How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Washington

Pharmacy technicians are in demand across the country. With the right training and certifications, you can easily find a job as a tech in Washington. According to state laws, pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of licensed pharmacists. They can do many of the same things pharmacists do, such as organize and count medicines and fill prescriptions. Techs also work with patients, communicate important information, take phone calls and run the checkout. To become a pharmacy tech in Washington, you will need to be licensed. [Leer en español]

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Pharmacy Technician Requirements in Washington

Requirements for becoming a pharmacy technician in the state are set by the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission, part of the Washington State Department of Health. The first requirement is the completion of an approved education or training program. Then you must pass a national certifying exam. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is an approved exam.

Additional requirements include being 18 years old or older, having a high school diploma or GED, and passing a background check. If you have met all the requirements, you will then need to apply with the Commission and pay an application fee.

Pharmacy Tech Programs in Washington

A Commission-approved program in Washington must include experiential, or on-the-job, training and at least eight hours of study of Washington pharmacy law. You may be able to find a pharmacist willing to train you and meet these requirements. Or, you can complete an approved post-secondary education program. These are some options throughout the state:

  • North Seattle College, Seattle. This Pharmacy Technician Certification program takes about nine months to complete. It is designed to prepare you to pass the national exam and to meet all requirements set by the Commission. It is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Students in the program learn in the classroom and in real pharmacies.
  • Renton Technical College, Renton. This program also includes classroom work as well as real-world training in pharmacies. You can choose between a Certificate of Completion, which includes 77 credits over four quarters, or an Associate of Applied Science degree. The latter is six quarters with 97 credits of coursework.
  • Carrington College, Spokane. In Spokane, students can enroll in the Carrington programs. Choose from a certificate program that takes nine months to complete and an associate’s degree program that takes less than two years to finish. Both prepare graduates to become licensed in the state.
  • Penn Foster Career School. Penn Foster offers an affordable, ASHP Accredited online Pharmacy Technician training program. More information.

Applying for Licensing in Washington

Once you have completed an educational or training program in pharmacy technology, you will need to pass the PTCB exam or another approved exam for national certification. You will next apply with the Commission for a license and provide personal information for a background check. If you meet the requirements, the Commission will likely approve your license. The license must be renewed every year with a fee and proof of 10 completed hours of continuing education.

Salary Expectations and Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that growth in this career is strong and faster than average job growth. New jobs are being added for pharmacy techs at a rate of 12 percent. In Washington, that rate of growth is just over nine percent. There will be about 690 new pharmacy tech positions added in the state between 2016 and 2026.

The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in the U.S. is $32,700. In Washington, it is $42,470 or $20.42 per hour. Top earners in this career in the state make more than $55,300 per year. To earn more you may need to work up to a leadership role.

Working as a Pharmacy Technician in Washington

As a pharmacy technician you will be able to find a job in nearly any part of the state. Wherever there are pharmacies, techs are needed. Look at drugstores, grocery stores, general merchandise stores, hospitals and nursing homes.

The greatest number of opportunities are to be found in cities and suburbs, but there are positions available in rural areas too. The biggest population centers of Seattle and Tacoma, Spokane, Vancouver, Everett and Yakima will provide more chances to get hired and to earn a great salary as a licensed Washington pharmacy technician.

FAQs

What are best pharmacy technician schools in Washington?

  1. North Seattle College, Seattle
  2. Pima Medical Institute, Seattle, Renton
  3. Renton Technical College, Renton
  4. Yakima Valley College, Yakima
  5. Spokane Community College, Spokane

How do you become a pharmacy technician in Washington?

  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 State-approved education or pharmacy technician training program
  5. Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the ExCPT exam
  6. Apply to the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission

How much do pharmacy technicians make in Washington?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of Washington made an average of $42,470 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $32,200 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $55,300.

All School Listings

Spokane, WA Area

Carrington College-Spokane

10102 E. Knox Ave., Suite 200, Spokane, Washington 99206-4187
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Carrington College is offered at their Spokane campus in the city of Spokane, Washington. The college has about 538 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Carrington College-Spokane has institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools, while the program is separately accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* Tuition fees for the Medical Assisting program are generally around $14,127 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $882. The typical program completion time is 10 months. This program has AHSP candidate status.

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Area

Clark College

1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, Washington 98663-3598
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program, Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program

Clark College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Vancouver. The majority of of the school’s 11,462 students are on 2-year programs. The school is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $3,650 and for students from other states likely to be about $8,840 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,026, depending on the program chosen.

Tacoma, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Clover Park Technical College

4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, Washington 98499-4004
Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program, Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Clover Park Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Lakewood, WA. The majority of of the school’s 3,720 students are on 2-year programs. Clover Park Technical College has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, while the programs themselves are accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $4,451 and for out-of-state students approximately $9,611 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,026, depending on the program chosen. This program is ASHP accredited. The program staff includes 2 technicians. The school offers start dates in the Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer Quarters. Class scheduling: Full time, days or evenings. Acceptance Requirements: High School Diploma or GED, COMPASS TEST, with a score of College level Reading and Math. General Location Training Sites: Great South Puget Sound. Academic award: Associate of Applied Technology Degree (daytime program) Or Certificate (evening program). They say: Financial aid, Labor and Industry, state registration, preparation for national certification examination, intensive hands on skills development in sterile parenteral admixture, and prescription processing. Computer applications, group presentations, externship in local pharmacies.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Edmonds Community College

20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, Washington 98036-5912
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Edmonds Community College’s Certificate Pharmacy Technician program is based at their campus in Lynnwood in Snohomish County, Washington. This public college has roughly 9,070 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Edmonds Community College is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $4,408 and for students from other states likely to be about $9,643 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,026, although this will vary with the program.

