Pharmacy Technician

How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in Oregon

Athena Kan
Aug 17, 2023
Looking for classes? Search on Dreambound

Are you interested in pursuing a rewarding career in healthcare? Becoming a pharmacy technician might be the perfect path for you. Pharmacy technicians play a vital role in the healthcare industry, assisting pharmacists in dispensing medications and providing essential support to patients. If you're considering this career in the state of Oregon, we've got you covered. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to become a pharmacy technician in Oregon, from understanding the role to educational requirements, certification and licensing, job outlook, and advancement opportunities.

Understanding the Role of a Pharmacy Technician

Before delving into the details of becoming a pharmacy technician, it's essential to understand the role and responsibilities associated with this position. Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists in retail pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. They handle various tasks, such as receiving and verifying prescriptions, preparing medications, labeling packages, managing inventory, and ensuring the accuracy of prescriptions.

Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare system. They are the backbone of the pharmacy, supporting the pharmacist in delivering safe and effective medications to patients. Their attention to detail and technical skills are vital in maintaining the integrity of the medication dispensing process.

In addition to their technical responsibilities, pharmacy technicians also have a significant impact on patient care. They are often the first point of contact for patients, providing them with information and assistance. Their excellent customer service skills help create a positive and welcoming environment for patients, ensuring their needs are met.

Key Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians have a diverse range of responsibilities, including:

  1. Assisting pharmacists in dispensing medications accurately
  2. Counting, measuring, and labeling medication doses
  3. Restocking inventory and managing supply orders
  4. Processing insurance claims and maintaining patient records
  5. Providing excellent customer service to patients

These responsibilities require pharmacy technicians to have a high level of organization and multitasking abilities. They must be able to prioritize their tasks efficiently to ensure that medications are prepared and dispensed in a timely manner.

Furthermore, pharmacy technicians must adhere to strict guidelines and regulations set by pharmaceutical boards and regulatory bodies. They must follow proper procedures to maintain patient safety and confidentiality. Attention to detail is crucial in verifying prescriptions and preparing medications accurately.

Skills Required for a Pharmacy Technician

Successful pharmacy technicians possess a combination of technical skills, interpersonal skills, and attention to detail. Some essential skills for pharmacy technicians include:

  • Strong communication and customer service
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in medication preparation
  • Basic mathematical and computer skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Knowledge of pharmaceutical and medical terminology

Pharmacy technicians must have excellent communication skills to interact with patients, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals effectively. They need to be able to explain medication instructions clearly and address any concerns or questions patients may have.

In addition, pharmacy technicians must stay updated with the latest advancements in pharmaceuticals and medical practices. They need to have a solid understanding of drug interactions, dosage calculations, and common medication side effects. This knowledge enables them to provide accurate information to patients and contribute to the overall healthcare team.

Educational Requirements for Pharmacy Technicians in Oregon

While a formal education is not always mandatory to become a pharmacy technician, obtaining the right education and training can increase your chances of securing employment and advancing in your career. Here are the educational requirements you should consider:

High School Preparation

Before pursuing formal education in pharmacy technology, it's important to have a high school diploma or equivalent. During your high school years, focus on subjects such as biology, chemistry, math, and computer skills, as these will provide a solid foundation for your future studies in pharmacy technology.

Post-Secondary Education Options

Once you've completed high school, you can choose to pursue formal education in pharmacy technology. Several institutions offer certificate and diploma programs specifically designed for aspiring pharmacy technicians. These programs usually cover topics such as pharmaceutical calculations, pharmacy law and ethics, medication safety, and pharmacy software systems. The duration of these programs can range from several months to a year.

If you prefer a more comprehensive education, you may also consider pursuing an associate degree in pharmacy technology. These programs provide a broader scope of knowledge and skills and typically take around two years to complete.

Comprehensive pharmacy technician programs are a great option for those looking to kickstart their career in Oregon. They equip you with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in this field.

Certification and Licensing in Oregon

While certification and licensing are not mandatory in Oregon, obtaining national certification and state licensure can significantly enhance your professional credentials and job prospects. Here are the two important certifications that pharmacy technicians can pursue:

National Certification for Pharmacy Technicians

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) both offer nationally recognized certifications for pharmacy technicians. To become certified, you must pass a comprehensive examination that assesses your knowledge and skills in various aspects of pharmacy technology. Certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence and can lead to better job opportunities and higher earning potential.

Oregon State Pharmacy Technician License

Although not required, obtaining a state license can further enhance your professional standing. To become licensed in Oregon, you must complete an application, pay the applicable fee, and meet specific requirements set by the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. These requirements may include completing a Board-approved training program, passing a background check, and submitting references.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians in Oregon remains promising, with continued growth projected in the coming years. As the demand for prescription medications increases, there will be a corresponding need for skilled pharmacy technicians to assist in dispensing and managing medications. While the exact percentage of job growth varies over time, the pharmacy technician field is expected to offer numerous job opportunities in the future.

Current Job Market for Pharmacy Technicians in Oregon

Pharmacy technicians can find employment in various settings, including retail pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and mail-order pharmacies. In Oregon, major healthcare providers and pharmacies offer numerous job openings for qualified pharmacy technicians. As a pharmacy technician, you can expect to work in a collaborative environment, interacting with both healthcare professionals and patients.

Salary Range and Factors Influencing Pay

The salary of pharmacy technicians in Oregon can vary based on factors such as experience, education, location, and the employing organization. On average, pharmacy technicians in Oregon earn a competitive salary, with the potential for career advancement and increased earning potential. Starting salaries typically range from $14.25 to $24.35 per hour and can increase with experience and additional certifications.

Advancement Opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians

Once you've obtained the necessary education, certification, and licensure, you can explore various advancement opportunities within the field of pharmacy technology.

Further Education and Specializations

If you're looking to expand your knowledge and pursue specialization, consider enrolling in advanced pharmacy technology courses or pursuing a bachelor's degree in pharmacy science. These educational opportunities can open doors to roles such as pharmacy supervisor, medication safety officer, or pharmacy informatics specialist.

Career Progression in the Pharmacy Field

As you gain experience and demonstrate your expertise, you may have the opportunity to take on leadership roles or move into management positions within a pharmacy setting. With dedication and continuous professional growth, you can shape a successful and fulfilling career as a pharmacy technician.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a pharmacy technician in Oregon is an exciting journey that requires dedication, hard work, and the right education and training. By following the steps outlined in this article and leveraging the resources and programs offered by Dreambound, you can embark on a fulfilling career in healthcare. Take the first step towards your future and join Dreambound's pharmacy technician certification classes today!

Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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