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Requirements for Becoming a Pharmacy Technician in California

Updated on November 17, 2010

Thinking about getting into the medical field? One of the fastest fields is becoming a Pharmacy Technician.

Each State has their own requirements and it can get confusing. In California, for a basic license, one must complete a PT course (either online or school), be a HS graduate, submit their fingerprints and an application fee of $80. They must also complete a 80 hour internship at retail or hospital pharmacies.

To get an advanced license, the same applies but one must complete a 320 hr internship.

The basic license allows one to work in retail pharmacies like Walgreens, Rite-Aid etc. They earn from $12-15 hr. The advanced license allows the PT to work in mostly hospitals where higher skills are needed for compounding and sterile applications etc. They start at $15-18 hr.

PTs with experience seldom make more than $25 hr.

To have a better chance of getting a job more quickly, a PT can become certified by taking ans passing the PTCB national exam BUT this is NOT required in California to get your PT license. Many employers like seeing this completed.

Now, there are also Pharmacy Clerks, which require no specific education or license. The problem is that many retail pharmacies use PTs for that. Odds are, it is PT that also is at the cash register, used to fill stock supplies, label etc. 

The pharmacist-pharmacy technician relationship is exactly like an attorney-paralegal one. The pharmacist usually will do compounding, sterile applications, talk to customers about prescriptions etc., leaving the more simple, easy tasks to a PT because it is a nuisance to the pharmacist. PTs are usually not trusted enough to do more complicated facets of the job and everything a PT does the pharmacist will verify as correct, just like an attorney with a paralegal.

Only when the PT has proven themselves will the pharmacist begin to delegate complicated duties to a PT, even so, the PTs work will be reviewed.

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