In response to increased demands for training, pharmacy technician schools are popping up all over California, including the busy city of Los Angeles. Enrolling in a training program is just one way to obtain certification as a Pharmacy Technician. Years ago, one could work as an apprentice under a licensed pharmacist and get a license after completing 1200 to 1500 hours of work. Since 2004, the California Board of Pharmacy offers four routes for candidates to qualify for pharmacy technician registration within the state:
- Obtain an AA in Pharmacy Technology
- Complete a board-approved training program
- Graduate from the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education-approved school of pharmacy
- Apply for certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). In this latter case, applicants must present a high school diploma and have no felony conviction.
Following is a summary of the best pharmacy technology classes in Los Angeles, California.
American Career College
Students complete ACC’s pharmacy technician training in just nine months and receive a diploma at the end of the training. The objective of the program is to prepare students with the skills and knowledge for a pharmacy tech career related to the manufacturing and distribution of pharmacy products. Graduates are also prepared for real-world scenarios through training in basic computing, methods of data input and maintaining patients’ records. The course curriculum covers several modules including pharmacy law, drug fundamentals, drug distribution, pharmacology, retail pharmacy, I.V. preparation, and pharmacy externship. The program covers a total of 800 contact hours including 300 hours of real-world experience. The content is delivered in a blended format – 2 days on campus and the other days online. Students must complete 48.0 quarter credits to receive the Pharmacy Technician Diploma. The program is designed to be completed in 9 months.
- Visit the College prior to enrollment
- Meet with an Admissions Advisor
- Take and pass a standardized entrance exam to participate in the College’s Professional Readiness Program
- Submit a completed application with the non-refundable application fee
- Must have a diploma from an accredited high school or recognized equivalent
- Complete the enrollment agreement – must be signed by a parent if the applicant is under 18 years
- Secure background clearance at the time of enrollment
- Be proficient in math
- Provide two sets of official high school transcripts of a copy of GED/HSE
The estimated total for the program is $20,572 including tuition, application fee, other fees, books and supplies. Financial aid may be available through grants, scholarships and loans.
- Website: https://americancareercollege.edu/
- Address: 4021 Rosewood Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004
- Phone: (323) 668-7555
Cal State LA
Cal State L.A.’s comprehensive Pharmacy Technician program provides students with 50-contact hours of training. Instructors prepare students to take and pass the PTCB exam and assist a licensed pharmacist at a hospital or community pharmacy. Theoretical content cover areas such as pharmacy medical terminology, generic and brand name drugs, I.V. flow rates, dosage calculations, inventory control, billing, insurance claims, dispensing prescriptions, drug classifications, children’s dosages and total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Graduates will be prepared to function within the scope of practice for pharmacy technicians, identify the most common drugs used in the United States, apply pharmacy laws and regulations, convert quantities and dosages to fill prescriptions and enter orders, and manage inventory and billing using pharmacy information systems. Classes, taught by a licensed pharmacist, meet two evenings a week from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm on the Zoom platform.
- A high school diploma or GED
- Must have taken high school math and science
Tuition is $1,399. Students must purchase the required textbook. Unemployed adults may enroll in the program for free.
- Website: https://www.calstatela.edu/
- Address: 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032
- Phone: (323) 343-4900
- Fax: (323)343-4954
Graduates of CBD College’s Pharmacy Technician program have the knowledge and skills to work under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Apart from classroom lectures, students get the opportunity to practice their skills through labs and a clinical externship at local hospitals, pharmacies, and retail chains. The program offers 720 hours of training – both theory and practical. Course content includes CPR, cancer and oncology agents, pharmacy calculations, pharmaceutical procedures, federal and state laws, general concepts of pharmacy, inventory and billing, sterile products, repackaging and compounding, anti-inflammatory drugs, career development, and clinical externship. The curriculum covers nine modules in total. CBD College offers students preparation for the PTCB exam, state-of-the-art skills lab, committed faculty and staff, clinical experiences in multiple health care facilities, financial aid for qualifying students, and job placement assistance. The program is accredited by ABHES. Upon completion of the program, students can apply for licensure as a Pharmacy Tech within the state. The duration of the program is 9 months.
- Be at least 17 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Attend an interview with an Admissions Representative
- Have a valid government ID
- Pass the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Exam
Tuition is $14,500 for students completing the program in normal time. The cost of textbooks, fees, uniforms, background check, and registration is not included in the cost.
