Pharmacy Technician Programs in Fresno, CA

Fresno, CA is a history filled, vibrant place that is home to more than 500,000 people. Known for its wealth of culture and its innovative businesses it is a growing hub in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.

As the population of the area grows so does the demand for pharmacies of all kinds. In addition to traditional retail pharmacies a growing number of urgent care and long-term care facilities maintain their own in-house pharmacies and local hospitals operate pharmacy facilities that are both expansive and technologically advanced.

This means that the demand for pharmacy technicians is growing as well, across all these employment fields as well as the growing online pharmacy industry.

The state of California requires pharmacy techs to maintain current registration with the California State Board of Pharmacy to work, and a part of meeting their requirements is having successfully completed a PTCB approved training course and pass the PTCE certification exam.  

African American pharmacy technician male talking to a customer in a drugstore

Source: SJVC

This means that for Fresno residents interested in a career in pharmacy technology attending formal schooling is a must. There are several approved options available, so here we will be taking a closer look at what each of them offers to help you make the right choice.

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Employment and Pay Statistics for Fresno, CA Pharmacy Technicians

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2019 there were 36,560 registered pharmacy technicians in the State of California. Of those people 980 identified as being from the Fresno, CA area.

In terms of salary, the average hourly wage for a Fresno pharmacy technician in 2019 was $19.60. Salaries for new pharmacy technicians began, on average, at $13.05 rising as high as $30.00 in the 90th percentile for experienced individuals working in a clinical setting.

The BLS reports that the top 5 paying metropolitan areas in California for pharmacy techs in 2019 were:

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $51,090
  2. Santa Rosa, CA: $50,790
  3. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA: $50,070
  4. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $49,280
  5. Salinas, CA: $49,060

These figures demonstrate that this is a well-paid professional in which experience and additional education will usually translate into significant salary increases.

With your new skillset upon graduation of an accredited pharmacy tech program, you can pursue a variety of pharmaceutical careers:

  • Pharmacy technician
  • Pharmacy assistant
  • Compounding technician
  • Pharmacy clerk
  • Insurance representative
  • IV-Certified pharmacy tech
  • Medication technician

Pharmacy Technician Schools in Fresno, CA 

As mentioned earlier it is a stipulation of the California State Board of Pharmacy that any school attended by a prospective pharmacy technician prior to applying for registration must be PTCB approved. The good news for Fresno, CA residents is that several schools in their area do meet - and even in some cases - exceed this standard.

Each has something slightly different to offer though and some may be better suited to your needs than others. This is what we are going to take a deeper dive into now.

UEI College 

? 3602 N. Blackstone Ave. Suite 0268, Fresno, CA 93726 | ☎ (877) 463-4472

Located on a picturesque campus in the heart of the city the Fresno campus of UEI - which is a national career college -offers students of all ages to chance to obtain a vocational education in order to help them enter a number of careers, including pharmacy technician.

UEI's Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program is a 10-month program that offers students the chance to learn everything they need to know to pass the PTCE certification exam while also gaining valuable hands on experience in the school's labs.

Sample classes you will take:

  • Pharmacy Law
  • Health Insurance & Billing
  • Internal Medicine
  • Hospital Procedures and Sterile Preparations
  • Drug Administration and Information
  • 120-Hour Externship (with a potential employer)

To be admitted to the program candidates must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED and pass a basic skills entrance exam set by the school. In addition, they must be able to pass drug and background checks and prove their legal status in the US.

The cost of the course is charged according to a student's personal circumstances, including their primary residence and their dependent status. The college provides a net cost calculator on their website to help you determine approximate costs.

Federal and state financial aid is available to those who meet the criteria in addition to a limited number of state employment readiness grants.

During their time in the program students can complete some work online but are expected to attend campus-based classes and lab sessions as well. Morning and late afternoon sessions are offered to better accommodate adult students with other work or childcare commitments.

