Pharmacy Technicians support the pharmacist in the receipt and distribution of medications. They hold a vital role on the pharmacy team as they verify prescriptions, prepare intravenous drugs, package and label medications, manage third-party billing, order and stock inventory, and update patient profiles. Their management of the day-to-day operation of the pharmacy gives pharmacists the freedom to oversee the clinical aspect of the pharmacy.
Accredited pharmacy technician programs prepare students for employment in both retail chain and hospital pharmacy. This distinction in the training is vital since the role and responsibility of the technician in each setting varies. In preparation for a position in the hospital, the student will learn how to prepare medications that combat infections, prepare intravenous solutions, make a 24-hour liquid food, and use automated dispensing equipment. In community pharmacies, technicians are charged with answering the phones, operating the cash register, ordering and stocking supplies, collecting patient information, and referring customers to the pharmacist.
Pharmacy technicians in Washington State must pass a national certification exam that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and obtain a state license from the Washington State Department of Health – Board of Pharmacy.
Edmonds Community College
The Pharmacy Technician program at Edmonds Community College includes classroom and clinical instruction to give students skills and knowledge to qualify for entry-level positions in retail and chain, institutional, and mail order pharmacies. Students must complete a total of 39 credits to qualify for the Pharmacy Technician Certificate – does not include the prerequisite courses. Course topics include Orientation to Pharamcy Practice, Pharmacy Terminology, Applied Pharmacology I, Over the Counter Drugs, Applied Pharmacology II, Pharmacy Calculations, Prescription Processing, Pharmacy Law and Ethics, Hospital Procedures/IV/Unit Dose, and Pharmacy Clinical. Prerequisite courses include Human Body, Intro to Health Care, Basic Medical Terminology, Basic Life Support/CPR, and HIV/AIDS. The duration of the program is three quarters and includes two quarters in the classroom and lab and one quarter of theory that runs concurrently with a 264-hour pharmacy technician externship at an approved pharmacy. Students must be prepared to pay for and take the national certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician during the third quarter of the program.
- Complete and submit an application for admission online or in person
- Meet with the Financial Aid Advisor to determine options for financial aid
- Take and pass the ACCUPLACER test
- Take and pass the prerequisite courses with a grade C or better – official transcripts must be provided. A waiver may be available for candidates who have worked in the medical field
- Register for classes and pay the tuition
- A criminal background check, drug screen, and proof of immunizations will be required for participation in the pharmacy externship
Tuition for the program is $5,736.72. Books and supplies will cost an additional $1,767.
- Website: https://www.edcc.edu/programs/ahe/pharmacytech/default.html
- Address: 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood, WA 98036
- Phone: 425-640-1459
Skagit Valley College
The Pharmacy Technician program at Skagit Valley College equips students with the skills to assume a supportive role to pharmacists in community, hospitals, mail-order, and clinical pharmacies. The Pharmacy Technician Certificate requires completion of 71 credits and focuses on drug calculations, dispensing techniques, inventory management, state pharmacy laws, and third-party billing. The training will include lectures as well as hands-on practice in a simulated lab and real-world pharmacy. The school uses PioneerRx to give students experience, in a contained environment, of performing the workflow of an actual pharmacy. Course topics include Orientation to Pharmacy Practice, Healthcare Interactions, Pharmacy Terminology, Dosage Calculations, Applied Pharmacology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacy Records Management. Final year courses include Over-the-Counter Drugs, Community and Hospital Drug Dispensing/Management, First Aid and Emergency Procedures, English Composition I, Community Clinical Experience. Hospital Clinical Experience, and Pharmacy Technician Clinical Experience Seminar. New students are admitted in the Fall only. Candidates for admission must complete the prerequisite courses with a grade C or better. Students are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Complete the prerequisite courses with a grade C or better – Basic Pharmacology, Basic Medical Terminology, Pre-algebra, Microsoft Office Basics, College Success Skills
- Submit a completed application with an unofficial transcript of prerequisite courses
- Complete a criminal background check
- Pass a urine drug screen
- Have current AHA BLS Card and First Aid Card
- Complete 7-hour HIV/AIDS Prevention Training
- Complete the required certification – negative TB test or chest x-ray, 2 MMR, Hepatitis B, Annual Flu, Tdap, 2 Varicella
- Have a pharmacy assistant licensure from the Washington State Department of Health
Tuition for the program is $6,844. Books and supplies will cost an additional $1,900.
