The pharmacy technician in California is a beginning health worker who supports the pharmacist in a number of routine functions around the store. While it is actually possible for individuals who have graduated from high school to prepare for this job by means of on-the-job training, the majority of employers want to employ applicants who have finished a one-year pharmacy tech certification course.

The need for pharmacy techs in California is expected to increase sharply in the next few years, which makes it a great option for those who are launching their careers. The 2016 Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 12% surge in new positions for pharmacy techs by 2026.

What do pharmacy technicians do in California?

The principal duties of the pharmacy technician in California center around the activities that help the drug store service its customers and control its inventory. The subsequent list features the basic assignments that drug stores put on their techs.

Basic pharmacy tech duties

  • Handle client and patient telephone calls and questions
  • Initiate and manage patient records
  • Assist pharmacist in filling prescriptions by weighing, packaging and labeling prescribed medicines
  • Handle payments for prescriptions and insurance claims
  • Maintain all inventory in the pharmacy

What are the steps to become a pharmacy tech in California?

The four-step procedure for becoming a pharmacy tech in California is displayed below.

  1. Decide if you want to get certified
  2. Should you decide to become certified, register for a PTCA-approved training program
  3. Finish the pharmacy technician program and internship training hours, as required by state
  4. Take and pass either the PTCE (PTCB) or ExCPT (NHA) Exam for certification

Step 1: Determine whether you plan to become certified

Your first step towards becoming a pharmacy tech is to consider whether or not you are going to become certified. Regardless of what you decide, you need to be aware that most hiring managers would rather pick candidates who have obtained their certification.

For any person who is intent on seeking a long-lasting career in the pharmacy business, certification is highly recommended. In case you still do not feel like you’re concerned about getting your pharmacy certification, the next step for you is to get a job.

Step 2: Register for courses accredited by the PTAC

If you’ve decided to get your certification, the second step is to enroll in a pharmacy technician training program that is recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Accreditation Commission (PTAC). This body coordinates training curricula and guidelines with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) assuring consistent quality in national pharmacy tech programs.

The importance of PTAC accreditation

Since only trainees who finish a training course approved by the PTAC are immediately entitled to challenge either of the national certification exams, it really is essential that you complete a program that is accredited by this body.

Pharmacy tech classes online

A favored alternative to campus-based courses, online pharmacy tech programs give pupils the convenience to go to class and complete their training based on their own schedules. For pupils who do not live around a college campus that offers the classes they need, online courses are always an attractive option.

Be advised, however, that online courses still ask pupils to finish their hands-on training hours at a actual physical site associated with the school.

Step 3: Complete training course and necessary internship hours

The next step will be to graduate from the accredited course you have selected. The academic portion can frequently be completed in twelve months or less, but completing the necessary hands-on training hours (occasionally called an “externship”) at an actual pharmacy may possibly take longer.

The academic part of your training will likely cover all of the theory and procedural-type information that is going to be included in the certification test. Allowing students hands-on training in a pharmacy, conversely, is the emphasis of the internship part of a program.

Step 4: Pass the PTCE or ExCPT Certification Exam

The PTCE and ExCPT are the two exams that grant nationally-accepted pharmacy tech certifications. Eligibility to challenge either of these tests requires you to initially finish a PTAC-accredited program. College students who pass either test receive the nationally-accepted title of Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT).

We take a deeper look at these examinations below.

Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE)

One of the two nationwide exams is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), which is a multiple-choice assessment administered all through the country. The PTCE includes 90 questions administered in a one-hour, 50-minute timed structure. A passing score on the test gives the student the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential.

A test taker has to be able to satisfy the next two requirements to be able to challenge the examination:

  • Graduated from a PTAC-accredited pharmacy technician training course, or
  • Acquired comparable work experience as a pharmacy tech

ExCPT Exam

The other popular national certification exam is the ExCPT, which is administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). This timed exam features 100 multiple-choice problems, provided in a two-hour, 10-minute format.

You have to have the ability to satisfy one of the following prerequisites so that you can can challenge the examination:

  • Graduated from a PTAC-approved pharmacy technician training program, or
  • Gained equivalent work experience as a pharmacy tech

What is the typical pharmacy technician salary in California?

The median annual pharmacy tech salary was $31,750 in May 2017 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data below features the most current data on salary offered in California.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.27$14.86$21.98
Yearly$21,370 $30,920 $45,710
Yearly$25,630 $37,710 $58,350
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$15.57$24.22$37.09
Yearly$32,390 $50,370 $77,150
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA MSAHourly$15.74$21.62$34.85
Yearly$32,740 $44,970 $72,490
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSAHourly$12.73$21.37$31.76
Yearly$26,480 $44,450 $66,060
Napa, CA MSAHourly$13.02$21.17$33.77
Yearly$27,080 $44,030 $70,240
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA MSAHourly$13.76$20.43$29.91
Yearly$28,610 $42,500 $62,220
Hanford-Corcoran, CA MSAHourly$14.15$20.40$23.03
Yearly$29,440 $42,430 $47,900
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, CA MSAHourly$13.82$20.13$30.01
Yearly$28,740 $41,860 $62,420
Salinas, CA MSAHourly$13.96$20.12$24.96
Yearly$29,050 $41,850 $51,910
North Coast Region (BOS)Hourly$13.54$20.07$26.52
Yearly$28,170 $41,750 $55,160
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$13.53$20.02$31.70
Yearly$28,150 $41,640 $65,930
Mother Lode Region (BOS)Hourly$12.87$19.93$23.89
Yearly$26,770 $41,460 $49,690
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA MSAHourly$14.95$19.90$27.57
Yearly$31,090 $41,390 $57,350
Chico, CA MSAHourly$13.32$19.78$25.81
Yearly$27,700 $41,140 $53,690
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA MSAHourly$13.56$19.33$28.84
Yearly$28,200 $40,200 $59,990
Bakersfield-Delano, CA MSAHourly$13.42$18.78$25.27
Yearly$27,900 $39,060 $52,570
Redding, CA MSAHourly$12.91$18.63$28.81
Yearly$26,840 $38,760 $59,920
Yuba City, CA MSAHourly$14.63$18.51$24.42
Yearly$30,430 $38,510 $50,780
Stockton, CA MSAHourly$11.74$18.32$27.87
Yearly$24,420 $38,110 $57,970
El Centro, CA MSAHourly$13.68$18.24$23.64
Yearly$28,450 $37,930 $49,180
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan DivisionHourly$11.64$17.93$27.50
Yearly$24,210 $37,280 $57,200
Northern Mountains Region (BOS)Hourly$11.85$17.58$27.42
Yearly$24,660 $36,570 $57,030
North Valley Region (BOS)Hourly$13.41$17.43$24.27
Yearly$27,890 $36,250 $50,480
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA MSAHourly$12.11$17.24$25.02
Yearly$25,190 $35,860 $52,050
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSAHourly$10.08$17.00$25.13
Yearly$20,960 $35,370 $52,280
Madera-Chowchilla, CA MSAHourly$11.67$16.95$23.07
Yearly$24,260 $35,260 $47,990
Modesto, CA MSAHourly$11.76$16.90$27.23
Yearly$24,460 $35,150 $56,630
Fresno, CA MSAHourly$12.59$16.75$23.19
Yearly$26,180 $34,840 $48,230
Visalia-Porterville, CA MSAHourly$11.58$16.67$23.22
Yearly$24,090 $34,670 $48,310
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSAHourly$11.91$16.23$23.84
Yearly$24,770 $33,750 $49,590
Merced, CA MSAHourly$10.73$15.40$23.70
Yearly$22,330 $32,030 $49,310