Build Your Future as a Pharmacy Technician!

NOCE’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate provides the first steps to enter a new career. If you enjoy work with data, are detail-oriented, and enjoy working in a medical field, enroll today!

A pharmacy technician student separating out the number of pills for one prescription.

The NOCE Pharmacy Technician Program is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Become a certified pharmacy technician and prepare to work in a retail or hospital pharmacy.

What You’ll Learn

  • Students who complete the program will learn to:
    • Analyze and transcribe prescriber’s orders into a database
    • Perform common medication calculations
    • Conduct inventory and categorize classes of medication
    • Understand a specific drug’s effect on the human body
    • Communicate well on the phone or in-person with customers or medical staff
    • Complete pharmacy insurance bills and resolve rejected claims
    • Participate in the drug distribution process including preparing incoming prescriptions and/or medication orders, performing prescription refills, and preparing sterile and non-sterile products
  • To be eligible, you must:
    • Students must be 18 years or older
    • Complete an NOCE Admissions Application 
    • Complete an online pharmacy technician orientation at least 24 hours before registering
    • Must purchase and wear a Pharmacy Technician Certificate Program lab coat for all lab classes
    • Recommended: Have basic English language reading, writing, and speaking skills, and/or be at an ESL Intermediate Low level
    • Recommended: Have basic math skills
  • Practical career training:

    The Practical career training courses provided pharmacy technician students with field experience in an out-patient or in-patient pharmacy environment.

    It requires weekly class meetings and completing 130 hours of externship in an out-patient pharmacy or 160 hours of externship in an in-patient pharmacy. If required by the site, students must complete and pass a criminal background check and provide their immunization status. Students may not be accepted by a site if they do not satisfy the site’s placement requirements.

    Criminal convictions related to driving under the influence (drugs or alcohol), possession of illegal drugs or prescription drugs without a prescription, possession or sale of illegal drugs, theft, and multiple arrests may make it difficult for students to secure an externship site.

  • Accreditation information:

    North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE) is proudly accredited by the Accrediting Commission Schools (ACS), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

    The Pharmacy Technician Entry-Level Certificate Program at NOCE is accredited by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

    The Pharmacy Technician Advanced-Level Certificate Program is pending ASHP approval.

  • Additional program information:

Get Started!

NOCE certificate programs can put you on the path for exciting new career opportunities and more earning potential. Get started today!

As a pharmacy technician, you’ll help your retail or hospital-based pharmacy run effectively. This involves preparing medications under the directions of a pharmacist. Technician responsibilities may include receiving new prescriptions and verifying them, maintaining patient profiles, requesting medication refills, typing medication orders into a database, packaging and labeling, managing rejected insurance claims, and maintaining inventory.

Career Highlights and Opportunities

  • English language proficiency – reading, writing, and speaking skills usually at or above an ESL (English as a Second Language) level of Intermediate Low
  • Active listening – ability to listen to others, not interrupt, and ask good questions
  • Math – ability to perform medication calculations
  • Pharmacy Technician (PT)
  • Inventory Specialist
  • Lead Pharmacy Technician
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)
  • Compounding Technician
  • Billing and Quality Technician

Licensing and Pharmacy Technician Certification

  • California Pharmacy Technician Licensing Requirements

    To work as a pharmacy technician in California, you must have a licensed issued by the California State Board of Pharmacy.

    To apply for licensure, you must meet the following requirements:

    • Be at least 18 years old
    • Have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
    • Must be a high school graduate or have a general education development certificate equivalent.
    • Meet the educational requirement by completing ONE of the following:
      • Pharmacy technical program or training course
      • Have a current PTCB certificate or
      • Complete military training DD214
    • Complete a criminal background check.
      • A criminal conviction may not be grounds for denial of licensure. However, some convictions make it difficult to obtain a license and secure employment. These include driving under the influence (drugs or alcohol), possession of illegal drugs or prescription drugs without a prescription, possession or sale of illegal drugs, theft, and multiple arrests. 

    For more detail regarding licensing requirements visit the California State Board of Pharmacy website.

  • Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

    The CPhT certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) allows individuals to build their professionals credentials and pursue more opportunities for career advancement by becoming a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

    To be eligible for the  CPhT credential you must  pass the Pharmacy Technician Certificate Exam (PTCE) and complete one of the two pathways:

    Pathway 1: A PTCB-Recognized Education/Training Program (or completion within 60 days). The Pharmacy Technician Entry-Level Program at NOCE is a PTCB recognized education/training program.

    Pathway 2: Equivalent work experience as a pharmacy technician (min. 500 hours). This alternative secondary path serves experienced technicians who were not in a position to attend a PTCB-recognized program. PTCB accepts work experience across pharmacy practice settings that pertains to certain knowledge requirements.

    Additional Eligibility Requirements for the PTCB CPht Certification

    • Reside in the United States of America or its territories (US)
    • Full disclosure of all criminal and State Board of Pharmacy registration or licensure actions
    • Compliance with all applicable PTCB Certification policies

    Students can prepare for the certification exam by completing the optional program elective PTEC 310: Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam Review.

    For more information regarding the CPhT credential, including exam fees and recertification requirements visit the PTCB website.

    Pass Rate for PTCB, Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam from 2020-2022

    • North Orange Continuing Education (NOCE) Pass Rate: 82%
    • National Average Pass Rate: 71%

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do I receive when finished and how long does it take?

    Students who complete the Pharmacy Technician program receive a certificate. Students may earn either the Pharmacy Technician Registration Certificate or the Pharmacy Technician (ASHP Accredited) Certificate by completing two additional externship courses. The program can be completed in as little as 10-18 months.    

  • How much does it cost?

    The Pharmacy Technician courses are tuition-free. However, students are responsible for covering the cost of textbooks, lab coat, course supplies, and a parking pass.

  • What are the jobs and how much do they pay in California?

    Career opportunities include pharmacy technician (PT), inventory specialist, lead pharmacy technician, certified pharmacy technician (CPhT), compounding technician, and billing and quality technician.

    • Number of jobs in 2018: 3,523
    • 2018-28 projected job growth: 10%
    • Entry-level pay in 2018: $29,078/annually, $13.98/hour
    • Median pay in 2018: $35,069/annually, $16.86/hour

    Note: Salary and employment outlook is for Orange County, CA, and will vary depending on skill, experience, employer, and geographic location.  

  • Can I work as a Pharmacy Technician with a criminal background?

    To work as a pharmacy technician in California, you must have a licensed issued by the California State Board of Pharmacy.

    A criminal conviction may not be grounds for denial of licensure. However, some convictions make it difficult to obtain a license and secure employment. These include driving under the influence (drugs or alcohol), possession of illegal drugs or prescription drugs without a prescription, possession or sale of illegal drugs, theft, and multiple arrests. 

    For more detail regarding licensing requirements visit the California State Board of Pharmacy website.

Headshot of Irene De La Rosa
As a single mother, I enrolled in the Pharmacy Technician Program to seek better opportunities for myself and my family. To gain hands-on experience, I enrolled in the externship class and applied for my license. I am grateful for this chance to have a medical career. Irene De La Rosa
CTE Program Graduate – Pharmacy Technician