How to Become a Pharmacy Tech in California

a pharmacy technician at work

Pharmacy tech jobs are an excellent option for CA residents looking to start their journey into the healthcare field.

From there, they can register with the State Board of Pharmacy and begin applying for pharmacy technician jobs in California.

Education & Training

Obtaining the necessary education to qualify for pharmacy tech jobs is the first step for those wondering how to become a pharmacy technician in California.

Trade Schools with Pharmacy Tech Programs

Search Pharmacy Technician Programs

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

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    American Career College
    ACC offers 9 month accelerated Pharmacy Tech program.

    • Anaheim, Ontario, Lynwood, Los Angeles

    Arizona College of Nursing
    8 month hybrid diploma program that starts every 5 weeks.

    • Ontario

    Carrington College
    Affordable 9 month PT certificate.

    • Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro, Stockton

    CBD College

    • Los Angeles

    Charter College
    10 month Pharmacy Tech Certificate in a blended learning format (classroom and online) with externship.

    • Canyon Country, Lancaster, Oxnard

    Concorde Career College
    Offers a 6-month diploma or 19 month associate of science degree in Pharmacy Tech.

    • Garden Grove, North Hollywood, San Bernardino, San Diego

    Institute of Technology
    Prep for national certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and train with PioneerRX software.

    • Clovis, Modesto, Redding

    InterCoast Colleges
    Hybrid Pharmacy Tech program with externship.

    • Anaheim, Fairfield, Rancho Cordova, Riverside, West Covina

    Milan Institute
    38 week certificate program for Pharmacy Technician/Assistant.

    • Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Palm Desert, Visalia, Fairfield, La Quinta

    Pima Medical Institute
    9 month on campus & online certificate program that preps students for the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination (CPhT).

    • San Diego, San Marcos

    West Coast University
    Doctor of Pharmacy degree program.

    • North Hollywood, Ontario, Anaheim, Los Angeles

How Do You Benefit from Enrolling?

The main outcome for PT programs is to prepare you to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).


What Do You Study?

Pharmacy technician schools in California typically teach classes like:

  • Pharmacy Terminology
  • Drug Classifications
  • Computerized Drug Delivery Systems
  • Pharmaceutical Mathematics
  • Communication and Customer Service
  • Institutional and Community Pharmacy Practices
  • Pharmacy Law

Schools often have a practicum component as well, allowing students to gain hands-on experience through internships at local pharmacies.

How Much Does it Cost?

A pharmacy tech certificate course in California might cost anywhere from $1,100 to $5,000, depending on where you enroll.

Tuition rates for some diploma programs range from $10,000 to about $16,000, while the cost to complete an associate’s degree program may be closer to $35,000 at some schools.

Tuition Assistance

Some pharmacies offer tuition assistance for students who work as pharmacy tech trainees while completing their educational programs. Check your employee benefits package to determine whether your employer offers this perk.

How Long is Pharmacy Tech School in CA?

Most certificate programs take about 6 to 12 months to complete, though many students earn their diplomas in 9 months.

2 year associate’s degree programs are also available for students hoping to lay the groundwork for an eventual pharmacist career.

California Requirements

Once you complete your training program, you’ll need to register with the State Board of Pharmacy before you can become an official pharmacy technician in CA.

License Requirements

To obtain your license, you’ll need to submit the following:

  • Proof of identification, such as a Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
  • A copy of your official transcripts certifying your graduation from a high school or GED program
  • A signed Affidavit of Completed Coursework or Graduation form for your pharmacy tech certificate or degree program OR:
    • Proof of pharmacy tech-related military training
    • A Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • A sealed, original Self Queary report for the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)
  • Fingerprints for a Live Scan criminal background check
  • A passport-style photo taken within the last 60 days
  • A completed application for a pharmacy technician license
  • Payment of the required $195 application fee

License Verification

It takes about 45 days for the Board to process applications for pharmacy technicians in CA.

You can use the “Verify a License” tool on the Board of Pharmacy website to check the status of your application. Successful applicants usually receive their physical licenses in the mail after four to six weeks.


Although the average pharmacy technician salary in California is about $55,710 per year, your annual earnings may differ slightly depending on where you live.
Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

State Hourly Annual
Bakersfield $23.74 $49,380.00
Chico $24.82 $51,620.00
Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region $24.66 $51,300.00
El Centro $23.67 $49,230.00
Fresno $24.68 $51,340.00
Hanford-Corcoran $23.30 $48,470.00
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim $25.83 $53,720.00
Madera $24.82 $51,620.00
Merced $22.01 $45,780.00
Modesto $25.64 $53,320.00
Napa $33.48 $69,630.00
North Coast Region $24.74 $51,450.00
North Valley-Northern Mountains Region $25.58 $53,200.00
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura $24.98 $51,960.00
Redding $24.37 $50,700.00
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario $24.92 $51,840.00
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade $27.66 $57,540.00
Salinas $26.19 $54,480.00
San Diego-Carlsbad $25.73 $53,520.00
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $32.36 $67,310.00
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $33.01 $68,670.00
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande $26.12 $54,330.00
Santa Cruz-Watsonville $24.40 $50,760.00
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara $26.57 $55,260.00
Santa Rosa $29.00 $60,330.00
Stockton-Lodi $25.58 $53,210.00
Vallejo-Fairfield $29.18 $60,680.00
Visalia-Porterville $23.86 $49,620.00
Yuba City $23.98 $49,880.00

Occupation: Occupation:Pharmacy Technicians(SOC Code292052)

Job Description

Pharmacy technician jobs in California require intense focus, attention to detail, and physical stamina.

In addition to lifting heavy boxes of medication and keeping the pharmacy neat and organized, pharmacy technicians in CA are responsible for:

  • Receiving digital and hand-written prescription orders from healthcare professionals
  • Filling prescriptions by measuring, weighing, counting, and pouring medications
  • Checking each order for accuracy
  • Packaging and labeling medications in the proper containers
  • Stocking shelves and maintaining inventory for the pharmacy
  • Accepting payments and processing insurance claims for customers
  • Processing online orders and answering phone calls
  • Entering data to update each customer’s purchase history information
  • Referring customers to the pharmacist to discuss questions about their various conditions and medications
  • Assisting customers on the sales floor and recommending over-the-counter medications
  • Setting up displays and advertising sales events around the store

Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for pharmacy techs in the U.S. should increase by about five percent over the next ten years. As more employees make the transition from tech to licensed pharmacist, more pharmacy technician jobs in California are likely to become available.

Search Pharmacy Technician Programs

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

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