California Pharmacy Technician Requirements and Training Programs

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase 4% from 2019 to 2029. California State stands second on the list of states where employment of pharmacy technicians is the highest. More than just job growth and availability, the profession offers flexibility and competitive pay. Again, according to the BLS, the national median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $33,950 in 2019. Pharmacy technicians in California earned 10-15 percent more than the median annual wage. Top paying areas include San Francisco, Napa, San Jose, Sacramento, and Santa Rosa. Pharmacy technicians work in community pharmacies, hospitals, retail chains, grocery stores, nursing homes, and pharmaceutical companies. Top of Form

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California Pharmacy Technician License Requirement

Practice as a pharmacy technician in California requires a license issued by the California State Board of Pharmacy. Completing a formal education program which includes hands-on training and submitting a formal application to the Board are all part of the licensure process. Educational requirements include the completion of pharmacy education and submitting one of the following documentations of said completion to the California State Board of Pharmacy:

  • A Pharmacy Technology Associate Degree
  • A diploma or certificate from an approved program consisting of at least 240 hours of instruction
  • A program that is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)
  • Credentials showing graduation from an Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accredited school of pharmacy
  • Current Pharmacy Technician Certification Board certification
  • Current National Healthcare Association Pharmacy Technician Certification Program (ExCPT) certification
  • Certificate of completing a pharmacy technician program from a branch of the federal military

The Board will issue a license within 60 days of the completed application. Employers can verify the license online using the “Verify a License” tab on the Board’s website.

Age Requirement

Applicants must be at least 18 years old to register as a pharmacy technician in California.

Education Requirement

The California State Board of Pharmacy requires all applicants to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Completing an accredited pharmacy technician program or current PTCB or ExCPT certification is necessary for licensure.

Other Requirements

The California State Board of Pharmacy requires prospective pharmacy technicians to complete a criminal background check before issuing a license to practice. A criminal conviction may not be grounds for denial of licensure. However, some convictions make it difficult to obtain a license. These include driving under the influence (drugs or alcohol), possession of illegal drugs or prescription drugs without a prescription, possession or sale of illegal drugs, theft, and multiple arrests. Each instance is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Board will consider the incident and evidence of rehabilitation and make a decision based on the nature and severity of the crime, the time elapsed, compliance with the terms and conditions of parole, and any evidence of rehabilitation provided by the candidate.

The Pharmacy Technician Program

Content

The best pharmacy technician programs include a combination of knowledge-based lectures and practical experiences. The program should meet the Board educational training requirements for pharmacy technicians, cover the skills that employers want, including lots of hands-on practice in the classroom and off-site, and recognized by an accrediting agency. Accreditation may be essential if you plan to pursue certification as a pharmacy technician.

There are several training paths for pharmacy technicians in California. The most common option is the Pharmacy Technician Certificate because it is most affordable and supports fast entry to practice. The associate degree option might cover the same core courses as the certificate program but will include general education coursework. Some programs may offer more comprehensive studies than those provided in the certificate program.

The content of all programs will include help the student develop a body of knowledge to support the pharmacist with the receipt and dispensing of prescription and non-prescription medications. Topics will include pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacology, pharmacy, and medical terminology, customer service, pharmacy software, pharmacy math, recordkeeping, inventory management, processing prescriptions, and pharmacy operations.

Duration and Cost

The duration of the pharmacy technician program depends on the credential earned and type of learning institute. Certificate programs can be completed in 6 to 12 months based on the schedule. Degree programs take up to two years for full-time students. Programs that require students to attend a lengthy internship will extend the duration of the training.

Training is available at vocational institutes and colleges. Employer-based training is also available – though they are not as prevalent as it used to be. The benefit of these programs is that they provide an opportunity to earn while learning. They are also free and there’s no need to go searching for a job upon completion.

The average cost of certificate programs in California is $5,200 for a comprehensive program that includes clinical externships, books, uniforms, and outside support. Degree programs at public colleges can cost slightly more. The cost at private institutions can exceed $12,500. Financial aid is available for eligible students and will significantly reduce out of pocket costs.

National Exams

The California State Board of Pharmacy does not require certification as a prerequisite to licensure. However, national certification through the PTCB or ExCPT will improve your job prospects. Employers today expect it from prospective employees and may even pay for current employees to complete certification. The Board will accept PTCB certification as in demonstration of your ability to function as a competent pharmacy technician.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board bestows the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential to successful candidates. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Completion of a PTCB recognized pharmacy technician training program or equivalent work experience (500 hours minimum)
  • Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions
  • Meet all the applicable PTCB certification policies
  • Take and pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam
  • Pay the fee of $129

The preliminary scores presented upon completion of the exam provide an indication of your performance but are not official. The official scores will be published within two to three weeks following the exam. The PTCB will update your certification status (verifiable on the website) after this time. The certificate will be available to download on your PTCB dashboard if you pass the exam. The certification must be renewed every 2 years to maintain the credential. Recertification requires completion of 20 hours of CE.

The ICPT designs and develops the ExCPT exam. To be eligible to take the ExCPT, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Must have a completed a training program or have at least 12 months of pharmacy-related experience – completed within 36 months of the application date
  • Take and pass the ExCPT exam
  • Pay the exam fee of $105

Pharmacy technician programs include preparation for success on the PTCB and ExCPT exams.

