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Career and Education Opportunities for Pharmacist Technicians in Vancouver, Washington

Pharmacist technician career and educational opportunities abound in Vancouver, Washington. Currently, 5,370 people work as pharmacist technicians in Washington. This is expected to grow by 11% to about 5,950 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for pharmacist technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 30.6% over the next eight years. Pharmacist technicians generally prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist.

A person working as a pharmacist technician can expect to earn about $17 hourly or $36,010 per year on average in Washington and about $13 per hour or $27,710 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Pharmacist technicians earn less than people working in the category of Pharmacy generally in Washington and less than people in the Pharmacy category nationally. People working as pharmacist technicians can fill a number of jobs, such as: certified pharmacy technician , pharmacist assistant, and drug coordinator.

There are forty-eight schools of higher education in the Vancouver area, including five within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree to start your career as a pharmacist technician. Pharmacist technicians usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be a pharmacist technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Pharmacist Technician

Pharmacist Technician video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, pharmacist technicians prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. They also may measure, mix, and record amounts and dosages of medications.

Pharmacist technicians answer telephones, responding to questions or requests. They also receive and store incoming supplies, verify quantities against invoices, check for outdated medications in current inventory, and inform supervisors of stock needs and shortages. Equally important, pharmacist technicians have to maintain proper storage and security conditions for drugs. They are often called upon to assist customers by answering simple questions, locating items or referring them to the pharmacist for medication data. They are expected to prepack bulk medicines, fill bottles with prescribed medications, and type and affix labels. Finally, pharmacist technicians order and count stock of medications and supplies, and enter inventory data into computer.

Every day, pharmacist technicians are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for pharmacist technicians to price and file prescriptions that have been filled. They are often called upon to receive written prescription or refill requests and verify that data is complete and accurate. They also operate cash registers to take payment from customers. They are sometimes expected to clean, and help maintain, apparatus and work areas, and sterilize glassware in line with prescribed methods. Somewhat less frequently, pharmacist technicians are also expected to assist customers by answering simple questions, locating items or referring them to the pharmacist for medication data.

Pharmacist technicians sometimes are asked to deliver medications and pharmaceutical supplies to patients, nursing stations or surgery. They also have to be able to price stock and mark items for sale and restock intravenous (IV) supplies and add measured drugs or nutrients to IV solutions under sterile conditions to ready IV packs for various uses such as chemotherapy medication. And finally, they sometimes have to receive and store incoming supplies, verify quantities against invoices, check for outdated medications in current inventory, and inform supervisors of stock needs and shortages.

Like many other jobs, pharmacist technicians must be thorough and dependable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Vancouver include:

  • Health Information Systems Technician. Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, and regulatory requirements of the health care system. Process, maintain, and report patient information for health requirements and standards.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Pharmacist Technician Training

Clark College - Vancouver, WA

Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Clark College is a large college located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,378 students. Clark College has a one to two year program in Pharmacy Technician/Assistant which graduated forty-eight students in 2008.

Apollo College-Portland Inc - Portland, OR

Apollo College-Portland Inc, 2004 Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Portland, OR 97232-1309. Apollo College-Portland Inc is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 1,209 students and an admission rate of 98%. Apollo College-Portland Inc has a one to two year program in Pharmacy Technician/Assistant which graduated 114 students in 2008.

Pioneer Pacific College - Wilsonville, OR

Pioneer Pacific College, 27501 SW Parkway Ave, Wilsonville, OR 97070-9296. Pioneer Pacific College is a small college located in Wilsonville, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,123 students. Pioneer Pacific College has a one to two year program in Pharmacy Technician/Assistant which graduated forty-two students in 2008.

Anthem College-Portland - Beaverton, OR

Anthem College-Portland, 4145 SW Watson Ave-Ste 300, Beaverton, OR 97005. Anthem College-Portland is a small college located in Beaverton, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 358 students. Anthem College-Portland has a less than one year program in Pharmacy Technician/Assistant which graduated forty-one students in 2008.

Everest College-Portland - Portland, OR

Everest College-Portland, 425 SW Washington, Portland, OR 97204-2296. Everest College-Portland is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 764 students and an admission rate of 49%. Everest College-Portland has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Pharmacy Technician/Assistant which graduated six and ten students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Pharmacy Technician: The goal of PTCB's certification program is to enable pharmacy technicians to work more effectively with pharmacists to offer greater patient care and service.

For more information, see the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Vancouver is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.