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 organizing and counting medicines and filling 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]
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 TECHNICIAN 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 pharmacy technician training programs 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 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 pharmacy tech 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 5 percent. In Washington, that rate of growth is 17 percent. There will be about 890 new pharmacy tech positions added in the state between 2020 and 2030.
The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in the U.S. is $36,740. In Washington, it is $46,690 or $22.45 per hour. Top earners in this career in the state make more than $59,540 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 earn a great salary as a licensed Washington pharmacy technician.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in Washington?
- North Seattle College, Seattle
- Pima Medical Institute, Seattle, Renton
- Renton Technical College, Renton
- Yakima Valley College, Yakima
- Spokane Community College, Spokane
How do you become a pharmacy technician in Washington?
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have a high school diploma or GED
- Pass a criminal record check
- Complete a State-approved education or pharmacy technician training program
- Pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) or the ExCPT exam
- 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 $46,690 per year in 2020. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $36,590 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $59,540.
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