Pharmacy Technician Programs in Riverside, CA

The role played by a pharmacy technician in California - or anywhere else in the country - offers a challenging, well paid entrance into the medical field in a very hands-on way but is a career that can be launched relatively quickly.

In California, a minimum vocational education requirement must usually be met for licensure, something that Pharmacy Technician Schools in Riverside CA can provide, along with a solid introduction to the basics of the field.

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Pharmacy Technician Wages and Employment Trends in Riverside

One thing anyone considering a new career wants to know is how lucrative that option is going to be in terms of salary, and just what the outlook for employment and future career growth might be.

Nationally the field of pharmacy technology is well paid and growing in importance, as pharmacies diversify and play a larger role in healthcare than ever before, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The same is true in California, and in Riverside specifically.

According to the Employment Development Department (EDD) in the state of California, projected employment for pharmacy technicians in Riverside county, will grow by at least 13.5% by 2028, but given recent developments that figure may be even higher. 

California Employment Trends for Pharmacy Technicians

Employment (2018)

37,600 employees

Projected employment (2028)

42,600 employees

Projected growth (2018-2028)


Projected annual job openings (2018-2028)


Source: Projections Central

In terms of salaries, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the national annual average paid to a pharmacy technician in 2020 was $33,950. The average in Riverside county, and in California in general was higher, at $38,910, or around $21.00 per hour (although most employers no longer compensate in that way). 

In Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario pharmacy technicians on average earn $38,910, in California average salaries are $43,280 and across the United States PT's earn an average $33,950.

Here are full details on how pharmacy technician salaries compare in Riverside county, California, other metro areas in California, and United States.


Annual Median (50%)

United States




Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA


Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA


San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA


San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA


Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA



San Diego-Carlsbad, CA


Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Salaries change according to education and experience of course. The bottom 10%, usually made up of brand-new pharmacy techs, can expect to earn $32,150 annually, but the top 10%, those with the highest levels of education and experience, can expect to command annual salaries of $64,770 or more.

Pharmacy Technician Schools in Riverside, CA

In the State of California pharmacy technicians must be licensed by the Board of Pharmacy. To obtain that licensure candidates must either prove 500 hours of acceptable pharmacy technician experience or hold a formal certification.

California accepts both the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board's PTCE qualification or the National Healthcare Institutes ExCPT certification. You can learn more about the differences between these two exams here.

As it is the older and more established offering most Californians sit the PTCE exam as offered by the PTCB in order to become a certified pharmacy technician. A requirement to do that is having passed a PTCB approved education program.

There are a number of these pharmacy technician programs available via technical schools and colleges in Riverside county, but they all offer something different, and some may be better suited to a student's needs than others, as we are going to take a closer look at here.

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1. American College of Healthcare and Technology [Riverside Campus}

? 11801 Pierce St., Ste. 100 Riverside, CA 92505 | ☎ (951) 729-5320

American College of Healthcare and Technology is a private vocational school that offers career focused education to a primarily adult student population. For those interested in becoming a certified pharmacy technician they offer an 8-month, campus-based Pharmacy Technician Diploma.

The program covers the basics needed to pass the PTCB exam and become certified, along with hands-on practical training in the school lab. They must also attend field trip sessions to local pharmacy facilities that may be out of school hours and some students get the chance to complete a full internship.

To be admitted to the program students must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED and meet minimum English and Math skill requirements via a school set entrance test. In addition, students must provide a copy of a background check from an approved body and pass a drug test.

The cost of tuition for the program at American College of Healthcare and Technology varies according to a student's personal circumstances, from $16,000 to $20,000, excluding the cost of books, fees, and supplies. Most students meet the cost of their schooling via traditional financial aid and, if they qualify, a limited number of state grants. 

2. North-West-College [Riverside Campus]

? 4550 La Sierra Avenue Riverside, CA 92505 | ☎ 951-324-4157

North-West-College is a vocational school offering a wide range of diplomas, including a Diploma in Pharmacy Technology that can be completed at their Riverside, CA campus or online. Designed to provide a broad overview of the pharmacy technician profession most students find work upon graduation in a retail pharmacy setting.

The program takes 40 weeks - around 9 months - to complete on a full-time campus basis and a few weeks longer for those who opt to learn online. All students must complete an outside internship placement prior to graduation, but the school attempts to make doing so as convenient as possible.

To be admitted to the program, however they choose to take it, students must be over the age of 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED. They must also be willing to undergo drug testing and a background check prior to beginning their internship and meet minimal vaccination requirements.

The cost of the North-West-College Diploma in Pharmacy Technology  is $16,315, a figure that includes the cost of books and supplies but not the fee to take a certification exam, which a student must meet out of their own pocket. Most students pay for school via traditional financial aid, and a limited number of school scholarships are available to help meet the cost as well. 

3. Chaffey College [Rancho Cucamonga Campus]

?5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737-3002 | ☎ (909) 652-6000

Chaffey College is a non-profit college that offers a range of educational programs in a traditional college campus setting. It is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution because it has a Latino population of more than 25 percent, but students from all walks of life and ethnicities are welcomed.

For those interested in becoming a pharmacy technician the school offers a comprehensive Pharmacy Technician Certificate that can later be converted to an Associate Degree in Pharmacy Technology with the completion of additional general education and liberal arts courses. All students begin, however, in the Certificate program, which can be completed in two semesters of on campus study.

The program offers a comprehensive overview of pharmacy technology and offers a special focus on community pharmacy practices. To be admitted to the program students must be over the age of 18, hold a high school diploma or GED and meet minimum education requirements in English and Math as determined by the school.

The cost of the program is charged on a per-unit basis. The cost per unit for a California resident is $46 per unit and the program is 26 unit offering, bringing the total to $1.196. The cost can be covered via a California workforce grant for those who qualify, via an interest free payment program offered by the school or a private student loan from a lender like Sallie Mae. 

4. San Bernardino Valley College [San Bernandino Campus]

? 701 South Mount Vernon Avenue San Bernardino, CA 92410 | ☎ (909) 384-4400

San Bernardino College is a traditional two-year college offering a wide range of certificate and degree programs, including both a Certificate and an Associate Degree in Pharmacy Technology.

Both programs are notable in that they are not only approved by the PTCB but also by the California Board of Pharmacy. They offer the classroom and practical education needed to pass the PTCE or ExCPT and to obtain California licensure.

The basics elements of the 9-month certificate program and the 2-year associate degree - both of which are campus based - in regard to pharmacy technology are the same, and the student receives both classroom training and the chance to complete an internship with a local employer.

Both offerings are selective admission programs, meaning that students must meet educational standards set by the school and be selected via personal interview and recommendations. In addition, students must pass background, drug tests, and meet minimum vaccination standards.

Usually, students who are accepted into the programs pay for schooling with traditional federal financial aid. 

5. UEI College [Riverside Campus]

? 1860 University Ave, Riverside, CA 92507| ☎ (951) 394-0550

UEI College is a private vocational school with a campus located right in Riverdale, CA. Their Pharmacy Technology Certificate is specifically designed to prepare students to take their certification exam and work in an entry level position in a retail pharmacy setting.

The program, which is campus based but can be completed in the day or the evening, is a ten-month program that includes a 120-hour externship with a local retail pharmacy, most often CVS or Walgreens. Completing this is mandatory for graduation.

To be admitted to the program students must be over the age of 18 and hold a high school diploma or GED. In addition, they must take and pass a drug test and submit to a background check before beginning their externship. 


Other school guides and locations you might be interested in: 

Victorville, CA Pharmacy Technician Programs 

Stockton, CA Pharmacy Technician Programs 

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