- Website: https://www.cbd.edu/
- Address: 3699 Wilshire Blvd, 4th floor; Los Angeles, CA 90010
- Phone: (213) 427-2200
Los Angeles City College
Students enrolled in Los Angeles City College’s pharmacy technician program learn the fundamentals of mixing and packing prescriptions, collecting payments, insurance claims, managing inventory, purchasing, referrals, and dosage calculations. The course includes 23 modules – a new module begins each week. Students must attend all classes to get the most out of the class and to fulfill the Board of Pharmacy’s mandated hours for training. Students are expected to schedule their externships. Assistance from the program’s faculty will be available. Graduates will be prepared to take the PTCB exam.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old
- Must understand basic computer operations
- Must have a high school diploma or GED – to take the certification exam
- Must complete a satisfactory background check
- Must attend an online program information session
Tuition for the program is $1,999. A flexible payment plan is available for all students.
- Website: https://www.lacitycollege.edu/
- Address: 855 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles California 90029
- Phone: (323) 953-4000
LA Vocational Institute
LA Vocational Institute offers a Pharmacy Technician Certificate program to prepare students for national certification and employment as a pharmacy technician in retail and institutional pharmacies. The curriculum will cover 650 contact hours of instruction in pharmaceutical terminology, pharmacy calculations, record keeping, IV admixtures, compounding medications, common drugs and their effects, and other vital areas. Course modules include Terminology, Prescription Accuracy, Calculating Dosages, Inventory Maintenance, Assisting Customers, Prescription Drugs Familiarity, and Pharmaceutical Ethics. The duration of the program is 33 weeks.
- Be 18 years or older
- Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
- Attend an orientation session
- Attend an interview with a program coordinator
- Pass a fingerprinting and criminal background check – for registration with the Board of Pharmacy
- Submit two current letters of recommendation – must include contact information for the references
- Provide a copy of your current resume
- Must provide a copy of your driver’s license
- A letter of intent
- Pay the registration fee of $75
Tuition costs $6,500. Textbooks, supplies, uniforms, and fees are not included. Financial aid is available for eligible students.
- Website: https://lavocational.com/
- Address: 3550 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 809, Los Angeles, CA 90010
- Phone: (213) 480 4882
- Email: email@example.com
The Pharmacy Technician program at North-West College provides adults with hands-on skills and education to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician. Instructors will cover the skills needed to practice in hospitals, pharmacy labs, and retail pharmacies. The curriculum covers a total of 994 clock hours. Students will earn 32.5 semester credits. Required courses include Seminar for Success, Drug Distribution, IV Admixture, Pharmacology, Retail/Community Pharmacy, Home Health/Closed Pharmacy, Career Seminar, and Clinical Internship. The duration of the program is 40 weeks – approximately 9 months. NW College offers day and evening classes for students’ convenience. New classes begin throughout the year.
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent or establish Ability to Benefit
- Complete an admission interview and tour the College
- Take and pass a standardized basic skills assessment
- Attend an interview with a Financial Aid Advisor
- Complete the necessary paperwork for admission including an Enrollment Agreement
- Pay the registration fee of $100
- Pass a background check
- Complete a physical exam
- Complete a drug screen
Tuition, books, supplies and registration cost $18,491. Financial aid is available for eligible students.
- Website: https://www.nw.edu/
- Address: 14540 Haynes Street, Van Nuys, CA 91411
- Phone: 818-975-4818
Venice Skills Center
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate program at Venice Skills Center prepares students for employment in a pharmaceutical setting. It is delivered in hybrid format. The program includes theory and practical instruction in medical terminology, pharmacology, the role and responsibility of the pharmacy technician, CPR, pharmaceutical terms and abbreviations, drug requirements, record keeping, packaging and labeling products, dispensing prescriptions, and metric and apothecary systems. Students must complete 600 hours to graduate from the program – 360 hours of theory and 240 hours for the clinical externship. Classes meet Monday and Wednesday online from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on campus for in-person sessions. The duration of the program is five months. Graduates will be qualified to register with the California State Board of Pharmacy as a Pharmacy Technician.
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or AA Degree
- Have a Social Security Number
- Have no misdemeanors or felonies
- Obtain a minimum reading score of 9.0 and a math score of 2.0
- Must have AHA or BLS Healthcare Providers Current Basic “C” CPR certificate
- Must complete the health/physical exam requirements
Tuition for the program is $650. Books and supplies cost $355. Additional expenses include uniform, CPR certification, pharmacy application fee, live scan fee, and state license.
