Pharmacy technicians in Washington are entry-level healthcare professionals who help pharmacists with completing prescriptions and helping clients in retail drug stores, doctors’ offices and hospitals. A number of technicians can become employed even if they are not certified, but this is becoming unusual as the vast majority of organizations now would rather hire only individuals who are graduates of an accredited program.

Due to record demand for new pharmacy techs in Washington, this profession is quite desirable among individuals who want an entry-level job in the medical field.

What does a pharmacy technician do in Washington?

Pharmacy technicians in Washington are employed under the supervision of a pharmacist, and are given the task of completing a variety of support duties that assist in keeping the drug store operating smoothly. While some facilities may require even more tasks, the following checklist shows the primary role of most pharmacy technicians in Washington.

Washington Pharmacy technician responsibilities

  • Take care of client and patient calls and inquiries
  • Create and maintain patient records
  • Help pharmacist in satisfying prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling medications
  • Handle payments for prescription medications and insurance policy claims
  • Manage all inventory in the local drugstore

What are the steps to become a pharmacy technician in Washington State?

The process for becoming a pharmacy technician in Washington may be summarized in the following four steps.

  1. Determine whether you plan to become certified
  2. If you should decide to become certified, enroll in a PTCA-accredited training program
  3. Complete the pharmacy tech class and hands-on training hours, as mandated by state
  4. Pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for official certification

Step 1: Determine whether you plan to get certified in WA

Your very first step towards becoming a pharmacy tech is deciding if you’re planning to get certified. Holding a certification isn’t a compulsory condition to work in all 50 states, but it does supply a lot of benefits and advantages.

With that being the case, it is highly suggested that you get a certification if you are considering launching a career in the pharmacy industry. The other steps in this guide only matter if you want to get certified.

Step 2: Sign-up for a PTAC-approved training course

If you have decided to earn your professional certification, the next thing is to register for a pharmacy technician training program that is accredited by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). Pharmacy technician programs throughout the country are governed by the PTAC, who works in partnership with both the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) to standardize education in the trade around the nation.

Why PTAC accreditation is important in WA State

Since only individuals who graduate from a training program approved by the PTAC are immediately eligible to take either of the national certification exams, it really is imperative that you complete a training course that is accredited by this organization.

Step 3: Complete training course and necessary hands-on training hours

After finding an accredited program that meets your requirements, the next step is to complete it. The academic and internship segments of the traditional program can be completed in twelve months or less.

Most training courses devote the academic segment of their curriculum to the subject matter that will probably be included in the national certification tests. In regards to the hands-on portion of the course, this is when students get hands-on experience in a functioning pharmacy setting.

Step 4: Successfully pass the PTCE or ExCPT exam

There are two nationally-recognized pharmacy tech certification tests – the PTCE and ExCPT. Once you’ve graduated from a PTAC-accredited program, you will be eligible to sit for either one of them. You will acquire the national credential of CPHT (Certified Pharmacy Technician) by passing either examination.

We take a deeper look at these assessments here.

Pharmacy technician pay in Washington

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary for a pharmacy technician in the U.S. was $31,750 as of May 2017.

The table below features the latest numbers on salary available in Washington.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Yearly$21,370 $30,920 $45,710
WashingtonHourly$15.19$20.29$26.01
Yearly$31,590 $42,210 $54,100
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA MSAHourly$16.08$21.62$26.83
Yearly$33,450 $44,960 $55,800
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$15.76$21.02$27.09
Yearly$32,770 $43,720 $56,350
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA MSAHourly$15.22$20.58$24.47
Yearly$31,650 $42,820 $50,900
Tacoma, WA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$15.44$20.32$25.19
Yearly$32,120 $42,270 $52,390
Bellingham, WA MSAHourly$13.64$20.18$24.24
Yearly$28,370 $41,960 $50,410
Spokane, WA MSAHourly$15.30$19.88$24.65
Yearly$31,830 $41,350 $51,270
Northwestern Washington BOSHourly$15.89$19.73$24.39
Yearly$33,050 $41,040 $50,720
Longview, WA MSAHourly$15.26$19.37$24.74
Yearly$31,740 $40,290 $51,470
Olympia, WA MSAHourly$14.41$19.08$25.01
Yearly$29,960 $39,690 $52,010
Southwestern Washington BOSHourly$14.81$18.88$25.42
Yearly$30,800 $39,260 $52,870
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA MSAHourly$15.15$18.83$45.65
Yearly$31,510 $39,160 $94,940
Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, WA MSAHourly$14.84$18.66$24.37
Yearly$30,860 $38,820 $50,680
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSAHourly$14.32$18.43$23.68
Yearly$29,790 $38,340 $49,250
Eastern Washington BOSHourly$13.33$18.29$24.56
Yearly$27,730 $38,050 $51,080
Yakima, WA MSAHourly$11.27$17.24$22.87
Yearly$23,440 $35,870 $47,560
Lewiston, ID-WA MSAHourly$10.67$15.99$22.87
Yearly$22,200 $33,250 $47,560
Central Washington BOSHourly$10.43$14.67$22.30
Yearly$21,690 $30,520 $46,390