California Pharmacy Technician State Requirements – The California Board of Pharmacy states the following requirements for becoming a licensed pharmacy technician:
-Fill out Board of Pharmacy Technician application and pay $105 registration fee. This application is fairly involved, they have included a video to help you with the details. Some of the major requirements include:
-Have a high school diploma or equivalent
-A passport style photo (glossy, color photo, 2″x2″) taken within 60 days of submitting your application.
-Complete an FBI background check
-Meet one of the following requirements:
  1 – Affidavit of Completed Coursework or Graduation – this includes things like an Associates Degree in Pharmacy Technology, any course with 240 hours of instruction, ASHP training course, etc.
  2 – Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) certified
  3 – National Healthcare Association Pharmacy Technician Certification Program (ExCPT) certified
  4 – Military Training – include a copy of your DD214 documenting evidence of your pharmacy tech training
– Include a Self-Query Report – instructions are on the application. This costs $5
– Include Fingerprints that must be done by Live Scan. Non-residents must visit CA to complete a Live Scan or submit professionally rolled fingerprints on cards supplied by the board

Pharmacy Technician Training Programs

A very good online training option at a reasonable price, click here to review the details about this program.

-Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria
-Antelope Valley Medical College, Lancaster
-Anthem College, Sacramento
-Boston Reed College, (there are many Boston Reed Colleges and the tuition is decent, check their website for locations)
-Career Colleges of America, South Gate
-Cerritos College, Norwalk
-Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga
-Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles
-Charter College, Canyon Country, Lancaster, Long Beach, and Oxnard
-City College of San Francisco, San Francisco
-College of the Sequoias, Visalia
-Everest College, Campuses in: Alhambra, City of Industry, Gardena, Ontario, Reseda, San Francisco, Torrance, and West Los Angeles
-Foothill College, Los Altos Hills
-Fresno City College, Fresno
-Imperial Valley College, Imperial
-Institute of Technology, Campuses in: Clovis, Modesto, Redding, Roseville, and Stockton
-Los Angeles ORT Technical Institute, Los Angeles
Monrovia Community Adult School, Monrovia (this program was recommended by a commenter on this site. Inesa said that the program was $900, which is a great price for a technician program)
-Northwest College, Campuses in: Pasadena and West Covina
-San Joaquin Valley College, Campuses in: Bakersfield, Fresno, Hesperia, Modesto, Rancho Cucamonga, and Visalia (Be CAREFUL with this school, Adrienne let us know that they sometimes lose accreditation. So, make sure you ask them about this and she recommended Fresno City College and Boston Reed College for the Fresno area)
-San Bernardino Valley College, San Bernardino
-Santa Ana College, Santa Ana
-Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa
-SBB College, Campuses in: Bakersfield and Santa Maria
-Skyline College, San Bruno
-UEI College, Campuses in: Anaheim, El Monte, Fresno, Gardena, Huntington Park, Ontario, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Marcos, and Van Nuys
-University of Southern California, Los Angeles
-Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona

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  1. Hello Dr. Hoopi! I just found your podcast and appreciate your contributions to the Pharmacy Technician career path.

    I have been a Pharmacy Technician since 1986-yikes! The last 5 years I have been involved in the teaching end of the field.

    Just to help you out with your website (which is a wealth of information!) Anthem Institute has closed it’s doors as of ~2 years ago. And Kaplan College was sold to Education Corperation of America. Here in Las Vegas, our campus is now called Brightwood College (my place of employment). Relating to your podcast #4, we offer students an on-ground setting as well as a digital component.

    Thank you for your time! I will be sharing your podcast information with my students tomorrow!

    Mary Selleck, CPhT

  2. Hi Kay, thank you for the positive feedback. In some states, they do have reciprocity for technicians already licensed or registered in a different state. However, it sounds like you may have just completed your PTCB and not officially registered or licensed in your previous state. For your options, I would check with the retail pharmacies listed on the Board of Pharmacy Technician Guideline linked page in the Washington State information on this site. They have quite afew pharmacies listed with approved training programs. Your best bet is to get on with one of them and complete it that way. Best of luck, -Rob

  3. Hi Rob,
    I am very fortunate, like many others before me, to receive valuable pharmacy techinician information from you.

