In this program, you will learn how to prepare prescription medications in the classroom, in a pharmacy skills lab, and as part of a 160-hour externship placement at a local pharmacy. Students that complete the program will receive certification to work as pharmacy technicians in the state of California. During the program, students will also take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) CPhT exam to receive national certification. Click on the Program Guide button for the current fees, schedule, and requirements.



By partnering with PioneerRx Pharmacy Software, our program allows students to learn in a real-world environment using the most installed software for independent pharmacies.  Students enhance their clinical and functional skills by training in a pharmacy system that is innovative, robust, and feature-rich. 

Learning Outcomes

What certification will I receive after completing the program?
The Pharmacy Technician program is recognized by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and meets all requirements for completers to qualify to become certified in California and take the PTCB exam to be nationally certified.
What will I learn in this program?
This course provides entry-level training for employment as a Pharmacy Technician in retail or chain pharmacies, clinics, home health care or hospital pharmacies. Pharmacy Technicians help licensed pharmacists provide medication and other healthcare products to patients.
Through a combination of classroom and clinical experiences, students will: 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the pharmacy’s purpose and services;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of workplace safety;
  • Demonstrate understanding of the roles and responsibilities of pharmacy personnel;
  • Understand the importance of continuing education for lifelong learning;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of national/California pharmacy laws;
  • Demonstrate understanding of pharmacy ethics and confidentiality;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of hospital and retail pharmacy operations;
  • Demonstrate understanding of responsibility for preventing medication errors;
  • Demonstrate ability to interpret prescriptions and write labels correctly;
  • Use appropriate communication skills in answering and making phone calls;
  • Accurately take messages and medication requests;
  • Communicate effectively with doctors’ offices;
  • Demonstrate respectful communications and respect for diversity in the workplace; 
  • Demonstrate basic keyboarding and QS1 computer skills;
  • Demonstrate understanding of third party insurance billing;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of symbols, abbreviations, and terminology, including prefixes, suffixes, and root words;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic concepts of pharmacology;
  • Differentiate between the different pharmaceutical preparations and dosage forms;
  • Demonstrate understanding of basic concepts of anatomy and physiology;
  • Demonstrate understanding of body systems as related to medication administration;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of types of medications, including antibiotics, viral and fungal agents, aesthetics, analgesics, narcotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antianxiety, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory agents, hormones, topical medications, vitamins, and alternative supplements;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of chemical drug names, over the counter drugs, and generic and brand names;
  • Demonstrate understanding of aseptic techniques, including hand washing, contamination, flow hoods, and record keeping;
  • Demonstrate ability to use mathematics to measure drugs, read medication labels and syringe calibrations, calculate doses, calculate intravenous solutions and pediatric doses;
  • Differentiate between different routes of drug administration, including oral, parenteral and topical;
  •   Demonstrate appropriate workplace skills and behaviors;
  •   Demonstrate competency in job acquisition skills.


What are the requirements to take this course?
  • Be at least 18 or older
  • Attend a Career Training Orientation
  • Attend First Class day for the pharmacy technician program
  • Proof of required immunizations (list will be provided at registration)
  • Be a high school graduate or equivalent (must have an official sealed copy)
Please check the program guide to for the most current list of requirements.


When is the program offered?
This is a 1-semester course (4-5 months) that is offered twice a year starting in August and January.  The course is Monday-Thursday, 7:30 am - 4:00 pm. Classes are offered with hybrid instruction with 2 days online and 2 days in-person each week. All students will also be eligible to complete a 160-hour internship in a pharmacy at the completion of their coursework.
Please check the program guide to for the most current schedule.


How much does the program cost?
 The program registration fee is $375 and is due in full at the time of registration.  
Are there any additional costs associated with the program?
All students will need to complete an American Heart Association (AHA) approved Basic Life Support course.  We offer the course at the beginning of each semester for $55.  Additional fees that need to be considered may include:
  • Scrubs
  • Textbooks
  • Background check
  • Immunizations
  • State and national certification fees
Is financial aid or tuition assistance available?
As a K-12 adult school we are unable to offer financial aid. We do partner with the San Diego Workforce Partnership, local career centers, and other organizations whenever possible to offer opportunities for fees to be reduced or covered for qualified participants. For more information on what is available for this program, attend an orientation to connect with a transition services specialist.
What is the refund policy?
Students have until the last day of the second week of class to request a refund for the registration fee minus a $25 processing fee.
Prices subject to change.  Please check the program guide to for the most current cost.

Job Outlook

What is the job outlook?
According to the California Economic Development Department, employment opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians are predicted to increase by 14.4% or 5,100 jobs between 2016 and 2026. Explore the links below for more information about the labor market for Nursing Assistants.


Shantowa Nee, CPT
Shantowa Nee has been a Pharmacy Instructor for Health Occupations Center since 2023. She has been a Pharmacy Technician for 22 years and has her California State Board of Pharmacy license and registration and is Certified by the PTCB. Shantowa is an active member in the pharmacy community here in San Diego and is also part of the Pharmacy Technician Educators Council.


Where is training for the program completed?
Skills lab work for the Pharmacy Technician program are performed in our new state of the art training lab located at the Health Occupations Center in Santee.  The lab contains a model pharmacy, 7-8 computer workstations for filling prescriptions, fume hoods, and all of the equipment and supplies needed for students to be well-prepared for employment.

Students that complete the program will be eligible for a 160-hour internship placement at a local pharmacy.
A stocked pharmacy
Bins full of empty pill bottlesEmpty pill bottles ready to get filled

Next Steps

I'm interested!  What are my next steps?
The Pharmacy Technician program accepts students twice a year through the orientation and First Class day process.  Check the Program Guide for the next class start dates. Visit the How to Get Started page now.
Refund Policy
Refunds for this class must be requested by the end of the second week of class.  A $25.00 processing fee will be charged.