If you want to be a pharmacy technician, a very important aspect that you should investigate is the pharmacy technician education cost. Before you enroll in a pharmacy technician program, you need to be well aware of how much you are going to be paying in order to get the qualification. There are a number of things that you have to consider in this regard.
Pharmacy Technician Education Cost
There really are a vast number of factors that affect how much you will have to pay for your pharmacy technician program. There are distinct variations between states and even within states, depending on the various rules and regulations. In order to get a good idea of how much your pharmacy technician training will cost, you will need to research the specific regulations that apply to your state, or the state in which you wish to work. Remember to ensure that you research the cost for the exact program that you would like to do. A general assessment of pharmacy technician education cost will not yield very reliable results.
Variations By Type Of School
There are two main places where you can obtain this qualification:
- Community colleges
- Vocational or technical schools
Funding for community colleges vary widely from state to state so you could pay anything from about $460 to $4,260 if you are a resident in that state. This is why it is so important for you to research the particular schools in your area before making a decision. Also remember that if you are not a resident of the state you will most likely have to pay a lot more for the right to attend that pharmacy technician program in that state at that community college.
At vocational or technical schools the prices also vary widely. You could pay anything from a few hundred dollars to over twenty thousand in total to complete a program at one of these schools. When considering these schools, try to look past the actual cost to the quality of the education that you will get. Cheaper schools often offer the same level of quality as more expensive ones. In this case there is no need to waste your money. However keep in mind that often schools are more expensive because they have a good reputation. The point is that you need to look into each school carefully before making your final decision.
A good pharmacy technician program has to include an unpaid three-month externship at a pharmacy as part of the tuition costs. This is because a practical side of your education is a necessary requirement for becoming a fully certified pharmacy tech.
There are a few additional costs for you to keep in mind:
- There is no state exam involved, so there is no examination fee. However, it is recommended that you get your license, for which a fee is involved. Training on the job is possible, but employers tend to look more favorably on those applicants who have a license and certification. It will open more job opportunities for you.
- Although it is not required, the National Pharmacy Technician Certification exam is strongly recommended. If you decide to take part in this examination there is a fee of $129 involved. You will also have to pay a re-certification fee once every two years in order to keep your license and certification status. In addition to the re-certification fee you will also have to provide evidence that you have completed 15 – 20 hours of continuing education.
- There are a number of books that you will most likely have to buy for your pharmacy technician training course. These books will cost you something between $50 and $100. These books are necessary so you need to find the money from somewhere to purchase them.
- You will have the option to get IV certification as a pharmacy technician. This is recommended if you plan to work in a hospital setting. Naturally the extra course will cost you some extra money. The cost of these IV certification courses is about $500 to $600.
- You can also study for a Compounding Certification. This is a certification which states that you are able to make a medication from scratch following the directions that a pharmacist has given you. Obviously having this qualification will make it easier for you to get a job in the future, and it will smooth your path to becoming a full-blown pharmacist one day. If you are interested in doing this note that it will cost you about $500 to $600.
Financial Aid Options For Pharmacy Technician Education
The average pharmacy technician education cost for an average program can be very expensive in the long run and a lot of people choose not to pursue the qualification simply because they cannot afford it. However there are a number of financial aid options available to help pharmacy technicians pay for their studies.
Grants: A grant is an amount of money that is given to you that you will not have to repay. Grants are generally needs based. What this means is that if you can demonstrate a strong need for the funds you will qualify for the grant. One such grant is the Pell Grant which provides up to $5,500 a year to needy students.
Scholarships: A scholarship is similar to a grant in that it is an amount of money that is give to you for your studies that you do not have to pay back. However these are rarer and they are based on merit rather than on need. A scholarship is more of an award for excellence. So, if you were a top achiever at high school or another educational institute, getting a scholarship may just be the way for you to pay your pharmacy technician education costs. There are a number of other financial aid options that, like scholarships, are rare, but very good if you can qualify for them. These include things such as:
- Work-study programs
- Military student aid
Loans: Unfortunately loans do need to be paid back. This is something that you will not be able to get away form if you choose to go the loan route. However there are a number of options open to students who get loans. There are subsidized loans, such as the Stafford loan, offered by the government. There are also loan forgiveness programs whereby a portion of your loan will be forgiven if you work in a state designated facility for a set period of time.
Your Employer: Don’t forget that your employer may be more than willing to help you out with your studies. This is especially true if you are already working in a pharmacy without the certification (which is possible as on-the-job training is permitted for this line of work). It is always better for an employer to have a well qualified pharmacy technician on his or her staff, so it may be worthwhile asking your employer whether or not you could come to some kind of arrangement in terms of financial aid for your pharmacy technician studies.
Cheapest Pharmacy Technician Schools
You will soon discover that pharmacy technician education cost is affected by the kind of school you attend. The cheaper schools tend to be those that offer online training. Here are three of the cheaper online pharmacy technician schools for you to consider:
- Penn Foster Career School
Student Services Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515
- Ashworth College
430 Technology Parkway
Norcross, Georgia 30092
- Allied Schools
22952 Alcalde Drive
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Just remember that when you choose a school, try not to focus too much on the cost of that school. This is easier said than done, of course, but if you have the options base your decision on the quality of the school rather than the fees. There are a lot of expensive schools out there that offer the same quality of tuition as some schools that are more affordable. Often a more expensive school will give you a better education, but this is not always the case. Similarly, a cheap school may not necessarily give you a bad education. Be sure to look into each school in great detail before reaching a decision.
Now that you have all of the information about what a qualification like this costs, you are in a better position to determine whether or not you are able to afford a pharmacy technician program. Just keep the financial aid options in mind. With these options you may be able to afford the program even if you do not strictly speaking have the funds. There are a lot of options open to students who want to be pharmacy technicians, and, as tuition goes pharmacy technician education cost is one of the more affordable qualifications for a person to pursue.