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan Division Area

Pima Medical Institute-Renton

555 South Renton Village Pl-Ste 400, Renton, Washington 98057
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Pima Medical Institute’s Certificate-level Pharmacy Technician program is based at their Renton campus in the city of Renton. Most of the school’s 889 students are on 2-year programs. The school has institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.* Tuition fees for the Medical Assisting program are generally around $11,943 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $759. The typical program completion time is 9 months.

Pima Medical Institute-Seattle

9709 Third Ave NE Suite 400, Seattle, Washington 98115
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Pima Medical Institute is offered at their Seattle campus in the city of Seattle, Washington. Most of the school’s 787 students are on 2-year programs. The school has institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.* Fees for tuition are likely to be in the order of $11,830 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $562, as necessitated by the chosen program.

Renton Technical College

3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, Washington 98056-4123
Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program, Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Renton Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Renton. The majority of of the school’s 3,338 students are on 2-year programs. Renton Technical College has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the programs themselves are accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $4,720 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,026, depending on the program. This program is ASHP accredited. The program faculty includes a technician,a lab/clerical support member, a pharmacist, and a instructor. The school offers start dates in the Fall quarter yearly. Class scheduling: FT days. Acceptance Requirements: H.S. Diploma or GED and pass COMPASS/ASSET test (s) General Location Training Sites: Within 25 miles of school.. Academic award: AAS or AAST. They say: This program offers hands-on practical application in both outpatient and inpatient lab settings so students can simulate actual industry practice. Current computers and software are also used. Financial Aid is available, assistance with job search is offered and students are prepared to take and pass the national certification exam.

Seattle Community College-North Campus

9600 College Way North, Seattle, Washington 98103-3599
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program, Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program

Seattle Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their North Campus campus in the city of Seattle. This public college has about 6,118 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. Seattle Community College-North Campus has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the programs are separately accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $3,862 and for students from other states likely to be about $9,052 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,026, depending on the program. This program is ASHP accredited. Staff on the program includes 2 technicians, 3 lab/clerical support, and 2 pharmacists. The school offers start dates in the Fall and Spring Quarters. Class scheduling: Full time, days. Acceptance Requirements: High School Diploma or GED, Proof of 18 years of age, COMPASS TEST, with a score of College level Reading/Composition (ENG&101 and Math, Intermediate Algebra placement (MATH098). General Location Training Sites: Greater Puget Sound. Academic award: Associate of Applied Science Degree ?AASD 399A Certificate of completion- 399B. They say: North Seattle College established the pharmacy technician program in 1976, at the time, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy called technicians, Assistants. ASHP accredited the program in 2012 and the program is registered with the Washington State Board of Pharmacy. The State Board requires the program to be completed in 12 months. Lab skills include hands-on demonstration, intensive hands on skills development in sterile parenteral admixture, and prescription processing, computer applications, group presentations, capstone poster project and externship in local pharmacies . AIDS/HIV training (required by the State in order to do experiential training and acquire registration/licensure to work). The Washington State Board of Pharmacy requires successful completion of a board approve program, as well as passing one of the national certification exams in order to obtain registration/licensure to be employed as a Pharmacy Technician.

Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA Area

Skagit Valley College

2405 E. College Way, Mount Vernon, Washington 98273
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Skagit Valley College is taught at their campus in the city of Mount Vernon, Washington. This public college has round 4,790 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. Skagit Valley College has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be about $4,200 and for students from other states likely to be about $4,700 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Spokane, WA Area

Spokane Community College

1810 North Greene Street, Spokane, Washington 99217-5399
Pharmacy Technician – Associate Program, Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

Spokane Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Spokane. The college has about 6,731 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. Spokane Community College has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the programs themselves are accredited by American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $3,489 and for students from other states likely to be about $8,680 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,026, although this will vary with the program. This program is ASHP accredited. The school offers starting dates in September. Candidates must undergo an interview. Class scheduling: full-time, daytime. Acceptance Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate, typing test with a score of 35-40 wpm or completion of a typing class within the last 5 years, interview with pharmacy technician instructor, 2 hour observation in the pharmacy technician lab, 3 letters of recommendation, keyboarding ability, 1 year high school computer instruction or completion of a computer class and appropriate scores on the ASSET or COMPAS test. General Location Training Sites: South hill of Spokane, valley, North side of Spokane. Academic award: Certificate or AAS degree. They say: Spokane Community College established the pharmacy technician program in 1998. SCC is the only ASHP accredited program on the east side of Cascade Mountains. SCC is registered with the Washington State Board of Pharmacy. The State Board requires the program to be completed in 12 months or less. Course work includes a writing class component. Lab skills include hands-on demonstration and computer application in a state-of-the-art lab facility. The program offers financial aid, CPR certification, AIDS/HIV training (required by the State in order to obtain certification), proof of medical insurance coverage, and complete physical examination. In 2006, the State Board of Pharmacy will require all new graduates to complete the National Certification Exam.

Yakima, WA Area

Yakima Valley Community College

South 16th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima, Washington 98907-2520
Pharmacy Technician – Certificate Program

The Certificate program at Yakima Valley Community College is offered at their campus in the city of Yakima, WA. Most of the school’s 4,105 students are on 2-year programs. Yakima Valley Community College has institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.* Fees for tuition for in-state students are about $3,820 and for students from other states likely to be about $4,214 yearly, while study materials may cost about $1,026, depending on 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

See options in the neighboring states of Idaho, Oregon and California.