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]

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GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS

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 TRAINING PROGRAMS

State Board-approved pharmacy technician 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. Request enrollment information on the school website.

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. 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 $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 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.

FAQS

What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Virginia?

  1. Chester Career College, Chester
  2. Stratford University, Fairfax
  3. ECPI University, Virginia Beach
  4. American National University, Salem
  5. Penn Foster Career School, Online

How do you become a pharmacy technician in Virginia?

  1. You must be at least 18 years old
  2. You must have a high school diploma or GED
  3. Pass a criminal record check
  4. Complete a Virginia Board of Pharmacy-approved training program
  5. Pass a Board-approved exam
  6. 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 $32,370 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $21,450 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $46,340.

ALL SCHOOL LISTINGS

Roanoke, VA Area

American National University

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, VA Area

Richmond School of Health and Technology

751 WEST HUNDRED ROAD, CHESTER, Virginia 23836Pharmacy Technician – Certificate ProgramPharmacy Technician – Associate Program

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.

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division Area

Stratford University

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.* tuition fees are about $15,135 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $2,535, although this will vary with the program.

* Accreditation status and tuition fees are correct at the time of the last update and are sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college or university before applying.

OUT-OF-STATE OPTIONS

Residents of Virginia may also wish to review their options in MarylandWest Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina.