Pharmacy Technician Certificate

The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program is approved by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy to train students to work in various pharmacy settings. Students learn basic pharmacy skills (reading prescriptions, order entry, IV medication prep, etc.). The program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

Learning Outcomes
  • Demonstrate the ability to accurately interpret the information on a new prescription, request any missing information, and enter it.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with brand and generic drug names, appearance, manufacturer, dosage forms(s), and route of administration for at least the top 100 drugs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to process a medication order completely, accurately, and efficiently (interpretation, drug product selection, computer warnings, packaging, and labeling, filling a prescription in an outpatient setting, and preparing IV medication using aseptic technique).
  • Demonstrate accuracy and timeliness in mathematical computation of ingredient amounts, doses, infusion rates, or any relevant calculation encountered in an Outpatient and Inpatient setting.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with third party insurance and perform necessary functions for reimbursement.
  • Demonstrate knowledge in durable medical equipment to adequately communicate with patients about them.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of pharmacy law and apply to the prescription filling process.
  • Display acceptable communication skills during interactions with patients, coworkers and other health care professionals.
  • Display a professional attitude about the practice of pharmacy and the ability to problem-solve.
  • Demonstrate fundamental knowledge of medical terminology and basic rules of vocabulary building.

Many classes have prerequisites.  Prerequisites are those classes that prove eligibility for entry-level classes by testing or by having satisfied prior coursework.  Coursework earned at other institutions must be unofficially evaluated or approved by a program advisor before registering.

Pharmacy Technician Certificate Prerequisites:

  • College transcript showing successful completion of ENGL 098 with final placement into ENGL&101 or placement into ENGL& 101 within last two years of application date.
  • College transcript showing successful completion of MATH 097 Elementary Algebra or equivalent or placement into MATH 098 Intermediate Algebra within one year of application date.
    • College classes must be taken within the last five years of application date.
    • High School Diploma or GED.
    • Must be 18 years of age
    • Additional Information/Requirements: 
      • National Background check
      • Immunizations are required to be placed in externship
      • HIV/AIDS education minimum of 4 hours per State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission requirements
      • Active Washington State Pharmacy Assistant license/registration

Note:  Advanced placement testing, work experience and transfer of credits may result in course waivers, credit transfer and advanced placement.

To complete the program a 2.0 grade or higher is required in all courses.

Course Number Certificate Requirements (53 credits) Credit hours
course(AMA 117) Medical Terminology* 4
course(PHA112) Pharmacy Law 2
course(PHA115) Orientation to Pharmacy Practice 3
course(PHA120) Pharmacy Calculations* 3
course(PHA130) Over the Counter Drugs 2
course(PHA140) Sterile Products/ Aseptic Technique I* 3
course(PHA141) Sterile Products/ Aseptic Technique II* 3
course(PHA145) Pharmacy Ethics* 1
course(PHA146) Communications in Pharmacy Practice* 2
course(PHA150) Pharmacology I 3
course(PHA151) Pharmacology II 2
course(PHA160) Pharmacy Technology I* 3
course(PHA161) Pharmacy Technology II* 3
course(PHA170) Pharmacy Records Management* 5
course(PHA190) Pharmacy Technology Externship** 13
course(PHA191) Job Skills & National Exam Prep 1

 *Courses marked with one asterisk (*) contain significant program-related topics in the areas of communication, computation, human relations and leadership.

**PHA 190: The Pharmacy Technician externship is usually split over a two-quarter time frame. A minimum of 13 credits, approximately 432 externship hours, must be completed satisfactorily for certification.

Total Credits -- Minimum

This program of study is outlined by quarter, and courses should be taken in the indicated sequence. However, it should not be concluded that students will always proceed through their program of study exactly as prescribed here. The number of quarters listed here is minimal. Not all courses are offered every quarter. Individual student experiences, educational and training background, and personal schedules and demands all may affect the time it takes to finish this program.  The program must be completed in 12 months.

1st quarter: AMA 117, PHA 112, PHA 115, PHA 120, PHA 170

2nd quarter: PHA 130, PHA 140, PHA 145, PHA 146, PHA 150, PHA 160, PHA 190, PHA 191

3rd quarter: PHA 141, PHA 151, PHA 161, PHA 190

Sequence Type

What skills do I need to be successful in this field?

  • Receive prescription or refill requests and verify that information is complete and accurate.
  • Measure, mix, count out, label, dispense, and record dosages of medications.
  • Answer telephones, responding to questions or requests.
  • Maintain proper drug storage and security conditions for drugs.
  • Assist customers by locating items, or referring them to the pharmacist for medical information.
  • Handle insurance billing, purchasing, inventory, record keeping and use of databases and medical software.
  • Fill automatic unit dose machines.

What are some potential job titles?

  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

Wages, employment trends and pathways

  • Wages in Washington state range from $14.52/hour (entry level) to $24.53/hour (additional experience). The national median is $14.23/hour.
  • Pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies, grocery and department stores, mass retailers, hospital pharmacies, medical clinics, mail order, home infusions and insurance companies.
  • Pathways include pharmacist, RN, laboratory technician

Program Contact

Leann Dittmar  (206) 934-3790