging medication, maintaining patient records and insurance claims, and stocking inventory. Pharmacist technicians do defer to pharmacists in instances which require professional judgment or intensive training. A technician will not, for example, counsel a patient. She may prepare a prescription, but the pharmacist is responsible for doing a final check.
Pharmacy technicians have a much shorter training period than do pharmacists. The short training period, and quick school to work transition period, are often factors in career selection.
In Colorado, it’s the employer, not the state, who determines minimum competencies. There are a number of pharmacy technician training programs available to help technicians develop competencies. Employees enter the field through a variety of circuits which can include formal education or on the job training.
Pharmacy Technician Certification in Colorado
Colorado is different from the majority of states in the US in that it doesn’t regulate the pharmacy technology industry or issue licenses to pharmacy technicians. In Colorado, pharmacy technicians have to satisfy not the state but one’s own prospective employer. A pharmacy technician’s training level must be assessed by the manager, though, and displayed within the dispensing area of the pharmacy. Pharmacy technicians are classified by whether they have pharmacy technician certification from a national agency, a diploma from an accredited school, 500 hours of on the job training — or have not yet achieved any of the above.
Many pharmacy technician jobs do prefer national pharmacy technician certification from a national organization either before hiring or within a specified time frame thereafter. A pharmacy technician position recently advertised by Longmont United Hospital, for instance, asked for pharmacy technician certification within 6 months of being hired. AmerisourceBergen meanwhile expressed a preference for pharmacy technician certification before hiring as well as experience and education in a related field, like a pharmacy technician training program.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board reports that 5,034 Colorado technicians do have their pharmacy technician certification. That is a lot of trained CPhTs to compete with! In order to be certified as a pharmacy technician, one must pass a multiple choice exam. Biannual certification renewal also requires twenty units of continuing education. There are many options, some available online, others through traditional schools.
Pharmacy Technician Job Outlook and Salary
Nationwide, salaries for pharmacy technicians fall between $19,480 and $40,160. Salary varies considerably based on work setting as well as experience and certification. Retail positions are the most plentiful, accounting for three out of four positions. Hospital positions, though, may pay as much as ten thousand more per year and thus are highly sought after and very competitive. In Colorado, right now, there are opportunities to break into the hospital field, but they require more education and experience.
Denver Health — self-described as Colorado’s safety net — lists among their requirements a pharmacy technician certificate and a year of experience in either a retail or hospital setting. They have recently posted positions in hospital and correctional institution. The Colorado Department of Corrections is an employer that seeks candidates with specialized training. They prefer candidates with two years prior pharmacy technician experience, but will accept a technician training course in place of one of those years. Credentials aren’t the sole criteria for hiring, of course. There are a wide range of skills sought from communication and customer service abilities to physical strength and flexibility. Government jobs can be hard to get, but are among the most lucrative in the business. This particular one pays $2,543 to $3,678 per month and offers a generous benefit package.
Some pharmacy technicians do use their training as a stepping stone to a career in pharmacy or other fields. A representative of National American University reports that the advantage of an associates degree over a certificate program is that more credits are transferable toward higher degrees.
Explore some of the campus based pharmacy technician training in Colorado as well as schools offering online pharmacy technician training in Colorado. You’ll find a school that matches both your needs and goals.