Pharmacy Technician Schools in Seattle, WA

Pharmacy Technician is a role in the healthcare field that has been growing in terms of both demand and earnings potential for several years now, and that's as true in Seattle, Washington as it is anywhere else.

Pharmacy Tech offers people from all kinds of backgrounds a chance to enter the healthcare field, and enjoy a challenging but lucrative career in healthcare without the initial need for five to six years of formal schooling. In less than two years students can become certified, licensed and ready to work in the sector in a variety of ways.

Before Seattle students can sit their all-important pharmacy technician certification exam and obtain licensing from the State they will need to complete a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program. There are four schools - spread across five campuses - that offer such programs within 25 miles of the city.

Each of these schools is different and offer a slightly different educational paths to certification. To help you decide which might be right for you, we have complied this comparative look at them all.

Statistics

Seattle vs Washington Pharmacy Technicians Employment

seattle

washington

3,740
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6,950
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Pharmacy Techs employed in Seattle, WA represents 53% of all PT's employed in the state of Washington (2018, BLS) 

Total Pharmacy Technicians employed in Washington state (2018, BLS)

Seattle is famous for being home to some of the biggest names in the industry today. It's the home of the world's largest retail company, Amazon, and one of the most recognizable names in coffee worldwide, Starbucks. Nearby Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates is a native and the city gave birth to one of the biggest musical genres of the 20th century; grunge.

In the 21st century healthcare and biotechnology companies have strong presences in the city too. And the pharmacy field is growing quickly, making it a great place to find a job as a Pharmacy tech.

In 2018, according to official government statistics, there were 6950 certified pharmacy technicians licensed in the State of Washington. 3740 of those professionals work in the Seattle area. And they work in all kinds of settings. They are employed in retail and mail order pharmacies, in hospitals, nursing homes and clinics and even in medical research facilities.

Salary Percentiles for Pharmacy Technicians in Seattle

How much can a pharmacy tech make in Seattle? Salary figures for 2018 showed that the average wage paid to a Seattle based pharmacy technician was $43,450 annually, or $20.89 hourly. Along the scale the lowest wages were paid at a rate of $15.67 per hour and rose as high as $27.63 per hour, $57,480 per year.

10th Percentile

$32,600

25th Percentile

$36,750

50th Percentile

$43,300

75th Percentile

$49,850

90th Percentile

$57,480

Pharmacy Technician Schools in Seattle, WA

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Many of Seattle's pharmacy technicians are graduates of the 4 accredited pharmacy technician schools in the city.

Unlike some other states that have less stringent requirements, Washington State mandates that to work as a pharmacy tech in the state you must be both certified and licensed.

Certification is attained by passing the PTCB exam, and a formal license can be applied for and issued. To take that exam aspiring pharmacy techs must learn a lot academically, and meet a practical experience requirement that can only be fulfilled by working for an employer in the 'real world'.

There are four schools - with five campuses - within 25 miles of Seattle, WA that offers a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program that allows students to gain the knowledge and experience needed to become certified. Here is a look at the basics of them all.

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1. Pima Medical Institute: Seattle and Reton Campuses

Pima Medical Institute is a private vocational school. It maintains campuses across the country, including two in the Seattle area. One of the campuses is located in Seattle itself, while the other lies a few miles down the road in Renton, WA. Both campuses offer Seattle based students a fairly easy commute to school, a plus that many people are looking for. The student population is a mix of new high school graduates and working professionals and classes are offered at various points in the day and in the evening.

Pima Medical Institute Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program

Estimated program cost

​The costs of completing the Pima Institute Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program is the same for both campuses; $14,106. That total does not include the cost of background checks or other school fees, but it does include books and other course materials. The additional fees add approximately $1,000 to the total cost.

Federal and state student financial aid is available to those who qualify and there are some state grants offered to some students as well.

Basic admissions requirements

No matter which of the two campuses - Renton or Seattle - there are certain requirements students must meet for admission to the Pharmacy Tech program. These are less stringent than those of some other schools but do include all the following:

  • Students must be over the age of 18 (or 16 with parental permission and support)
  • Students must present proper ID including proof of legal status
  • Students must pass a background check that they will need to order and pay for themselves.
  • Before they can begin their externship, a requirement for both graduation and to sit the certification, students will be subject to drug testing and to supply proof of vaccinations so students are advised to meet those requirements as soon as possible, although they are not required at the time of admission
  • Students will be asked to take a basic skills test that covers English, Math and Computer Literacy. Students must score 60% or better on the basic math portion to be admitted to the program

Timelines

As a private vocational school, Pima is not bound to traditional college semesters. New classes form every two to three months and are offered year round.

Students are offered the choice of day or evening classes, something that allows working adults a better fit for their busy schedule.

