Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in Virginia
An interest in the healthcare field doesn’t have to lead to medical school. Those eager to begin working as soon as possible might be interested in becoming a pharmacy technician. In this role, you’ll dispense prescriptions, manage inventory and complete other administrative tasks to support licensed pharmacists and patients. The requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician vary by state, and this short guide will tell you what you need to know about working in Virginia. [Leer en español]
Pharmacy technicians must register with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, complete a Board-certified training program and pass a Board-approved exam prior to beginning work in the state. Technicians who are currently enrolled in an approved program can work for nine months before taking the exam. You must be at least 18 years old and agree to a criminal background check to register with the state Board.
Available Training Programs
State Board-approved training programs are offered at technical schools and community colleges throughout Virginia. These programs teach the basics of pharmacy operations and prepare students to sit for national licensing exams. Your options include:
- Chester Career College. Chester’s diploma program combines classroom instruction and externship experience to help students learn. The course teaches essential skills, such as customer service and communication, in addition to technical knowledge.
- Stratford University. Stratford offers a 20-class associate’s degree program that prepares students to work in a variety of healthcare settings. Each class takes between five and 10 weeks to complete, and students may attend on-campus or online sessions.
- American National University. Students can complete American National University’s program in as little as 10 months. The course is designed to easily combine with other healthcare programs, such as the university’s medical assisting degree, and all students receive free career advising.
- Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster offers an affordable online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.
Receiving Your National License
Pharmacy technicians must complete five hours of continuing education and renew their registration with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy each year. To receive your initial license, you must pass the Virginia Pharmacy Technician Exam, which consists of 50 questions, or the national Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).
If you choose to receive your national certification by taking the ExCPT test, you will become a Certified Pharmacy Technician and be allowed to take on additional responsibilities at work. You may also qualify for higher-paying jobs. To take the ExCPT exam, you must be within 30 days of receiving a high school diploma or GED, successfully complete a technician training program and pay a fee of $115.
Salary and Career Expectations in Virginia
Pharmacy technicians in Virginia can expect to make an average annual salary of $32,370, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Available jobs for pharmacy technicians in the state are increasing at a rate of 13.8 percent during the 10 years to 2026, according to the Projections Managing Partnership. This is slightly higher than the national average growth rate for this field of 12 percent during the same time period.
Working as a Pharmacy Technician in Virginia
Pharmacy technicians typically work in healthcare facilities, including independent and chain drugstores, nursing homes, hospitals and clinics. Many of these locations are open at night and on the weekends, so you should expect to have a nontraditional schedule. You should also be comfortable standing for long periods of time and moving heavy containers of inventory.
While higher-paying jobs are typically found in large cities like Richmond, which offer salaries that match the high cost of living, pharmacy technicians can find work throughout Virginia.
All School Listings
1813 E Main St, Salem, Virginia 24153Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program
The Certificate program at American National University is based at their campus in Salem in Salem County, Virginia. Of the 1,857 students, about 2% are postgraduates. The school is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.* Tuition fees are around $11,550 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $2,826, depending on the program chosen.
Richmond School of Health and Technology offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in CHESTER in Chesterfield County, Virginia. This private, for-profit college has in the region of 172 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Tuition fees for the Medical Assisting program are generally around $13,475 annually. The typical program completion time is 11 months.
3201 Jermantown Road, Suite 500, Fairfax, Virginia 22030Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program
Stratford University’s Associate Pharmacy Technician program is based at their campus in Fairfax in Fairfax City County, Virginia. Of the 2,825 students, about 19% are postgraduates. The school is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.* Fees for tuition are about $15,135 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $2,535, 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.