- Website: https://www.skagit.edu/academics/areas-of-study/health-sciences/allied-health-education/pharmacy-technician/
- Address: 2405 East College Way, Mount Vernon, WA
- Phone: 360-416-7600
Clover Park Technical College
Clover Park Technical College’s Pharmacy Technician program includes hands-on training in the classroom and lab followed by three months of real-world experience through the pharmacy technician externship. The externship is the best way to gain a competitive advantage as graduates will be prepared to transition from the program to entry-level practice in a retail or institutional pharmacy setting. The program’s accreditation with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education will give graduates another advantage with potential employers. The curriculum combines classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences. Course modules are Human Biology w/Lab, Medical Terminology I, Computer Applications, College Success for All, Public Speaking, English Composition I, Math for Health Occupations, General Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Pharmacy & Pharmacy Lab, Pharmacology Part I, Generic Drug Names I, Pharmacy Lab I, and Pharmaceutical Calculations. Other modules include Hospital Practice with Sterile Processing, Clinical Capstone Research, Pharmacy Lab II, Community Pharmacy Clinical Capstone, Institutional Clinical Capstone, Community Practice, and Generic Drug Names II. The clinical quarter will require students to attend 32 hours per week from Tuesday through Friday. New students are admitted in the Summer and Winter Quarter. The duration of the program is 5 to 6 quarters based on the schedule.
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Must be 18 years of age at the beginning of the clinical experience
- Meet the prerequisites for college-level reading, writing and math
- Complete medical terminology, computer applications, and college level math with a grade C or better
- Maintain a grade B or better on general education and technical courses
- Must carry personal health/medical insurance throughout the clinical rotations
- Complete a comprehensive background check with PQAC and Castle Branch before the clinical – some types of criminal convictions will disqualify a candidate from licensure
- Must be able to lift 25 lbs and push and pull carts up to 50 lbs
- Must have current immunizations – MMR, Hepatitis B, Tdap, TB test, Varicella, and Influenza
- Have current CPR for the Healthcare Professional certification from the American Heart Association
Tuition, books, supplies, and fees will cost $12,341.38.
- Website: http://www.cptc.edu/programs/pharm-tech
- Address: 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood WA 98499-4004
- Phone: 253-589-5800
Charter College Fife
The Pharmacy Technician program at Charter College prepares students for entry-level employment at retail and institutional pharmacies. The curriculum will cover the fundamentals of pharmacy calculations, sterile dosage forms, and drug distribution systems through theory and hands-on experiences. It will also include preparation for the National Certification Exam and an 180-hour externship. Students must complete 70 credit hours to obtain a Pharmacy Technician Certificate. Course modules include Compliance in Health Care Environments, Introduction to Pharmacy, Pharmacy Operations and Administration, Pharmacy Law and Ethics, Infection Control and Safety, and Pharmacy Calculations. Additional modules are Pharmacy Measurements, Compounding, Pharmacology, Pharmacodynamics, Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacy Technician Certification, Pharmacy Technician Externship, Student Success Strategies, Technology Fundamentals, and Professional Success Strategies. Graduates will demonstrate professionalism, good communication, and teamwork in the professional setting, understand the legal and ethical standards that govern practice, perform administrative tasks competently in the pharmacy, and dispense medications under the supervision of a registered pharmacist. The duration of the program is 10 months.
- Attend an interview with an admissions representative
- Must be least 17 years of age
- Obtain a satisfactory score on the admissions assessment
- Have a high school diploma or recognized equivalency
- Successfully pass a background check administered by a third-party vendor
Financial aid is available for eligible students.
- Website: https://www.chartercollege.edu/programs/healthcare/pharmacy-technician
- Address: 3700 Pacific Highway East, Suite 150, Fife, WA 98424
- Phone: 253-252-4200
Renton Technical College
The Pharmacy Technician program at Renton Technical College seeks to give students the skills that will enable them to perform pharmacy calculations, mix intravenous solutions, and compound products. Through theory and hands-on experiences students will gain knowledge of products and drugs. Students will participate in externships in both retail and hospital pharmacies. Course topics include Pharmacy Technician Fundamentals & Ethics, Top 200 Drugs I, Pharmacology II, Outpatient Pharmacy Preparations and Record Keeping I, Outpatient Pharmacy Preparations and Record Keeping II, IV Admixture Advanced Techniques, Inpatient and Home Healthcare Pharmacy Preparations and Record Keeping, Top 200 Drugs II, Pharmacology I, Medical Terminology/Anatomy and Physiology for Pharmacy Technicians I, Pharmacy Law and References I, Business Office Machines I-III, Communications and Customer Service, Management Supervision and Human Relations, Pharmacy Calculations, and Pharmacy Practice Internship I and II. The duration of the program 4 quarters for the Pharmacy Technician Certificate and covers 77 credit hours. Classes meet Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 2:30 pm. New students are admitted in the Fall.
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Take and pass the Accuplacer test before applying for the program
- Must be attending high school or possess a high school diploma or equivalency
- Must be fluent in English including verbal and written communication
- Must complete and pass a criminal background check through Castle Branch
- Complete the vaccination and health requirements according to the Center for Disease Control Healthcare Provider immunization guidelines
- Submit immunization records
- Have health insurance for injury and sickness
- Have a current health report completed by a physician or nurse practitioner
- Must be able to lift 50 lbs or more
Tuition costs $127.26 per credit. Additional fees will apply.
- Website: https://www.rtc.edu/pharmacy-technician
- Address: 3000 NE 4th St., Renton, WA 98056
- Phone: (425) 235-2352