How Do I Become a Pharmacy Technician?

By Staff Writer Published on March 1, 2018

Are you tired of working a dead-end job with no future career possibilities? You probably have been working odd jobs and are starting to realize that you need to pick a career path so that you can be proud of your work and make a better life for yourself and your family. One of these great career paths can be found as a pharmacy technician.

Fortunately, California College San Diego can help you in your journey. There are thee simple steps to becoming a Pharmacy Technician:

  1. Earn your degree.
  2. Earn your certification.
  3. Get employed as a Pharmacy Technician.

Pharmacy Technicians can begin their career in the medical field by completing postsecondary education programs in medical specialties which includes pharmacy technology. This is the program offered at California College San Diego. Our program is for 20 months and culminates with an Associate’s degree in Medical Specialties. California College San Diego wants to make sure that you are fully prepared for your career as a Pharmacy Technician. You will learn many aspects of the medical field including: math used in pharmacies, notation of medication, recordkeeping, anatomy, different types of medicine distribution, as well as dosage, names, and different usages of prescription medication.

Why would I choose the Pharmacy Technician program at California College San Diego?

The California College San Diego Pharmacy Technician program is included in our Medical Specialties degree. This degree prepares you for working in the exciting pharmacy field with licensed pharmacists, dispensing and labeling medications, maintaining pharmaceutical inventory, and updating patient information. The California College San Diego Pharmacy Technician training program can be attended at any of our three conveniently located campuses.

At California College San Diego, our Pharmacy Technician program helps you get started on a career and allows you to earn a degree, not just a diploma. Having a degree can help you work toward a career, not just a job. Pharmacy Technicians can enjoy a career in the growing healthcare field and help fill the prescription medicine needed by all people.

At California College San Diego, you can earn your degree and focus on earning your Pharmacy Technician certification during the program. The Pharmacy Technician training will help you prepare for a valuable opportunity with a professional certification.

California College San Diego partners with the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) to help you secure a certification and begin your new career.

The Pharmacy Technician courses at California College San Diego helps you take the first steps in a new career as a Certified Pharmacy Technician by helping you prepare for the Exam for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). California College San Diego will cover the cost for an official NHA practice exam (valued at $29) and sponsor you in taking the ExCPT (valued at $129). Passing this certification can help in the right externship/internship and start you on the path to a new career.

The ExCPT certification tests future Pharmacy Technicians on three critical areas with sections within each area:


  1. Regulations and Pharmacy Duties
    1. Overview of Pharmacy Technician duties and general information
    2. Controlled substances
    3. Other laws and regulations
  2. Drugs and Drug Therapy
    1. Drug classification
    2. Most frequently prescribed medications
  3. Dispensing Process
    1. Prescription information
    2. Preparing/dispensing prescriptions
    3. Calculations
    4. Sterile products, unit dose, and repackaging

Our Pharmacy Technician classes are designed so that you will understand the material covered on the test and be prepared to take your certification to start your path toward a career as a Pharmacy Technician.

What does a Pharmacy Technician do?

Pharmacy Technicians assist pharmacists in filling prescription medication to patients and customers of health professionals. A Pharmacy Technician typically works in a pharmacy or hospital.

The daily activities of a Pharmacy Technician are typically the following:

  • Collect patient/customer information from health professionals to fill a needed prescription
  • Correctly measure the accurate amounts of medication for prescriptions
  • Label and package prescription medications
  • Take inventory and organize medication and supplies
  • Assist in accepting payments from customers
  • Process insurance claims relating to prescription medication
  • Correctly enter any patient information into computer system
  • Answer phone calls from customers or hospitals
  • Facilitate customers working with pharmacists to answer any questions about medication and/or dosage

Pharmacy Technicians must work under the supervision of a pharmacist. All prescription medication that is dispensed must be reviewed by a pharmacist before being delivered to the customer. Pharmacy Technicians can compound and/or mix certain medications and contact doctors for prescription refill authorizations. Pharmacy Technicians also need to understand how to operate automated dispensing equipment when filling orders for prescriptions.

Pharmacy Technician Externship Program

Included in your Pharmacy Technician program at California College San Diego is a 180-hour externship. This will help to give you real-world skills that you can utilize to secure employment after graduation. California College San Diego has created relationships with pharmacies in our area to help provide you with the opportunity to experience the day-to-day requirement of a Pharmacy Technician prior to graduation.