The program takes approximately 35 weeks to complete when taking classes in the say, or 40 weeks if classes are taken at night. As a part of their program, and a requirement for both graduation and siting the PTCB certification tests, students complete a 250 hour externship with an outside employer in the area, in either a retail or hospital pharmacy setting under the direct supervision of an experienced pharmacist. These can be arranged by the school or students can choose to arrange their own placement.

Accreditation

The Pima Medical Institute is approved by the Washington Student Achievement Council. This approval means that it meets the requirements established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act.

The school does not guarantee that credits earned at Pima Institute are fully transferable to another college. Students are advised to confirm with schools that they may be considering attending to continue their studies to determine if Pima credits will be accepted.

The Pima Pharmacy Tech program is listed as an approved program by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board. Students can take the PTCB certification exam at the end of the program in the safe knowledge that the material they have studied meets all the educational and practical experience requirements they will need to have the best chance of passing.

Course instructors are all experienced industry professionals and students say they are very helpful, including when it comes to preparing for the PTCB exam. However, while the program contents ensure that students have the knowledge needed to pass the test, it can't be guaranteed that they will.

pima medical institute

Private vocational college

Website: https://pmi.edu/programs/certificate/pharmacy-technician 
Phone: 800-477-PIMA 
Renton Campus: 555 S. Renton Village Place, Renton, WA 98057
Seattle Campus: 9709 Third Avenue N.E., Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98115

2. North Seattle College

As one of a number of community colleges in Washington State, North Seattle College is a school that was set up to serve a diverse student population and offer a wide range of certificate and degree programs at a price that is more affordable than a 4 year college degree.

North Seattle occupies a 200 acre campus in Northgate, Seattle. The campus is close to lots of public transportation and major highways, making it convenient for most Seattle residents to reach with ease.

As a more traditional college students can participate in lots of campus activities, clubs and associations outside the classroom.

North Seattle College Academics

Two Pharmacy Tech programs are offered at North Seattle College. The Associates Degree is a program for those students who want to pursue higher levels of education after certification, but before they can enroll in that all students must take, and graduate from the North Seattle College Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program.

North Seattle College Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program

Estimated program cost

North State tuition is charged for on a per credit basis, and that applies to the Pharmacy Tech program too. Costs will vary according to how many credits a student takes, their personal circumstances and their residence. On average though the school website states that $4,500 in credit costs and an additional $800-$1000 for books, supplies and college fees is the average total bill students face.

For those students who qualify Federal and state financial aid is available and the State of Washington does offer a limited number of grants to students in vocational programs like this one as well.

Basic admission requirements

It's the stated mission of the North Seattle Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program to make enrollment in the program available to the widest range of students possible. This means that the entrance requirements are more lenient than those for some of North State's other offerings.

These though are the formal enrollment requirements you should know about:

  • Students must hold a high school diploma or a GED. They will also be asked to provide Government issued photo ID and proof of their legal status
  • Students will need to have completed some prerequisite college level courses, including English Composition, College Prep Reading and Writing and Elementary Algebra. Students can choose to take these classes at the college or opt to sit COMPASS exams that test equivalent knowledge.
  • Assume the cost of, and pass a background check.
  • Students are asked to acknowledge they are aware of the fact that externship employers and the PTCB will require they take a drug test and meet minimum vaccination standards, although these are not required when students first enroll.
  • Students also need to meet minimum fitness requirements. These include the ability to lift at least 25lbs and have vision and hearing of an acceptable level, with corrections if needed.
  • Students must sign an agreement that in all their professional dealings they will treat everyone with the same respect, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or sexual preference.
  • Students will need to demonstrate the ability to maintain a typing speed of at least 40-45 WPM and have a basic knowledge of various computer software and Internet navigation.

Accreditation

The Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program is accredited and licensed by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The program is also listed as PTCB approved. If students later choose to advance to an Associate's Degree program, either at North State or elsewhere, all college credits earned as a part of the program are fully transferable.

Timelines

North State College's Pharmacy Tech Certificate is designed to be completed in 9 months, the equivalent of one school year. Admissions to the program are made in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

The North Seattle Certificate Program is a highly respected one that offers students the chance to gain the classroom knowledge and practical work experience students need to pass their PTCB Certification test and go on to work in their chosen field.

According to the school website, 99% of the students graduating from the Certificate program pass the PTCB certification exam the first time they take it. The school also notes that many students are employed with the employer they complete their 432 hour externship with.

north seattle college

Public College

Website: ​https://northseattle.edu/programs/pharmacy-technician
Phone: 206-934-3600
Address: 9600 College Way North, Seattle, Washington 98103

3. Edmonds College

Edmonds College is located in Lynnwood, WA, which offers a short commute to school for Seattle residents.

