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Pharmacy Technician Programs in California

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician in California, there are several colleges and vocational schools to choose from in this large, sunny state that offer pharmacy tech programs – including certificates, diplomas, and associate and bachelor degree programs. 

Pharmacies are a crucial aid to people who need healing, and pharmacy technicians are a part of that environment. Completing a pharmacy tech program may help prepare grads to pursue careers in pharmacies, hospitals, stores, and ambulatory service centers.

California General Education Information and Data 

Before we discuss specific education information related to pharmacy technicians in California, we thought you might be interested in some general education information in California. Did you know?:

  • There are 249 four-year institutions in California, while the national average of  56.
  • There are 205 two-year institutions, compared to the national average of 33.
  • The national average for total male fall enrollment is 171,951, while California has 1,231,192!
  • The total female fall enrollment in California is 1,504,387—also way over the national average of 228,592!           

Pharmacy Technician Careers in California

California ranks #1 as the state that has the highest level of employment for pharmacy technicians, AND it ranks as the #2 top paying state for this profession. Here are a few additional pieces of information relevant to pursuing a pharmacy tech career in California:   

  • There are currently 35,300 pharmacy technicians employed in California.
  • There are 40,400 projected jobs by 2026, which is a 14% increase and approximately 3,410 job openings from 2016-2026. 
  • The annual mean 10th percentile wage for pharmacy technicians in California is $26,450.
  • The annual mean 90th percentile wage for pharmacy technicians in California is $59,420.

Trying to decide between pursuing a pharmacy tech career or perhaps some other career in the healthcare industry? Here are the annual mean 10th percentile wages for other health-related fields in California:

  • Medical Records & Health Information Technicians: $27,670
  • Medical Assistant: $25,050
  • EMT (Emergency Medical Technician): $22,610
  • CNA (certified nursing assistant): $23,750

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in California

Do I need any certification to become a Pharmacy Technician in California?

Pharmacy technicians in California are regulated by the state but are not required to earn national certification. However, some employers may prefer to hire a pharmacy technician who is certified and in some cases, certification may make it easier to find employment. Certification demonstrates an advanced knowledge in that subject area.

Which certifications are approved in California?

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is accepted by the state of California, as is the National Healthcare Association Pharmacy Technician Certification Program (ExCPT). 

Am I required to have a license to become a Pharmacy Technician in California? 

Yes, anyone wanting to work as a pharmacy technician in the state of California must receive a license from the state board. In order to become licensed, you will need to submit a written application to the California state board. Waiting to hear back could take up to three months.

What are the initial requirements to become licensed as a Pharmacy Technician in California? 

  • Must possess a high school diploma or GED
  • You must possess one of four things: proof of armed services training as a pharmacy tech, a PTCB certification, an ExCPT certification, or an affidavit of completed coursework or graduation. Course work could include any of the following: Associates Degree in Pharmacy Technology, a minimum of 240 hours of instruction from a pharmacist, graduation from a school of pharmacy accredited by the ACPE.
  • Must pass a federal and state background check as well as submit your fingerprints
  • Must include your application fee
  • Include a photo

Does my Pharm Tech License ever expire in CA? 

Yes, the license will expire every two years and require renewal. Approximately 90 days before the expiration date of your license, a renewal application will be mailed to your last known address of record. It takes a minimum of three weeks to process your renewal and another three weeks to receive the renewed license in the mail.

Is their training required to become a pharm tech in CA?

Yes, some level of training is required. The state currently offers multiple options as noted above.

Are there any Pharmacy Technician Professional Organizations in California?

Joining a professional pharmacy tech organization may be a great way for new graduates to enhance their pharmacy technician careers. There are a few such professional organizations including:

  • The California Pharmacy Technician Association (CPTA)
  • The National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA)
  • The California Pharmacists Association
  • The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)

By being a member of a pharmacy technician professional association, you may be able to provide yourself with opportunities to meet others in the industry and find out helpful information about continuing education, networking and professional development, and regional meetings. These associations may charge annual fees for membership.

How do I contact the State Board?

California Board of Pharmacy
Office: 1625 N Market Blvd, N219
Sacramento, CA 95834

Voice: 916-574-7900
Fax: 916-574-8618



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