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California Pharmacy Technician Schools, Salary & Certification

Beginning an exciting and challenging career does not necessarily require several years in school. There are many California pharmacy technician schools that make it easy for students to get qualified for their dream job in a short amount of time. Most of them have programs that make it easy to stay in school and work towards a great career while maintaining another job.

A high school diploma or equivalent is generally the only requirement to enroll in a training program and join the 34,870 employed pharmacy technicians in California.

Schools in California 

Listed below are schools (on-campus, online and correspondence) that offer Pharmacy Technician programs in the state of California. As a general rule, you should request information from more than one school during the course of your research as there are important differences between the training programs offered in each school i.e: cost, admissions requirements, courses and curriculum as well as starting dates.

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Career Networks Institute
Location:  702 W. Town Country Rd., Suite 720
Orange, California 92868
 Phone: 714 437-9697 

Modesto Junior College
Location: 435 College Avenue #204
Modesto, California 95350
Phone: 209 572-7215

Charles A. Jones Skills and Business Education Center
Location: 5451 Lemon Hill Avenue
Sacramento, California 95824-1529
Phone: 916 433-2600

How much does a pharmacy technician make in California?

Pharmacy Technicians who completed a formal training program and have acquired certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ICPT) claim the highest salaries. Pharmacy technician wages tend to be higher on the East and West Coasts. So California is a great place to start a career as a pharmacy tech. Employers generally also offer medical and dental insurance, retirement savings plans, paid sick, personal and vacation days as part of the overall salary pack.

The average pharmacy technician hourly salary in California is *$19.12 or $39,760 per year. Hospital Pharmacy Technicians earn between $38,000-$43,000 and those in federal executive branch of the government settings earn upwards of $48,000 depending on the number of years of experience and qualifications held.

Job Outlook

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment for pharmacy technicians will grow faster than the average for all other healthcare careers. California is a great hub for employment for pharmacy technicians due to a growing older population. In areas with an older population generally there is always a need for more medical services.

Certification Requirements

The State of California does not require certification. A national pharmacy technician certification exam is the PTCE exam from PTCB. The examination is divided into three areas of competence:

  • Assisting the pharmacist
  • Maintenance of medication/inventory control systems
  • Helping with the admin. and overall management of the pharmacy.

Once you pass the examination which focuses on drug names and classifications, federal pharmacy law, maths and pharmacy operations, you may use the initials “CPhT” after your name.

There are approx. 21,810 actively PTCB certified pharmacy technicians residing in California. 

Renewal of your California Pharmacy Technician Certification (CPhT) requires continuing education. In order to have your certification renewed, a pharmacy technician must complete 20 hours of continuing education credits every 2 years accompanied by a renewal application ($100) to the pharmacy board annually.

The other nationally accredited pharmacy technician certification exam is ExCPT. The exam consists of a 110 multiple-choice questions, certifies each applicant who passes for 2 years after which re certification is required.

Is a pharmacy technician license required in California?

Pharmacy technicians need to register with the California Board of Pharmacy. Being registered allows you to practice as a pharmacy technician in CA. To be able to register with the CA Board of Pharmacy you need to have completed either:

  • Associate degree in Pharmacy Technology or a training course accredited by ASHP or graduation from a school of pharmacy accredited by ACPE
  • If certified with PTCB, a copy of your PTCB certificate
  • If qualifying by training assigned by a branch of the federal armed services a copy of your DD214.

On a final note, completing a program at one of the many California pharmacy technician schools is easy because the programs are so flexible to accommodate the lifestyle of any student. Students can choose between associates degrees or degree programs and choose to take classes online if it is more convenient for them. These are just a few of the many choices in California for an excellent pharmacy technician program.

Salary figures courtesy of US Department of Labor.

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Since February 2012 we've been bringing our readers useful information on the pharmacy technology career providing stats, how-to guides and detailed content for aspiring new pharmacy techs. Enjoy browsing our site!

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