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 pharmacy technicians. 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 before 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.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN SCHOOLS IN VIRGINIA
State Board-approved pharmacy technician training programs are offered at technical schools and community colleges throughout Virginia. These pharmacy technician 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. Request enrollment information on the school website.
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. Request enrollment information on the school website.
Penn Foster Career School
Penn Foster offers an affordable, ASHP Accredited 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, complete a technician training program and pay a fee of $115.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION BOARD
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers a national certification known as the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential. You can become a CPhT by passing the PTCB exam, which consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. The exam covers topics such as pharmacy law, medication safety, and pharmacy calculations. To qualify, you must have a high school diploma or GED, complete a pharmacy technician training program and pay a fee of $129.
The PTCB also offers a recertification exam for technicians who need to renew their certification every two years. To be eligible, you must have completed 20 hours of continuing education and paid a recertification fee of $89.
SALARY AND CAREER EXPECTATIONS IN VIRGINIA
Pharmacy technicians in Virginia can expect to make an average annual salary of $36,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Available jobs for pharmacy technicians in the state are increasing at a rate of 21 percent during the 10 years to 2030, 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 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 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.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Virginia?
- Chester Career College, Chester
- Stratford University, Fairfax
- ECPI University, Virginia Beach
- American National University, Salem
- Penn Foster Career School, Online
How do you become a pharmacy technician in Virginia?
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass a criminal record check
- Complete a Virginia Board of Pharmacy-approved training program
- Pass a Board-approved exam
- Register with the Board
How much do pharmacy technicians make in Virginia?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Virginia made an average of $36,450 per year in 2020. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $28,790 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $47,030.