    I just moved to state of Washington a month ago. Before relocating I thought about becoming pharmacy technician. A year ago I studied on my own and passed national PTCB exam. But to be certified in WA, my understaning is that either I complete a formal educational training or go through On The Job Training.
    My problem is that I can't afford to go to school at this time. What do you suggest so that I can get Washington Pharm Tech Certification without having to go to school?

  4. Hi Michelle,
    Career Step is a good choice and many people that have done it have let me know it was a great experience. Because you are going to go into a new field of work, I recommend ensuring you are set up for the externship that Career Step offers. This is a huge advantage a great opportunity to get some experience and start networking. You will also want to make sure you set up your PTCB test date as soon as you are near the end of the Career Step program to allow you to work as soon as possible in the event a position opens up. Please let me know how I can help you along the way. -Rob

  5. Hi Rob!

    I am 45 years old and looking for a career change. I've been in Real Estate for years and I am just burned out. With that being said I would like to do the Pharmacy Technician course on line at Career Step. (I have done a lot of research and think Career Step is my best option) I am located in Indiana. I have a High School diploma but no college degree and no prior experience with Pharmacy Tech. I am not sure where to begin so any advice would be most appreciative!

  6. Try Penn Foster career program. I used them, it's self paced and very affordable. I think they give you 9 months to finish, but it can be done in as little as 4 1/2. AND they have a very flexible payment schedule. Bing or Google them at Penn Foster, Scranton, PA Best of luck in your academic pursuits.

  7. Hi Jerrica, yes, your are okay to obtain your PTCB right now. Most of the changes go into effect at a later date. Sign-up and get er done!

  8. How about in Texas? I took the class, but I didn't take the test. Is it too late? Will I have to take the class over before I can take the exam?

  9. Hi Jerry,
    Once you pass the PTCB and become registers in California, you could do an internship with a pharmacy. It does take some work on your part to get someone to let you do the internship, especially when you are not tied to a program affiliated with the pharmacy. If you are already in a hospital, I would ask the pharmacy director (or manager in a large hospital) is you can set up an internship (basically volunteering with scheduled training) with the idea that if they like what they see, you could potentially get a job with them at some point or at minimum have some solid training for your resume for another job. best of luck -Rob

  10. Hi Rob Im in San Diego CA and i wanted to make a career change and hopefully a life change i a Polysomnography Tech i have to work night shift have bin doing it for the last 7 years and have bin looking in to Pharmacy Tech. day shift. LOL I have Associates in Respiratory but am looking in to making the change. I noticed #4 was the quickest way but can i just study up since i have taken Pharmacology before and just take the PTCB Certification with out school? and will i be able to do a internship with it if i now some one or do i need to complete a cretan amount of hours for that?
    Any help would appreciated

  11. Hi Eric, I think it is a good decision to go into pharmacy. I had many classmates, including my self, that had some work/life experience prior to starting pharmacy school. Because of time and the fact you already have some experience, I recommend obtaining your PTCB and just focusing your college credits on pharmacy school pre-requisites. I recommend the Mosb'y guide and you can find more information and links about that book and another one on the certification page at:

    Best of luck, -Rob

  12. Hey Rob,
    I live in Tennessee. I have worked the last ten years in education, but now I am going to make a career change to be a Pharmacist. This is my biggest passion. In order to reach that goal, I am enrolled in a college that has a Pharmacy School and working to land a Pharmacy Technician position. I looked up the requirements for Tennessee and they require the PTCB exam. Before entering education, I worked for three years at a local pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. So, do I have a good chance of getting a job with this experience and the exam or a college program and the exam? Second, what book would you recommend I use to study for this exam?

  13. I do not think it makes much of a difference. As a pharmacy director, I consider Penn Foster closer to the bottom of the list for schools. I think the Career Step with the externship is more valuable.

  14. Hi Rob,

    I’ve been looking and researching at both online schools for pharmacy technician and the question I have is Career step will give you a training program certificate once you pass and finish, Penn Foster gives you a career diploma. Is there a difference or do they mean the same thing? Does one look better when trying to get jobs?

  15. Hi Rami,
    It is school preference on the exterbship. It takes a lot of work, and some schools do not have the resources to do it. On he CA state exam, I have not heard of one and I cannot find one on the California Board of Pharmacy site. The only exam they discuss is the PTCB.So, regardless of the program you attend, all you really need is PTCB. Technically, if you attend an approved program, you do not need PTCB. -Rob