HOW TO BECOME A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN IN CALIFORNIA
Becoming a pharmacy technician in California allows you to start a rewarding career in the healthcare field.
You’ll work under the direction of a pharmacist, and you’ll learn to do a variety of important tasks needed to prepare medication. This will include mixing, counting, recording, and labeling prescriptions.
Pharmacy technicians are also called pharmacy techs or compounding technicians.
You’ll find that once you start working in this field in California, your skills will be in very high demand. [Leer en español]
REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A PHARMACY TECHNICIAN
You’ll need a high school diploma or GED as the first step toward becoming a pharmacy technician. Career training can be obtained in several ways including:
- Earn an associate’s degree in Pharmacy technology.
- Complete a minimum of 240 hours of training at a board-approved program.
- Obtain training at a program accredited by the American Society Health-System team Pharmacists (AHSP).
- Complete pharm tech training through a military branch.
- Graduate from a school of pharmacy accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).
- Obtain certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION BOARD (PTCB)
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is a national organization that provides certification to pharmacy technicians. You can become certified by passing the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).
You must have a high school diploma or GED to sit for the PTCE.
CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF PHARMACY
After you have completed an accredited pharmacy technician program and obtained national certification, you must apply for state licensure through the California State Board of Pharmacy (CSBP).
You will need to submit the following:
- A completed application form.
- Official transcripts from your pharmacy technician program.
- Proof of certification from the PTCB or ICPT.
- A criminal background check.
The CSBP will issue you a license once they have determined that you meet all of the requirements.
You will need to renew your license every two years, and there is a $50 fee for each renewal.
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR PHARMACY TECHNICIANS
Once you are licensed as a pharmacy technician in California, you will need to complete 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to renew your license.
The CE must be board-approved and related to pharmacy technician practice.
You can find approved CE courses through the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA).
The CPhA offers both live and online courses to meet your CE needs.
PHARMACY TECH SCHOOLS IN CALIFORNIA
There are many choices of pharmacy technician schools in California where you can obtain training to become a pharmacy tech to give you the skills you need to start your career.
These are a few examples of the many pharmacy tech education programs in California:
With campuses in multiple locations including Sacramento, San Jose, and Citrus Heights, this college offers programs that provide both theory and practical knowledge. Choose between a nine-month certificate program or earning an associate’s degree in less than two years.
American Career College
Fast-track your way to career success in only nine months in Los Angeles or Orange County by earning your diploma at this college. Training includes an externship so you can obtain the skill set to be ready to assume the duties of a pharmacy tech.
City College of San Francisco
In this two-semester program, you’ll learn to be prepared to work under a pharmacist after obtaining classroom training and practical experience in a retail or hospital pharmacy practice setting.
Penn Foster’s online pharmacy technician program can be completed in as few as 9 months. You can enroll in the course whenever you’d like, and online support is always available for students.
At the end of your pharmacy tech program, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable, real-world experience at a CVS/pharmacy or Walgreens near you as part of our required hands-on training externship. More information.
Learn about pharmacy technician program costs here.
PHARMACY TECHNICIAN LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION IN CALIFORNIA
Once you’ve completed your pharmacy tech training, you can apply to obtain certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
You must get a passing score on the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam, which is a two-hour multiple-choice exam with 90 questions.
After passing the certification exam, you are a Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). Certified pharmacy technicians in California must be recertified every two years.
CAREER OUTLOOK AND SALARY EXPECTATIONS
You can expect better-than-average employment opportunities as a pharmacy technician.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts growth of 15 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average for all occupations.
Higher rates of chronic diseases and an aging population will lead to increased demand for prescription medications.
As of 2020, the median annual wage was $46,760, which means half of all pharmacy technicians earned more than that and half earned less.
The annual mean salary for California pharmacy technicians is $46,760, and the hourly mean is $22.48 per hour.
WORKING AS A PHARMACY TECH IN CALIFORNIA
There are a lot of different settings where you’ll be able to work as a pharmacy tech in California.
Your skills will be in demand in hospitals, pharmacies, drugstores, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.
Most healthcare facilities and some pharmacies are open long hours or around the clock, so you may be working days, nights, and weekends.
Pharmacists are taking on new responsibilities such as giving flu shots, which means pharmacy techs may need to pick up some of the work formerly done by pharmacists.
Throughout the state of California, the job outlook for pharmacy techs appears very strong.
What are the best pharmacy technician schools in California?
- City College of San Francisco
- Carrington College, Sacramento, San Jose, and Citrus Heights
- American Career College, Los Angeles, and Orange County
- Cerrito College, California
- Penn Foster Career College, Online
How do you become a pharmacy technician in California?
- Earn an Associate’s Degree in Pharmacy Technology, or
- Complete 240 hours of Board-approved training, or
- Complete an ASHP-certified course, or
- Pass the PTCE exam and apply to the California Board of Pharmacy
How much do pharmacy technicians make in California?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians in the state of California made an average of $42,610 per year in 2018. Entry-level pharm techs earned around $27,430 and some experienced professionals earned as much as $62,140.
Latest California Posts from the Blog
- What’s the Best School for Pharmacy Technician Training in Sacramento?
- What’s the Best School for Pharmacy Technician Training in Los Angeles?
- What’s the Best School for Pharmacy Technician Training in Anaheim, CA?
Students may also wish to review their options in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.