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WCCC Offers new Pharmacy Technician Program

Responding to input from local and regional businesses and community leaders, Western Colorado Community College will offer a new Pharmacy Technician program beginning Fall 2021.

Students will be able to complete either a nine-month certificate or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in two years.

“What’s great about this program is it offers students two different paths: the certificate prepares them to enter the workforce quickly and the associate degree allows them to move into a role of increased responsibility within their profession,” said Vice President for Community College Affairs Brigitte Sündermann.

Colorado’s occupational projections forecast an increase in job openings for pharmacy technicians by the end of the decade. All retail pharmacies in Delta, Garfield, Mesa and Montrose counties reported to WCCC that qualified pharmacy technicians are in high demand due to the increase in pharmacists' workload, an aging and a shortage of qualified pharmacy technicians. They indicated that they would give hiring preference to candidates who completed a certificate or AAS program.

"One of the most rewarding aspects of being a pharmacy technician is that you can see the impact your work has on helping improve others' lives,” said Pharmacy Technician Program Director Allison Vogel. “I am super excited about this program because there is a significant demand for qualified pharmacy technicians. The average population is getting older, which is leading to an increased demand for medication, plus advances in science is leading to better medications every day. "

A 2019 state law requires pharmacy technicians practicing in Colorado on or after March 30, 2020, to obtain certification from the State Board of Pharmacy. That law and a change in the requirements to sit for the certification exam has increased interest in programs such as WCCCs.

WCCC’s program is the only pharmacy technician program in western Colorado.

Pharmacy technician students will learn about drug products, calculations, dosages, dispensing techniques, inventory management, aseptic techniques and pharmacy law. The program includes classroom instruction, laboratory practice and clinical pharmacy training. With the completion of the pharmacy technician program, students are prepared to work in both community and hospital pharmacy settings.

Prospective students interested in applying for the pharmacy technician program, beginning August 23, can learn more on the program’s website.