Pharmacy Technician Schools in Oregon
Recent years have seen a movement toward more stringent requirements for pharmacy technicians; in this, Oregon is ahead of the game. In 2005, a time when many states had not yet begun registering pharmacy technicians, Oregon transitioned from registration to licensure. More stringent requirements allow the state to make sure pharmacy technicians not only have good character and a clean criminal record, but have the skills and training required to perform job duties successfully.
What are the duties of a pharmacy technician? Responsibilities can be quite varied, ranging from customer service to compounding of medications and preparation of sterile products. Pharmacy technicians may also stock medical supplies and oversee the operations of automated dispensing machines. Some pharmacy technicians enter data related to patient records or insurance claims. In short, pharmacy technicians are responsible for many of the day to day operations of pharmacies, in retail, hospital, and pharmaceutical company settings.
Pharmacy Technician Licensure and Certification in Oregon
The Oregon State Board of Pharmacy has set standards high to protect the state’s patients and consumers. Applicants must be 18 years old and have either graduated from high school or earned a GED. National pharmacy technician certification is mandated, not necessarily before commencing employment, but within one year. Pharmacy technicians may opt for either national certification program, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians. Both the PTCB and ICPT include a multiple choice examination of approximately one hundred questions. For those who need help with pharmaceutical calculations or other difficult concepts, there are a variety of test preparation options, some of which can be completed online, in the convenience of one’s own home or workplace. Find schools offering pharmacy technician training programs in Oregon listed below.
Part of setting standards high is requiring continuing education. Oregon requires 1 hour of pharmacy law every year after initial certification. Oregon’s technicians are responsible also for following continuing education requirements of either the PTCB or ICPT. Both agencies require twenty units each biannual renewal period, but offer many choices. Required units may be completed online or in traditional classrooms. Some journal articles include a CE test, and some of the required hours can be earned through in-service programs at one’s place of employment. Technicians must maintain records of continuing education as the state board may carry out random audits.
Annual renewal of licenses is mandated, and Oregon technicians have a small incentive to get their application in early. Renewal costs $35 if postmarked by the end of August, $55 if postmarked in September.
Pharmacy Technician Salary and Job outlook in Oregon
The average pharmacy technician salary in Oregon was $31,770 in 2007. This was above the national average of $27,560. Actual earnings vary according to experience and job setting. A representative of Chemeketa Community College notes that about 70% of technicians start in retail, but that experience and training help a person move up. At CCC, everyone is placed in a retail externship and in one other setting, which can be hospital, ambulatory, or long term care.
Nationwide, salaries for retail positions average between $25,000 and $29,000, with department stores at the lower end of the range and grocery stores at the upper end. Hospitals, on the other hand, often pay between $32,000 and $37,000, depending on specialty. Specialty hospitals — oncology, for example — are among the best paying employers. As can be expected, they have rigorous standards. The same holds true for pharmaceutical companies.
A recent posting for an IV technician at Kaiser Permanente is illustrative of the type of position a skilled Oregon pharmacy technician may aspire toward. Basic qualifications include any of the following: certification, graduation from an accredited training program, or two years experience as a technician. Preferred experience includes previous experience with IVs as well as a course in medical terminology. The salary is listed as $21.29 to $22.85 per hour.