Acquiring Your State License

Application

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Candidates for licensure must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED equivalent. All applicants must demonstrate their competency to function in the role of a pharmacy technician. This might be demonstrated through the completion of an approved training program or PTCB or ExCPT certification. Once the application is submitted, the Board requires up to 45 days to process the application. Any deficiencies in the application will be sent via mail and must be rectified within 60 days. You can verify that your license has been issued using the “Verify a License” on the www.pharmacy.ca.gov

Pharmacy Technician Application:

  • Read the application instructions before completing the application
  • Complete the application for licensure and submit to the Board of Pharmacy
  • Include a check or money order, payable to the California State Board of Pharmacy, in the amount of $195. The application fee is non-refundable
  • The name on the form must be exactly the same as the name on the driver’s license and other documents such as the Self-Query Report, Live Scan form and fingerprint cards
  • Use N/A if the question does not apply. Do not leave blanks on the form
  • Sign and date the application
  • Attach a passport-style photo to page 1 of the application
  • Attach proof of completing high school or GED
  • Attach pharmacy technician documents – affidavit of completed coursework for graduation for pharmacy technician, or PTCB certification, ExCPT certification, or military training
  • Include a sealed, original Self-Query Report from the National Practitioner Data Bank. It must be dated within 60 days of filing the application
  • Complete Live Scan (for California residents) or Live Scan or fingerprints (for non-residents)

Renewal

The Board of Pharmacy sends out renewal notices approximately 90 days prior to the license’s expiration date. The renewal application can also be downloaded from the Board’s website. Renew using the following procedures:

  • Complete the renewal application form and submit a check or money order made out to the California State Board of Pharmacy. The renewal fee is $195 if submitting before the expiration date. A delinquency fee of $97.50 will be added for late renewals.
  • See “Yes” if you’ve had any disciplinary action against any government-issued license since the last renewal or “No” if you have not
  • Update email and residence if there have been changes since the last renewal

Licenses that are not renewed within 60 days from the expiration date will be canceled.

Contact the Board:
California State Board of Pharmacy
1625 N Market Blvd, N 219
Sacramento, CA 95834
Phone: 916-574-7900
Fax: 916-574-8616

 

ASHP Accredited Pharmacy Technician Schools in California

 Anaheim, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
American Career College – Anaheim
1200 N. Magnolia Avenue
Anaheim CA 92801
(714) 763-9104 ext. x12104

North Orange Continuing Education, North Orange County Community College District
1830 W. Romneya Drive
Anaheim CA 92801
(714) 808-4519

Chula Vista, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Pima Medical Institute – Chula Vista
780 Bay Boulevard
Suite 101
Chula Vista CA 91910
(619) 425-3200

Citrus Heights, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Carrington College – Citrus Heights
7301 Greenback Lane, Suite A
Citrus Heights CA 95621
(503) 575-1027

El Monte, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
El Monte Rosemead Adult School
10807 Ramona Blvd
El Monte CA 91731
(626) 258-5800

Glendale, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
North-West College – Glendale
124 South Glendale Avenue
Glendale CA 91205
(626) 856-3472

Los Angeles, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
American Career College – Los Angeles Campus
4021 Rosewood Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 668-7555

East Los Angeles Occupational Center
2100 Marengo Street
Los Angeles CA 90033
(323) 223-6365

Los Altos, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Foothill College (Middlefield Campus)
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills CA 94022
(408) 910-3236

Modesto, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Modesto Junior College
435 College Avenue #204
Modesto CA 95350
(209) 575-7889

Norwalk, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Cerritos College
11110 Alondra Boulevard
Norwalk CA 90650
(562) 860-2451 ext. Ext. 2562

Ontario, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
American Career College – Ontario
3130 East Sedona Court
Ontario CA 91764
(909) 218-3259

Pleasant, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Carrington College – Pleasant Hill
380 Civic Drive, Suite 300
Pleasant Hill CA 94523
(503) 575-1027

Pomona, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
North-West College – Pomona
134 West Holt Avenue
Pomona CA 91768
(626) 856-3472

Sacramento, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Asher College – Sacramento
1215 Howe Ave
Sacramento CA 96825
(916) 649-9600

Carrington College – Sacramento
8909 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento CA 95826
(916) 361-5128

Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center, Sacramento City Unified School District
5451 Lemon Hill Avenue
Sacramento CA 95824-1529
(916) 433-2600 ext. x1501

Cosumnes River College
8401 Center Parkway
Sacramento CA 95823
(916) 691-7534

San Bernardino, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
San Bernardino Valley College
701 South Mount Vernon Avenue
San Bernardino CA 92410
(909) 269-2510

San Diego, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
San Diego Community Training Center
1475 6th Ave – Suite 400
San Diego CA 92101
(619) 814-9068

San Francisco, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
City College of San Francisco
1860 Hayes Street
San Francisco CA 94117
(415) 279-4204

San Jose, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Carrington College – San Jose
5883 Rue Ferrari
San Jose CA 95138
(408) 960-0161

San Leandro, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Carrington College – San Leandro
15555 E. 14th Street, Suite 500
San Leandro CA 94578
(510) 921-3288

Santa Ana, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Santa Ana College
Pharmacy Technology Department
1530 West 17th Street
Santa Ana CA 92706
(714) 564-6622

Santa Rosa, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Santa Rosa Junior College
1501 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa CA 95401
(605) 670-1378

Stockton, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
Carrington College – Stockton
1313 West Robinhood Drive, Suite B
Stockton CA 95207
(925) 405-0632

Therapeutic Research Center
3120 W March Lane #1
Stockton CA 95219
(209) 472-2240

Van Nuys, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
North-West College – Van Nuys
14540 Haynes Street
Van Nuys CA 91411
(626) 856-3472

Visalia, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
College of the Sequoias Pharmacy Technician Program
915 South Mooney Blvd
Visalia CA 93277
(559) 730-3836

West Covina, CA Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:
North-West College-West Covina
2121 West Garvey Avenue North
West Covina CA 91790
(626) 856-3472

Search Pharmacy Technician Programs

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

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