BECOMING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN OREGON
A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist to prepare prescription medications. This is a rapidly expanding field that has a lot of growth potential. Pharmacy techs count pills, and compound medications, maintain inventory, and provide administrative and customer service support. This is an ideal position for someone who enjoys science and technology and wants a healthcare career. If you have good communication skills and enjoy detail-oriented work, then you might consider becoming a pharmacy tech. [Leer en español]
Each state has unique requirements for becoming a pharmacy tech. The following information will help you understand the process of becoming a pharmacy technician in Oregon.
OREGON PHARMACY TECHNICIAN QUALIFICATIONS
Pharmacy techs must obtain a license from the Oregon Board of Pharmacy (OBP) before they can begin working or training in a pharmacy. To be eligible for licensing, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. You will need to pass a criminal background check and submit to being fingerprinted as part of the initial licensing process.
The application also requires you to submit a copy of your birth certificate and a photocopy of your state-issued identification card, or a copy of your passport. You will need to send a recent (less than six months old) passport-style photograph and pay the licensing fee.
Your initial license allows you to work and train in a pharmacy for one year as you gain competency in the role of a pharmacy tech. Then you can take the national exam and apply for a certified pharmacy technician (CPtA) license, which can be renewed annually. Oregon does not require any formal education or training to become a tech, but you will have to pass the national pharmacy technician certification exam to renew your license after the initial year.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN SCHOOLS IN OREGON
While formal education and training are not required to become a tech in Oregon, taking a pharmacy technician program may increase your chances of passing the national pharmacy technician certification exam. The OBP recommends taking a course accredited by the America Society for Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP).
There are many pharmacy technician programs offered at community colleges and training centers around the state, but only three programs are currently accredited by ASHP.
These courses vary in length from brief, nine-month programs aimed at basic medical terminology and pharmacy skills to longer two-year programs that include administrative and legal coursework. Some programs that are recommended include:
Carrington offers both a short nine-month and a longer two-year program in pharmacy technology. Both ASAP-accredited courses cover theory and practical training and prepare you to start as an entry-level tech. You will learn medical terminology and acronyms, and cover filling prescriptions and pharmaceutical compounding. After your course, you will obtain a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate of Science Degree. These courses also prepare you to sit for your CPtA exam.
Chemeketa Community College
Chemeketa was the first program in the state to have accreditation by ASHP. They offer a one-year basic pharmacy technology course leading to a Certificate of Achievement and a two-year program that grants an Associate of Science degree. Both programs will prepare you to work in a pharmacy and include medical terminology, drug calculations, and medical ethics. The 2-year course includes higher-level skills including inventory management and legal training and will prepare you for a position of leadership in a pharmacy. Both programs will prepare you to sit for your CPtA certification exam.
Central Oregon Community College
COCC offers an ASHP-accredited, three-term program in pharmacy technology that can usually be completed in less than a year. The classes are a mix of online and practical exercises and focus on the basic skills needed to work in a pharmacy. You will also receive practical experience working in a hospital and a retail pharmacy located near COCC. Upon completion of the program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion and will be prepared to sit for your CPtA certification exam.
Penn Foster Career School
Penn Foster offers an affordable, ASHP Accredited online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.
LICENSING AND CERTIFICATION IN OREGON
Pharmacy techs must hold a current license to work in a pharmacy in Oregon. There are two levels of licensing for pharmacy techs. There is an initial pharmacy technician license that is issued to new techs who have not yet passed the national exam.
This initial license is valid for one year and allows you to gain employment and train in a pharmacy. The initial license is not renewable, and you will need to pass the national exam to be eligible to continue working as a certified pharmacy technician.
If you have passed the national exam before applying for a pharmacy technician license, you can skip the initial licensing step and apply directly for a CPtA license.
To be eligible for a CPtA license in Oregon, you must meet the requirements and pass the national exam given by either the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
When you apply for your CPtA license you will need to submit a copy of your national certification along with your background check, birth certificate, passport photo, and licensing fees. The license is renewed annually and must be kept current if you are employed as a pharmacy tech.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION BOARD(PTCB)
The PTCB is a nationally recognized organization that provides certification for pharmacy technicians. To be eligible to take the PTCB exam, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and you must have completed a pharmacy technician training program or have at least one year of work experience as a pharmacy technician.
WORKING AS A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN OREGON
Pharmacy technology in Oregon is a rapidly growing field and offers a lot of potential for advancement. The job market for pharmacy techs in Oregon is projected to grow at a rate of 11 percent from 2020 to 2030.
This is substantially higher than the 5 percent projected growth for the United States as a whole. Techs can find employment at health centers, hospitals, and local retail and compounding pharmacies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly rate for a pharmacy tech in Oregon is $22.21, and you can expect to start at about $40,000 a year once you have received your CPtA license. Pharmacy technicians may also be eligible for health care, retirement, and other benefits through their employers.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Oregon?
- Carrington College, Portland
- Chemeketa Community College, Salem
- Linn-Benton Community College, Albany
- Southwestern Oregon Community College, Coos Bay
- Penn Foster Career School, Online
How do you become a pharmacy technician in Oregon?
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass a criminal record and fingerprint check
- Apply for a license from the Oregon Board of Pharmacy (OBP)
- Pass a national certification exam within one year and apply for a certified pharmacy technician (CPtA) license
How much do pharmacy technicians make in Oregon?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Oregon made an average of $46,190 per year in 2020. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $35,690 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $59,390.