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 potential for growth. Pharmacy techs count pills, 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 career in healthcare. If you have good communication skills and enjoy detail-oriented work, then you might consider becoming a pharmacy tech. [Leer en español]

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Each state has unique requirements for becoming a pharmacy tech. The following information will help you understand the process for becoming a pharmacy technician in Oregon.

Pharmacy Technician Qualifications in Oregon

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 roll 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.

Training Programs in Oregon

While formal education and training are not required to become a tech in Oregon, taking a course 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 courses 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 College. 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. At the completion of 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 in order 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 in order to be eligible to continue working as a certified pharmacy technician. If you have passed the national exam prior to 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.

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 17.2 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is substantially higher than the 11.9 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 $19.67, 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 on their employer.

FAQs

What are best pharmacy technician schools in Oregon?

  1. Carrington College, Portland
  2. Chemeketa Community College, Salem
  3. Linn-Benton Community College, Albany
  4. Southwestern Oregon Community College, Coos Bay
  5. Penn Foster Career School, Online

How do you become a pharmacy technician in Oregon?

  1. You must be at least 18 years old
  2. You must have a high school diploma or GED
  3. Pass a criminal record and fingerprint check
  4. Apply for a license from the Oregon Board of Pharmacy (OBP)
  5. 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 $40,920 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $31,450 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $50,560.

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Medford, OR Area

Abdill Career College Inc

843 E Main Ste 203, Medford, Oregon 97504-7137
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Abdill Career College Inc can be taken at their campus in the city of Medford, OR. This private, for-profit college has around 80 students in total, with the majority of students on < 2-year programs. The school is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.* Fees for tuition are about $11,550 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $3,712, although this varies from program to program.

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Area

Carrington College-Portland

2004 Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Portland, Oregon 97232-1309
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Carrington College can be taken at their Portland campus in the city of Portland, OR. Most of the school’s 242 students are on 2-year programs. Carrington College-Portland has institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, while the program is separately accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* The cost of tuition for the Pharmacy Technician program is about $14,050 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $633. Typically, the program is completed in 9 months. This program has AHSP candidate status.

Bend, OR Area

Central Oregon Community College

2600 NW College Way, Bend, Oregon 97701
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Central Oregon Community College can be taken at their campus in the city of Bend. The majority of of the school’s 6,760 students are on 2-year programs. Central Oregon Community College is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $3,393 and are $4,329 and $8,541 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost roughly $1,800, although this will depend on the program.

Salem, OR Area

Chemeketa Community College

4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, Oregon 97305
Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program, Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Chemeketa Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Salem in Marion County. Most of the school’s 12,111 students are on 2-year programs. Chemeketa Community College has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, while the programs are separately accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $4,320 and for students from other states around $11,610 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,350, although this will vary with the program. This program is ASHP accredited. The program staff includes 2 technicians, a lab/clerical support member, and a Program Chair.The school offers start dates in September. Class scheduling: full-time. Acceptance Requirements: H.S. diploma or GED equivalency, admissions testing, transcripts General Location Training Sites: Salem, Oregon. Academic award: Certificate of Completion. They say: Develop skills for reading scripts, filling prescriptions, using computer programs involving patient charts. Labs train in compounding for both non-aseptic (counter preparation) and aseptic techniques (using laminar flows), proper handling of needles, syringes, I.V. bags, preparation of TPN; automated unit dose packaging machine techniques, automated pill counters utilized, Med-dispense and bar-coding techniques; learn skills in both heat and cold seal packaging. Practice skills dealing with customers/patients/personnel face-to-face as well as phone work. Multiculturalism is taught to gain an understanding of the different cultures and languages that exist and how to appreciate differences of customers/patients, as well as to be able to work with non-English speaking individuals. Financial aid is available for the program. In the winter term, students fill out the paper work (in-class) for submission for the one-year non-renewable to the board of pharmacy. Externship sites hire many of the externs and aid in finding job locations. During spring term, students prepare in-class for the national exam utilizing tools learned within the program. Practice PTCB tests and discussions are used for prep. Critical point stressed within the program is medication errors and how to avoid them.

Salem, OR Area

Institute of Technology Inc

4700 Silverton Road NE, Salem, Oregon 97305
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Institute of Technology Inc is offered at their campus in Salem in Marion County, Oregon. The majority of of the school’s 335 students are on short programs of under two years. The school is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training.* Tuition fees for the Medical Assisting program are, as a rough guide, around $17,575 yearly. Program completion is normally 10 months.

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Area

Pioneer Pacific College

27501 SW Parkway Ave, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-9296
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Pioneer Pacific College’s Certificate Pharmacy Technician program is based at their campus in Wilsonville in Clackamas County. The college has in the region of 1,109 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. Pioneer Pacific College is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.* Fees for tuition are about $14,097 for each academic year.

Coastal Oregon nonmetropolitan area Area

Southwestern Oregon Community College

1988 Newmark Ave, Coos Bay, Oregon 97420-2193
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Southwestern Oregon Community College is based at their campus in the town of Coos Bay, Oregon. This public college has round 2,038 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Southwestern Oregon Community College is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Fees for tuition are likely to be about $5,184 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,500, although this will vary with 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

Residents of Oregon may also wish to review their options in Washington, Idaho, Nevada and California.