A pharmacy technician may work in a hospital, retail pharmacy, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical company or other healthcare facilities under a licensed pharmacist’s direction. Some of the pharmacy technician’s tasks are filling orders for patients, managing insurance reimbursements, maintaining patient profiles, labeling and formulating. They may assemble prescription packets for nurses to give to the patients, but the licensed pharmacist must sign off on any medication before it is given.
Licensing in the State of Oregon
In Oregon, a pharmacy technician is licensed by the State Board of Pharmacy and assists the pharmacist in the practice of pharmacy according to the board’s rules. Training includes on-the-job training related to the specific tasks they will perform. Oregon gives a Pharmacy Technician License that is for one year and is not renewable, and there is a $50 non-refundable fee for this.
To get a one year state pharmacy technician license, the candidate must be of good moral character. A criminal background and fingerprint test will be taken. Applicants must also give a copy of their driver’s license as well as a two by two inch photograph that was taken within the previous six months. Once they receive the state licensing, the candidate must become nationally certified at least one year after they get the state license or before the candidate’s 19th birthday, whichever is later.
To get national certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) a candidate must have a high school diploma or an equivalent such as a GED or foreign diploma. They must also fully disclose any and all criminal actions as well and actions taken by the State Board of Pharmacy. The candidate should not have any felony convictions within the previous five years or any drug-related felony convictions on record. They must have a passing score on the PTCB exam.
The PTCB exam is computer-based and administered at Pearson VUE test centers nationwide. It is a two-hour exam with 90 multiple-choice questions, 80 of which are scored and 10 are not. Each question has four possible answers, only one of which is correct. The 10 questions not scored are randomly dispersed among the questions, and the marking will be based only on the 80 scored questions. The time given to take the exam is one hour and 50 minutes with 10 minutes for a post-exam survey and tutorial.
Certified Pharmacy Technicians must complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education in pharmacy-related subjects during each two year recertification period. One of these must be at least one hour in pharmacy law for recertification candidates. For reinstatement candidates, two of the 20 hours must be in pharmacy law. Not more than 15 hours of the required 20 hours may be earned through completion of a relevant college course where the candidate earns a C grade or better. Of the 20 hours, 10 may be earned by in-service projects. All the 20 hours must be completed within the two year recertification period or before the certification expires. Continuing education hours cannot be carried over to the next recertification period.
Pharmacy Technician Salaries
The average salary for a pharmacy technician in Oregon depends on the city and on the place of employment. The salaries range from $25,000 – $26,000 on the low side to $37,000 – $39,000 on the high side. The average is $30,000 – $32,000.
Pharmacy Technician Programs
Before selecting a pharmacy technician program, candidates should consider the location of the campus, the cost, the educational level and the class schedule. Many classes are given online, but it may be important to get hands-on training, if it isn’t possible to get this at a pharmacy or other healthcare facility with a licensed pharmacist. Some employers work with online training programs to help employees prepare and train for the national exam.
The qualification of pharmacy technician is becoming more and more in demand as are many other healthcare jobs. They are required in nursing homes, online pharmacies, local drug stores as well as hospitals and retail pharmacies. The job is not strenuous, but does require standing for long periods and may require lifting boxes. If the candidate has issues with giving out certain medications, this may not be the job for them.