Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Iowa

For those who would like to work in healthcare without going to medical school, becoming a pharmacy technician may be an excellent career choice. Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists in drugstores, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. They dispense prescriptions, manage inventory, answer patients’ questions and complete administrative work. Jobs in this field are steadily growing across the country, making it a good time to begin considering this career path. Each state creates its own licensing requirements, and the following information pertains to Iowa. [Leer en español]

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General Qualifications

Pharmacy technicians in Iowa must be at least 18 years of age, register with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and obtain national certification, which requires applicants to hold high school diploma or GED and undergo a formal pharmacy technician training program. Currently enrolled students must apply for trainee registration before beginning practical training, such as internships or other on-the-job programs.

Available Training Programs

Formal education programs for pharmacy technicians are typically offered at community colleges and technical schools. To qualify for national exams and state registration, the program must be certified by the state Board. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Iowa Western Community College. Iowa Western helps students register with the state Board and meet all other requirements for state certification. The 160-hour program includes a 40-hour externship at a retail pharmacy and classroom instruction in history, ethics, anatomy, safety and other pharmacology topics.
  • Kirkwood Community College. Kirkwood’s one-year degree program gives students access to the Katz Family Healthcare Simulation Center, where they can practice their classroom skills in a setting similar to what they’ll encounter while working as a pharmacy technician. The school offers a number of scholarships for pharmacy technology students.
  • Des Moines Area Community College. Students at Des Moines Area Community College complete 240 hours of experiential learning, giving them more hands-on education than any school in the state. The one-year program prepares students to transfer to an associate’s degree program, if desired, or to take the national certification exam and begin work.
  • Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster offers an affordable, ASHP Accredited online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.

Licensing and Certification Information

Iowa requires that pharmacy technicians maintain national certification, which can be obtained by registering with the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. You must have a high school diploma or GED, pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam and pay a fee of $129 to apply for certification.

Once certified, technicians will have to complete continuing education requirements and renew their credentials every two years to maintain their status. Pharmacy technicians must renew their registration with the state Board every two years as well.

Salary and Career Estimates

Jobs for pharmacy technicians in Iowa are expected to grow at a rate of 12.3 percent in the 10 years to 2026, according to the Projections Managing Partnership. This is in line with the national average growth rate of 12 percent.

Pharmacy technicians in the state can expect an average salary of $32,560 per year, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Working as a Pharmacy Technician in Iowa

Pharmacy technicians can take full-time or part-time roles in independent or chain drugstores, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other similar workplaces. Many of these locations are open late and on the weekends, so expect to work non-traditional hours on occasion. You should also be prepared to stand for the majority of your shifts and move heavy boxes of inventory when necessary. Jobs in urban areas, such as Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, typically pay the highest salaries to compensate for the higher cost of living, though you can generally find work in any area of the state.

FAQs

What are best pharmacy technician schools in Iowa?

  1. Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny
  2. Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa
  3. Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids
  4. Western Iowa Tech Community College, Sioux City
  5. Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon

How do you become a pharmacy technician in Iowa?

  1. You must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED
  2. Pass a criminal record check
  3. Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)
  4. Apply for Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Certification

How much do pharmacy technicians make in Iowa?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Iowa made an average of $32,560 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $23,810 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $42,870.

All School Listings

Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Area

Des Moines Area Community College

2006 Ankeny Blvd, Ankeny, Iowa 50023-3993Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Des Moines Area Community College can be taken at their campus in Ankeny in Polk County, IA. Most of the school’s 20,167 students are on 2-year programs. The school is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.* Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $4,080 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,160 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,400, although this will depend on the program.

Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Ave, Ottumwa, Iowa 52501Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Indian Hills Community College can be taken at their campus in the town of Ottumwa, IA. This public college has in the order of 4,604 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The school is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.* Tuition fees for in-state students are about $3,576 and for students from other states approximately $5,376 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,128, although this varies from program to program.

Cedar Rapids, IA Area

Kirkwood Community College

6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2068Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Kirkwood Community College is offered at their campus in the city of Cedar Rapids. This public college has round 15,076 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Kirkwood Community College is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.* The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $4,200 and for students from other states in the order of $5,100 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $2,000, as necessitated by the chosen program.

Northeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

North Iowa Area Community College

500 College Dr, Mason City, Iowa 50401Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

North Iowa Area Community College offers various Certificate Pharmacy Technician program options. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Mason City. The majority of of the school’s 3,207 students are on 2-year programs. The school is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $4,613 and for students from other states likely to be about $6,529 yearly, while study materials may cost about $929, although this will vary with the program.

Northwest Iowa nonmetropolitan area Area

Northwest Iowa Community College

603 W Park St, Sheldon, Iowa 51201Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Northwest Iowa Community College is based at their campus in Sheldon in Obrien County, IA. This public college has in the order of 1,628 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Northwest Iowa Community College is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.* The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $5,370 and for students from outside the state in the order of $5,850 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,190, although this will vary with the program.

Sioux City, IA-NE-SD Area

Western Iowa Tech Community College

4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, Iowa 51102-5199Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Western Iowa Tech Community College offers various Certificate Pharmacy Technician program options. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Sioux City. Most of the school’s 6,331 students are on 2-year programs. Western Iowa Tech Community College has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission.* Tuition fees for in-state students are around $3,528 and for out-of-state students approximately $3,600 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

* Accredition status and tuition fees are correct at the time of last update and are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college or university prior to application.

Out-of-State Options

See options in the neighboring states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.