- Website: https://www.veniceskillscenter.org/
- Address: 8810 Emerson Ave, LA 90045
- Phone: (310) 258-2000
West Los Angeles College
The West Los Angeles College Pharmacy Technician Program prepares adults for an exciting career in pharmacy. The school offers a Basic Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Achievement for beginners. Graduates can then follow through with the Advanced Certificate of Achievement Program and an Associate of Science Degree Program. The Basic program covers 490 hours of instruction including 80 hours of clinical practice in a health care setting. Required courses are Retail Products for Pharmacy Clerks, Introduction to Pharmacy, Body Systems I, Body Systems II, Pharmacy Calculations, Pharmacy Operations, and Community Pharmacy Services, Communication and Customer Service in Healthcare, and Computers in Health Occupations. The curriculum meets the requirements of the Association of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). The Basic Program covers a total of 19 units.
- Submit a completed application to West Lost Angeles College
- Complete the Pharmacy Technician Student Information Sheet
- Place at English 28 and Math 125 on the Admissions Assessment
- Must be at least 18 years old Must be eligible to work in the United States
- Obtain a clear drug screen
- Pass a criminal background check
- Have a high school diploma or GED
Tuition costs $46 per unit for residents. Additional costs include a background check, drug screen, textbooks, livescan, uniforms, and Board of Pharmacy Application.
- Website: https://www.wlac.edu/
- Address: 9000 Overland Avenue, Culver City, CA 90230
Los Angeles Mission College
The Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Achievement offered by Los Angeles Mission College is designed for students who have limited time to complete the educational preparation to become a pharmacy technician. Graduates have the option to complete additional courses to complete the Advanced Pharmacy Technician Certificate and the Pharmacy Technician Associate in Science. Required courses for the Basic program (20 units) are Retail Products for Pharmacy Clerks, Introduction to Pharmacy, Body Systems, Pharmacy Calculations, Pharmacy Operations, and Community Pharmacy Externship. Students who complete the requirements will be eligible to apply for licensure through the Board of Pharmacy.
- Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Submit a completed application for admission online
- Take and pass an admission assessment
- Attend an online orientation
- Pass a background check
Tuition costs $46 per unit per semester for residents. Additional costs include textbooks, supplies, uniforms, fees, and transport.
- Website: https://www.lamission.edu/
- Address: 13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar, CA 91342
- Phone: 818-364-7600
Galaxy Medical College
GMC awards a Pharmacy Technician Diploma to students who successfully complete the intensive pharmacy technician program. They will be eligible for licensure in the State of California – must have a high school diploma, complete Live Scan fingerprinting, and have no infractions, misdemeanors or felonies. Students will learn Nonsterile Compounding, IV preparation, hospital and retail pharmacy operations, pharmacy laws, reading and interpreting prescriptions, legal and ethical principles, preparing and distributing medications, medical and pharmaceutical terms, the pharmacology of medications, pharmacy calculations, patient confidentiality, HIPPA guidelines, communicating effectively, and insurance and billing. The curriculum covers 900 contact hours including a pharmacy externship. The duration of the program is 45 weeks. New programs begin four times a year. The class size is limited to 12 students to each faculty member to maximize learning. Morning and evening schedules are available.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have a valid state ID
- Must be proficient in English
- Take an admission exam and obtain a minimum score of 22
- Submit a completed Enrollment Agreement
- Complete a satisfactory background check and drug test
The total cost of the program is $12,575. It includes free uniforms and backpacks. Fees, textbooks, and supplies are not included. Financial aid is available for eligible students.
- Website: https://galaxymedicalcollege.edu/
- Address: 6400 Laurel Canyon Blvd. Suite 115 North Hollywood, CA 91606
- Phone: (818) 213-2268
- Fax: (818) 509-9935
California State University – College of Professional and Continuing Education
The pharmacy technician program offered by the CPCE is a comprehensive 50-hour program to prepare students to work as a pharmacy technician in a retail or other pharmacy setting. The program is delivered as a hybrid or self-paced online program for convenience. Course topics include dosage calculations, drug classifications, aseptic technique, dispensing of prescriptions, top 200 drugs, total parenteral nutrition (TPN), IV flow rates, sterile compounding, dose conversions, the handling of sterile products, inventory control, and billing and reimbursement. The hybrid format combines online curriculum, live Zoom lectures, and in-person lab sessions. The self-paced online program does not meet live or in person and is completely online with a program coordinator to answer any questions. Clinical externship opportunities are available for both programs. Graduates will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the national certification exam.
- Must have high school diploma or GED
- Must be at least 18 ages old
- Must have a computer and reliable internet access
Tuition for the program is $1,399.