The school offers dozens of educational programs at Certificate level, and these include a Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program designed to offer students the chance to get all the academic knowledge and hands on experience they need to pass the PTCB Pharmacy Tech certification exam and become a licensed Washington State Pharmacy Tech.

Edmonds College Pharmacy Technician Certificate

Estimated program cost

The program offered at Edmonds College has stricter and more comprehensive educational requirements than some similar pharmacy tech programs. To enroll in the program itself, students must have completed a number of prerequisite courses (see below for more details). For in state residents, these courses cost $1,515.36, and an additional $1,000 is required to pay for books and college fees.

Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program itself, in 2019 cost $4,221.36, exclusive of books, supplies and lab fees. According to the school's website the total tuition cost for the program is $7,502.85 when all additional fees are factored in.

Federal and State Financial aid is available to students who qualify and some students may also be eligible Washington State employment grants.

Basic admission requirements

As mentioned earlier, students must take and pass the following prerequisite classes at Edmonds College before they are admitted to the Pharmacy Tech Certificate program.

  • AHE110 Human Body
  • AHE 116 Intro to Health Care
  • BSTEC 104 Basic Medical Terminology
  • AHE 115 Basic Life Support/CPR 1
  • SHS 170 HIV/AIDS
  • Before enrolling in the Pharmacy Tech Certificate itself, all students are required to pay for and pass a background check and submit to drug testing.

The reason for this is that candidates have to meet both standards in order to sit their certification exam and to obtain licensing from Washington State. By making sure that students meet these requirements from the start, Edmonds College states that it helps ensure no student who will then not be able to obtain licensing and certification takes the course unnecessarily.

Accreditation

The Edmonds College Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program is accredited and approved the Washington State Board of Pharmacy and the ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists).

Timelines

According to the school website most students complete the Pharmacy Tech Certificate program in one school year. Program admissions are made in the Fall Semester and students usually graduate at the end of the Spring Semester.

The program curriculum offers both classroom based education and a 252-hour externship that is arranged by the school with a local employer in either a retail or a pharmacy setting.

Before graduation students will apply for, and sit their PTCB certification exam. They are offered additional online help as well as the chance to speak one on one with their instructors to help them do so.

edmonds college

Community College

Website: https://www.edcc.edu/programs/ahe/pharmacytech/default.html
Address: 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood, WA 98036
Phone: (425) 640-1459

4. Renton Technical College

Renton Technical College is located in the city of Renton which is just a little over 10 miles away from the city of Seattle proper. It's considered a suburb of Seattle and travelling their, either by car or public transportation is relatively easily and convenient for Seattle residents.

The school, which maintains a focus on vocational education offers more than 60 certificate programs, including healthcare related courses, of which their Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is one.

Renton Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program

Estimated program cost

The Renton Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program is 77 credit program. This is important to know as at the school students are charged on a per credit basis for all courses including this one.

In 2019, according to the school's website, the approximate cost of tuition for the Pharmacy Tech Certificate Program was $7,632. This total does not reflect the cost of books, supplies or other college fees, which may add an additional $2,000 to the final bill students face.

Students who qualify can apply for Federal and State financial aid and there are some State and private grants available to help some students pay for their education at Renton Technical College.

Basic admissions requirements

Although they are not as stringent as those set by some other schools offering similar programs, there are some requirements students must meet for entrance into the program.

These requirements include all the following:

  • Students will need to be over the age of 18 years old by the third quarter of what is a five quarter program
  • Students must have earned a high school diploma or GED and they will be asked for proof of their legal status.
  • Students must pay for, and pass, background and drug tests and provide proof that they have received all the vaccinations the State of Washington requires for healthcare professionals.
  • Students will need to demonstrate they can speak and read English to an acceptable standard.

Accreditation

The Renton Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate has been accredited by both the ASHP (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists) and the WA Department of Health. It is also listed as an approved course by the body that sets the certification test for pharmacy techs, the PTCB.

Timelines

The Renton Technical College Pharmacy Technician Certificate is a five quarter program, with new students being accepted at the start of the Fall semester.

The 77 credit course curriculum includes basic education modules in Math, English and Computer Proficiency. These must be passed at a B level or better before students can complete the rest of the program and/or begin their externship with an outside employer.

At the program's end, students will be ready to sit their PTCB certification exam. To help them increase their chances of passing this test students are given online study guides and materials and teachers make themselves available to offer their help as well.

If a student passes the program and obtains certification and licensing they can return to study for another two quarters - the equivalent of 20 credits - to complete the Renton Technical Associates Degree in Pharmacy Technology.

renton technical college

Community College

Website: https://rtc.edu/pharmacy-technician
Address: 3000 NE 4th St., Renton, WA 98056
Phone: 425 235-2352

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Get information on Pharmacy Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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