Colorado Mountain College addresses pharmacy technician shortage with new program

A new program at Colorado Mountain College could help fill pharmacy technician openings around the state, a college spokesperson said.

“Most pharmacies in all of our CMC serving areas are hiring at least two techs at this point,” said Amy Connerton, the CMC Pharmacy Technician Program director and an associate professor, explaining the college serves nine counties throughout the state.

As a result of Colorado legislation signed into law in 2019, pharmacy technicians working within the state are required to receive certification through the State Board of Pharmacy.

CMC’s pharmacy technician program enables graduates to apply for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, and if they pass the exam, they are eligible to work as technicians in hospitals, clinics, assisted-living facilities or pharmacies.

“The pharmacy technician path offers a level of exposure to the medical field that grants people the opportunity to determine whether they would like to continue with a medical career,” said Elizabeth Poulos, CMC dean of the School of Nursing, Health Sciences, Public Safety, Wellness and Outdoor Studies. “And they have a guaranteed job following certification to provide them with hourly income as they decide where to go with their medical career.”

A CMC news release states pharmacy technicians in Colorado can earn up to $27 an hour.

To be eligible for the program, a potential student needs to pass an academic placement test, but there are no course prerequisites, Connerton said. Students entering the program only need to take the courses related to the program to earn their certification, she added.

“Students will get a basic introduction to pharmacy, learn about law and ethics, calculations, drug classifications, compounding medications, aseptic techniques,” Connerton said.

With eight students enrolled in the inaugural program, Connerton said she felt the certification courses, which consist of about 29 credits, were off to a good start, but she would like to see enrollment double in the future.

“The program is offered completely online, so students can participate from all over our district,” she said. “Our goal is for everyone enrolled to receive their certification within three semesters.”

Students currently enrolled are scheduled to graduate from the program in July. People interested in the program can enroll for the college’s 2022 spring semester through CMC’s open enrollment program, a news release states. Go to for more information about enrollment.

Once certified, Poulos said students could be placed with employers partnering with the college.

“We will follow up with them after they receive their certs to ensure they found work,” she said. “If not, we can help them build those relationships with our network of health care providers.”

Reporter Ike Fredregill can be reached at 970-384-9154 or by email at


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