- Website: https://www.cpie.csulb.edu/
- Address: 6300 E. State University Dr. Suite 104, Long Beach, California 90815
- Email: CPIEfirstname.lastname@example.org
ABC Adult School
The Pharmacy Technician program at ABC Adult School prepares students with the knowledge and skills to become a Pharmacy Technician. Theory and practical training will cover the basics of Pharmacology, knowledge of practice settings, standard and ethics, basic pharmacy calculations, State Board of Pharmacy laws and regulations, drug dosages, forms, recordkeeping, labeling, and customer service. Course topics include computer essentials, pharmacology, electronic health records, pharmacy calculation, data entry, medication, and pharmacy practice. Students will complete a pharmacy externship as part of the program requirements. Classes must be completed within the 2-year timeframe. Graduates will be eligible to take the national PTCB exam and apply for State of California licensure.
- Must have a high school diploma or high school equivalency before the program completion
Training is free for high school students.
- Website: https://www.abcadultschool.edu/
- Address: 12254 Cuesta Drive, Cerritos, CA 90703
- Phone: (562) 229-7960
Downey Adult School
Students enrolled in the pharmacy technician program at DAS will acquire the skills to function as entry-level pharmacy technicians. They will learn the basic concepts of pharmacology, pharmacy practice settings, basic pharmacy calculations, standards and ethics, federal and state pharmacy laws and regulations, drug dosages, route and forms, conversion tables, drug manufacturing, recordkeeping, packaging, and labeling of drug products. Hands-on experiences will be conducted on a pharmacy setting. The pharmacy externship is 120 hours. Course topics include pharmacy law and regulation, medication safety, basics in sterile and non-sterile compounding, pharmacy quality assurance, job preparation skills, billing and reimbursement, inventory management, information system usage and application, and medication order entry and fill process. Graduates are eligible to apply for the state registration with the California State Board of Pharmacy. Day classes are available. The duration of the program is 25 weeks.
- Must have a high school diploma or GED
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must attend a program information session
- Must have current BLS certification
- Must complete a background check – for the pharmacy externship
Tuition for the program is $4,499. Other out-of-pocket costs include books, uniforms, basic life support, certification exam fees, live scan fingerprinting, and state board application.
- Website: https://www.das.edu/
- Address: 12340 Woodruff Ave, Downey, CA 90241
- Phone: (562) 940-6200
Loyola Marymount University
The 100% online pharmacy technician program at LMU prepares students for the PTCB National Certification exam. The program is designed to equip students with the skills to perform all the tasks of a pharmacy technician. Students will gain a practical knowledge of medication processing and handling and will learn practical federal and state laws that govern pharmacies. Course topics include orientation to pharmacy, pharmacy law and ethics, pharmacology, communication skills, pharmaceutical calculations, insurance and inventory procedures, and an interactive lab module. Students will become eligible for a 100+ practicum experience at a local pharmacy chain. The program covers a total of 400 contact hours and is designed to be completed in one year or less.
- Must have a high school diploma or GED
- Must be at least 18 years old
- Must have a computer and internet access
Tuition for the program is $2,995.
- Website: https://www.lmu.edu/
- Address: 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045
- Phone: 310.338.2700
How Do I Get Free Pharmacy Technician Training in Los Angeles
Cal State LA
Cal State LA provides free pharmacy technician training for unemployed adults.
How Long Does It Take to Become A Pharmacy Technician in CA?
Pharmacy technician programs typically run for 25 weeks.
How Do I Become A Pharmacy Technician in California?
Pharmacy technicians in California obtain a license from the California State Board of Pharmacy.
Formal training is not mandatory in California. The Board of Pharmacy accepts one of the following pharmacy technician documents:
- Pharmacy Technician Coursework:
- An associate degree in Pharmacy Technology
- A course that provides a training period of at least 240 hours of instruction
- A training course accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)
- A school accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education
- Pharmacy Technician Board Certification
- National Healthcare Association Pharmacy Technician Certification
- Military Training – DD214 documenting evidence of pharmacy technician training
Submit the following to the California Board of Pharmacy when applying for registration:
- An application for licensure for 17A-5
- The non-refundable application fee of $195
- The name on the form must be a some as the name on your state driver’s license or ID card
- A completed Live Scan receipt
- A Self-Query Report
- A passport size photo attached to the application
- Official high school transcript or equivalency
- An affidavit of completed coursework or graduation for pharmacy technician – must have provided a minimum of 240 hours of instruction or PTCB or ExCPT certification
Full details on the California Pharmacy Technician Requirements available here.
What are the Requirements to Work as a Pharmacy Technician in California?
Pharmacy technicians working in community and institutional pharmacies in California must obtain a license from the California Board of Pharmacy to practice.
How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make in Los Angeles?
Certified pharmacy technicians in Los Angeles earn an annual median wage of $43,391. Experienced pharmacy technicians in some organizations earn as much as $52,988 annually.