Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Washington, D.C
If you’re interested in a health career, why not get started as a pharmacy technician? Pharmacy techs assist licensed pharmacists in the preparation, packaging and delivery of prescriptions. They also offer customer services by submitting health insurance claims, taking payments for medication and fetching the pharmacist for customers with questions.
Over half of all pharmacy technicians work in traditional retail pharmacy or drugstore settings, but some pharmacy techs also work in hospitals and general merchandise stores. The duties of a pharmacy technician vary depending on each work environment’s particular needs.
The education time is short for pharmacy technicians, usually lasting less than a year. While traditional school options are available, some pharmacy technicians instead choose to learn through employer-based pharmacy training.
How Do I Become a Pharmacy Technician?
No matter where you live, you need to first graduate from high school or earn a GED equivalent. You also need to be 18 years old before you can begin as a pharmacy tech. Then, you can either enroll in a college certificate program, an associate’s degree program or work-based training. In Washington, D.C., the next steps include passing a D.C. Board of Pharmacy-approved pharmacy technician exam and applying for your pharmacy technician license through the Board.
Get Pharmacy Technician Training
There are minimal pharmacy technician programs located within Washington, D.C. One program is located at the University of the District of Columbia. This is the only public university in D.C. Students can earn a pharmacy technician certificate in one semester.
However, there are many opportunities in surrounding states, which you can utilize to make sure you have the training you need to pass a national certification exam. Those who wish to stay within the District of Columbia can also pursue employer-based training.
What Does it Take to Become Licensed?
Once you complete training, the D.C. Board of Pharmacy requires you to pass a national pharmacy technician exam before receiving your license. You need to pass an exam administered by one of the following: The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), The National Healthcareer Association or another Board-approved certification agency.
The District of Columbia requires all pharmacy technicians, even those in training, to register with the D.C. Board of Pharmacy and become licensed. Those who are training in a pharmacy setting must apply for a temporary trainee license. When their training is complete, they’ll be required to go through the standard licensing process. A cleared background check is required for all licensed pharmacy techs.
Job Predictions for Pharmacy Techs in D.C.
The job outlook for pharmacy technicians in the District of Columbia looks excellent. The Projections Managing Partnership predicts a 13.3 percent increase in D.C. pharmacy technician employment from the years 2016 to 2026. Nationally, that projection falls at 12 percent. Both of these growth rates are faster than average for all jobs.
Pharmacy technicians in the capital are also paid better than much of the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), they earned a median income of $19.20 per hour in 2018. That same year, the national median income for pharmacy techs was much less, at $15.72 per hour.
Your Future as a Pharmacy Technician
In the District of Columbia, becoming a pharmacy technician is an excellent career choice. Over 6,000 pharmacy techs are employed in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area, and that number is increasing each year. Having passed a national certification test, your credentials should be able to transfer to other states if you decide to move in the future.
If you’re someone who works well with customers, has an eye for detail and is proficient in math and science, you could make a great pharmacy technician. Start checking pharmacies for training opportunities and explore training programs in your surrounding area.