How to Become a Pharmacy Technician in California


A pharmacy technician works as an assistant to a licensed pharmacist. They might package and perform other tasks relating to processing and filling prescriptions. Some of their duties are restricted if required by a registered pharmacist. A pharmacy training program can be completed in as little as a year. After completing training, those who want to work as a pharmacy technician in California must apply for certification through the California Board of Pharmacy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage of pharmacy technicians in May 2008 was $13.32.

  • Complete training at a reputable college that offers a pharmacy technician program. Ensure that the program includes courses in anatomy, drug usage, pharmacy law and prescription administration. After completion of training, take the National Pharmacy Certification Exam that acknowledges you have met the standards for a pharmacy technician.

  • Submit an $80 application fee (as of April 2010) to the California Board of Pharmacy for a license. If your application is denied, you won't receive a refund for the fee. Provide proof of your completion and transcripts from an accredited pharmacy technician school.

  • Attach a current photograph to your application. You will be required to pass a background check before your application is approved.

  • Locate a Live Scan site in California and complete a live scan of your fingerprints. Complete a Live Scan Request form that verifies your fingerprints have been scanned and that you have paid any required fees. Submit a copy of your fingerprints and the Live Scan form with your application to the California Board of Pharmacy. Allow at least 90 days for the application to be processed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be prepared to answer 90 questions on the National Pharmacy Certification Exam.
  • The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam is voluntary in California to become licensed but passing it may help you to gain employment,
  • Pharmacy technicians, especially those employed by hospitals, might be expected to work long hours that include weekend shifts.
  • You must submit a copy of your fingerprints with your application even if you have previously submitted them to the Board of Pharmacy.
  • Pharmacy technicians are expected to be available in the event of an emergency, such as filling emergency prescriptions for ill children.

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  • Photo Credit pharmacie image by muro from
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