The UEI's Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program meets the state's requirement that it be PTCB approved and as such meets their requirements as well. 

Fresno City College 

? 1101 East University Ave Fresno, CA 93741 | ☎ (559) 442-8200

In addition to offering traditional degree programs Fresno City College also offers a number of not for credit vocational programs to local residents, including their Pharmacy Technician Diploma Program.

This is a 268-hour program charged at a fixed rate of $3,695.

Traditional financial aid is not available to cover the costs of this course, but you may be able to obtain a private education loan via Sallie Mae or certain banks. In addition, some underemployed Fresno residents may be eligible to state based training/retraining grants to help cover the cost of their education.

To be admitted to the program students must be over the age of 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED. They must also sign an acknowledgment that they are aware that the State of California requires drug testing, criminal background checks and fingerprinting to issue a Pharmacy Technician license but the school does not administer those.

At orientation, students will be set a simple math assessment (covering fractions, decimals, ratios, and percentages) on which they will need to meet a minimum score of 70%.

The program runs for 268 hours - approximately four months - 120 of which are fulfilled by an externship with a local pharmacy employer. Lab classes and practical assessment classes are conducted on campus, but some modules can be completed online.

Typical classes you'll attend: 

  • Pharmacy math and calculations
  • Medication distribution and control measures
  • Brand Name vs. generic drugs
  • Retail and hospital inpatient pharmacy procedures
  • CPR training

The program is PTCB approved and additional revision materials are made available for program graduates to make use of online when preparing to take their PTCE certification test.


? 295 East Sierra Avenue Fresno, CA 93710 | ☎ (888) 918-5287

SJVC, which is a private junior college, offers two campuses in the heart of Fresno, offers some of the most comprehensive training for pharmacy technicians in the state, as they provide both a diploma program and an associate's degree program to local residents.

The admission requirements for either program are straightforward. Students must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED and meet a GPA minimum. In addition, students must submit to a drug test, criminal background check and fingerprinting.

The costs of either course vary, according to a student's age, dependent status and residence. Federal and State financial aid is available to those who qualify. To get an idea of your costs the school advises speaking to an admissions counselor directly.

Depending on which educational path a student chooses it will take between nine months and two years of full time, day class study to complete the programs. The diploma program is the shortest, and those enrolled in the two-year degree program can choose to become certified (by taking the PTCE) so that they may begin to work in the field while completing their education.

Both options cover the basics needed to pass the PTCE and include hands-on, practical training with employers in the community. Those on the Associates degree path receive additional instruction in formulary and legal issues that will qualify them to work in higher paying clinical environments right away.

The course is approved by the PTCB and recognized by the state as an acceptable course of study for Pharmacy Technician licensing.


? 3602 N. Blackstone Ave. Suite 0268, Fresno, CA 93726 | ☎ (800) 927-5159

CalRegional is short for California Regional Education Centers, which is a network of community colleges, high schools and adult education centers located throughout the state. In the Fresno area their Pharmacy Technician program is a diploma program offered at the Sanger Adult School.

The cost of attendance is calculated according a student's personal circumstances. A calculator to estimate those costs as they might apply to you is located on the school's website here and the school guarantees that for 2020 the cost of this course will be $2,995.00 or less for every student.

While this is not a course of study covered by Federal financial aid options you may be able to obtain a private loan from a lender such as Sallie Mae and in addition the school does offer a flexible payment plan.

To be admitted students must be over the age of 18 and legal US residents.

They must also hold a high school diploma or GED before graduation and sign an understanding that drug use, felonies and certain misdemeanors on their record does preclude them from obtaining a license in California or taking the PTCE. The school however does not administer any criminal check or drug test.

The CalRegional Pharmacy Technician program takes approximately nine months to complete on a full time, day study basis. Classes are campus based and students are required to complete an externship with a local employer prior to graduation.

The course is PTCB approved and meets State of California standards for licensing

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