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Pharmacy Technician Program

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary duties of a Pharmacy Technician?

Pharmacy Techs are state certified and work under the direction of a pharmacist filling prescriptions; making routine mixtures; doing inventory control; entering/maintaining pharmacy databases. In hospitals, they may also prepare and deliver medications.

Critical thinking and good organizational skills along with the ability to work with the public and handle multiple tasks and basic computer skills are required.

Upon successful completion of the Edmonds College training program, students will apply to the Washington State Department of Health Board of Pharmacy for their Pharmacy Technician license. There is a fee (approximately $50) for this application that will include a criminal history background check. There is an annual renewal fee.

What is a Pharmacy Assistant?

This classification has limited responsibility and is more clerical and may include counting medicine and placing in containers, filing, bookkeeping, pricing, ordering and stocking medicines, cleaning, general customer service.

In the Edmonds College training program, all students will be required to register with the Washington State Department of Health Board of Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Assistant prior to beginning the Pharmacy Clinical Work Experience. The application has no fee and will be done in class. This application process will include a criminal history background check.

What are the working conditions?

For both the clinical and work environments, students will need to verify immunizations, tuberculin status and/or chest x-ray; be able to lift 10 to 20 pounds; be able to stand, reach, grasp and use fine motor skills often. Physical requirements may change depending on the individual situation and accommodations. Workers in the field state that a drawback is that they deal with people who are ill but this also provides the opportunity to make a difference by offering support and potential relief to customers and patients.

Positions are in retail stores, hospitals and specialty pharmacies that supply nursing/assisted living facilities or provide mail order prescription services. A 40-hour workweek is standard but part-time options may exist. Hospital and retail pharmacies are open nights, weekends and some holidays.

What if I have a felony?

It is important to answer all application questions honestly. See copies of the Washington State Department of Health Board of Pharmacy applications for Pharmacy Assistant and Pharmacy Technicians by going to: 

Then go to ?Forms/Applications.?

Then go to ?Persons.?

Choose either ?Technicians? then ?Applications? or ?Assistant? then ?Applications.?

Applications will be handled on an individual basis so it is not possible to generalize how the Board will interpret a felony.

Will there be a drug test?

The Edmonds College training program does not require a drug test, however, some employers or clinical sites may require a drug test prior to employment or work experience.

What are the typical wages for a Pharmacy Technician?

Wages may vary depending on whether the position is in retail, hospital, clinic or other facility. The average wage in Washington is $12 to $18 (currently, most retail chains cap at $15.50) per hour with benefits that may include paid medical, dental and life insurance and a retirement plan. There may be employee discounts. In some cases, the employer may supply uniforms.

What is the forecast for employment?

The number of pharmacies is expanding to meet community needs, especially in retail settings. Responsibilities that might have originally been those of the pharmacist are being shifted to Pharmacy Technicians. Washington State allows one pharmacist to supervise up to three Pharmacy Technicians.  Between 2000 and 2010, job opportunities are expected to grow about 36% (according to WOIS/the Career Information System). Retail outlet sources have indicated an estimated increase of 100% in job openings.

Will these credits apply to a two-year degree?

The Edmonds College Pharmacy Technician Training Program meets all of the required elements as prescribed by the Washington State Board of Health Department of Pharmacy. A two-year degree is not required. If you are seeking a two-year degree, you should contact the department in which you will be getting the degree to determine if any of these credits may count (perhaps as elective credit). It will depend on the degree that you are working on.

If you plan to transfer to a four-year college, you should plan to work on the transfer degree. There are very specific classes that you need to take. Again, elective credits may be met by the Pharmacy Technician classes but not all would be accepted. Please check with an advisor on the first floor of Lynnwood Hall or email Patty Northman at pnorthma@edcc.edu

The college offers the Allied Health Education Pharmacy Technician Associate in Applied Science-Transfer Degree is designed for students who want to transfer to the Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Administrative Management at Central Washington University (CWU).

If I want to become a Pharmacist, should I take these classes?

The typical educational path to becoming a Pharmacist would be to graduate from a four-year institution. You should work on the two-year transfer degree while at Edmonds College.

However, successfully completing the Pharmacy Technician Training Program classes will give you opportunity to apply for a Pharmacy Technician license and work within the pharmacy environment. This could provide employment while pursuing additional school as well as help you determine if this is the right field for you. Training and job experience as a Pharmacy Technician will not satisfy the educational credit requirements but may help you in your career choice and potentially could help in gaining entrance into a pharmacy school.

The Pharmacy Technician classes (terminology, mathematics, procedures, etc.) might provide supplemental benefit to the coursework that you will have in a pharmacy school at a university. This would be an individual decision and, again, university advising is recommended.