Requirements to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Washington State

Requirements to become a pharmacy technician in Washington State

As of June 1st, 2012, the state of Washington lists 1,088 retail and hospital pharmacies among its many thriving local businesses.  Altogether, Washington pharmacies employ approximately 7,220 full time pharmacy technicians, according to demographic information recently supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
Pharmacy technicians are pharmacists' assistants, often responsible for handling federally controlled substances.  However, despite a state-mandated requirement for Board-certified pharmacy assistants, only around half of all pharmacy technicians currently employed at Washington pharmacies actually hold current, valid licenses.  This is assumed to be more or less due to administrative details, as pharmacists unanimously prefer licensed technicians over unlicensed help, whose on-the-job activities may be restricted by federal laws.  Guidelines and restrictions pertaining to pharmacy technicians vary from state to state.   

Washington State Regulations for Pharmacy Technicians

The state of Washington is one among fourteen U.S. states that requires all of its pharmacy technicians to be licensed and certified by the state's Board of Pharmacy.  Anyone seeking work as a pharmacy technician in the state of Washington must register with the Board.  To qualify for a license, each registrant must provide proof of at least a high school education.  Candidates must also have completed a Board-approved training program that includes 520 hours of practical, on-the-job experience and includes HIV/AIDS training.  The application fee is fifty dollars made payable to the Washington Board of Pharmacy.  Renewal is required annually, no later than the birthday of the registrant.  A $35 renewal fee will apply. 
Applicants for pharmacy technician licensing must also earn a passing grade on a nationally recognized certification exam.  State-approved exams for Washington pharmacy technicians are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam and the Exam for Certified Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT).  The latter is a nationally recognized exam administered by the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT).   

Washington State Training Programs for Pharmacy Technicians Include:

Washington residents who are interested in landing steady employment as pharmacy technicians will often acquire skills at accredited local colleges.  Prominent Washington schools with certificate programs for pharmacy technicians include Carrington College in Spokane and Everest College, with facilities in Bremerton, Everett, Renton and Tacoma.  Also popular is University of Phoenix, featuring locations in Bellevue, Kennewick, Spokane, Tacoma, Tukwila and Vancouver.
Some aspiring pharmacy technicians acquire skills online.  Popular accredited online colleges for pharmacy technicians include MedVance Institute, Northwest College, Institute of Technology, Arizona College of Allied Health and Charter College, to name only a few.