What certification will I receive after completing the program?
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 18 or older
- Attend a mandatory orientation either in person or by Zoom
- 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 (5 months) that is offered twice a year starting in August and January. The course is Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 3:30 pm. 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 for the 21-22 school year is $650 and is due in full at the time of registration.
Are there any additional costs associated with the program?
Yes. 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 average approximately $910 and may include:
- Background check
- PTCB Testing fees
Is financial aid or tuition assistance available?
Tuition assistance may be available to those that qualify through the East County Career Center (ECCC). Contact ECCC
for more information.
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.
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.
Marjorie Archibald, CPT
Marjorie Archibald has been an instructor for the Pharmacy Technician program since 2007. She holds a Designated Subjects Teaching Credential to teach Career Technical Education courses in California. Marjorie worked in the field as a Pharmacy Technician for 15 years.
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.
I'm interested! What are my next steps?
The Pharmacy Technician program accepts students twice a year through an orientation and application process. Check the Program Guide for the next class start date. If you would like to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician click the How to Get Started button or visit the How to Get Started
page for the orientation video and application process.