Sign In
Contact Us



 1.  How do I get started?  What are the pre-requisites for the program?

To enroll in the Pharmacy Technology program, students are not required to take any entrance examinations or complete any prerequisite courses. Fluency in (written and verbal) English and basic Math skills are necessary for successful program completion.

arrow-red-sml.png Complete information on prerequisites

There is no separate admission procedure for the Pharmacy Technology program.  Interested students should first apply for admission to Santa Ana College.  Once their applications have been processed, students will be assigned a registration date.  On their registration date, students can enroll in the individual Pharmacy Technology classes that they wish to take.

Apply for Admission
register for classes

Beginning students should enroll in one or more of the following entry level courses during the first semester:   

      *Either PHAR 051 or PHAR 052 may be taken first

2.  How soon can I start the program?

Students may begin the Pharmacy Technology program in either the Fall semester (late August) or the Spring semester (early February). Hybrid classes (combined on-line and on-campus) are also offered in the Spring and Fall semesters.  Entry-level courses are also offered during the Summer session.   (Note that summer classes cover material very quickly!)

 NOTE: Students with illicit drug(s) use and prior criminal records will not be granted licenses by the California State Board of Pharmacy. These students are discouraged from enrolling in the program.  Please note the following letter from the California Board of Pharmacy dated 2/10/16:

"Dear Pharmacy Technician Training Programs:

The California State Board of Pharmacy (board) requests that you provide prospective students with information regarding criminal history reviews prior to enrolling a student in a Pharmacy Technician training program.

Listed below are types of criminal convictions that may result in the denial of a Pharmacy Technician application. This list is not all-inclusive, but it does provide some of the most frequent violations the board reviews.  Providing this information to prospective students prior to enrollment may help an individual make an educated decision as to whether or not they may have difficulty obtaining a license, and thus a career, as a Pharmacy Technician.  License denials are frequently based on convictions for:

  • Driving Under the Influence (drugs or alcohol)
  • Possession of illegal drugs, or prescription drugs without a prescription 
  • Possession or sale of illegal drugs or prescriptions drugs
  • Theft (identify, fraud, etc.)  
  • Multiple arrests 

There is nothing in pharmacy law that requires the board to deny a license based on a specific conviction.  That is, nothing is automatic.  The board reviews each incident on a case-by-case basis.  Likewise, a determination regarding an applicant's approval for licensure cannot be made prior to the submission of an application.  The board believes that providing prospective students with this information will help them decide whether or not they are likely to obtain a Pharmacy Technician license prior to enrollment in a Pharmacy Technician training program.

Once the board determines that there may be a reason to deny a license, the board will consider evidence of rehabilitation (mitigation) using the following criteria (Title 16, California Code of Regulations section 1769): 

  • The nature and severity of the crime
  • Total criminal record
  • The time that has elapsed since the commission of the act(s) or offense(s)
  • Whether the applicant has complied with all terms and conditions of parole, probation, restitution, or any other requirements or sanctions lawfully imposed against the applicant
  • Additional evidence, if any, submitted by the applicant

The board reviews all available evidence (arrest report, court documents, applicant's explanation, etc.) and makes a determination based on the Board's primary mandate – protection of the public.  An applicant that provides arrest documents, court documents and a written explanation with his or her application will speed the review process.  If those items are not included with an application, the board will generally send a letter to the applicant requesting the missing documents, which increases the review time. 

Please share this information with your prospective and current students.  It is important the Pharmacy Technician training programs are communicating all aspects of the licensure requirements to students about the ability to obtain licensure, so that students can make informed decisions. 


                                                                        California State Board of Pharmacy"

3.  What is the total cost by the time I'm done?

Community college tuition for in-state residents is $46 per unit and is subject to change by the state legislature.  Currently, the tuition cost for the Basic and Advanced Certificate options ranges from $759-$1207.50. 

Complete information about enrollment and costs

4.  Are the courses transferable to another program? Can I transfer other courses to the program?

No. This is a high quality, ASHP–accredited, unique educational program that will prepare the students for the work force using a tiered approach.  Successful completion of the entry-level classes will prepare the students for the lab (application-level) classes, which will then prepare the students for externships at affiliated pharmacies.  With experience and confidence gained from externship, the students are competent to work.

 5.  Do you help students find  jobs at program completion? What are the exam pass rate and job placement rate?

We have a strong network of affiliation with local hospital pharmacies and pharmacy chains.  We frequently post job openings to alert students to various job opportunities.

Additional information on job placement and salary

PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam is a private non-governmental exam that students can take, and use successful results to apply for their licenses. 


Licensure pass rate for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam in 2010 is 88.7%, compared to the national rate of 74.7%. The PTCB (Pharmacy Technician Certification Board) exam pass rate is 94.4% (51/54) for the 2012 academic year. National statistic shows a 76% pass rate.


The department's job rate for the most recent and attainable academic year (Fall 2011, Spring 2012, and Summer 2012) is 78% (25/32). Total graduates of 32 do not include 4 who moved out of state or are international students.  The rate for 2010 was 68%.


All graduates are required to apply for their licenses. Thus, license attainment rate is 100%.

 6.  Do you accept international students?

Yes.  However, fluency in English is essential for successful program completion.  International students should click here for more information.

 7.  How long does it take to complete the program?

Depending on the time commitments (families, work, etc),  the student can choose to take the classes on a part-time or full time basis.  The Basic Certificate can be earned in approximately one year.  If you have limited time available for classes and studying, we suggest you take one class at a time.  Students with limited availability should start the program with PHAR 048: Introduction to Pharmacy Technology and PHAR 054: Pharmacy Calculations.  These two courses are offered back-to-back, in a four-hour segment once each week (twice a week during the summer). 

8. Are classes available in the evening, day time, on-line? 

Daytime and evening classes are available during the Fall and Spring.  Summer classes are offered in the evenings only.  Hybrid classes (combined on-line and on-campus training) are offered during the Fall and the Spring.  Hybrid classes typically meet on campus every other week, using on-line training during the alternate weeks.

Click here for Class Schedule information.  Entry level classes typically meet once a week for 16 weeks during the Fall and Spring semesters.   During the summer, the entry-level classes meet twice each week for eight weeks.

9. What is the time commitment once enrolled in the program?

In general, you should allow a minimum of two hours of out-of-class studying time for each unit of class credit.  Be sure to allow enough study time for the courses you plan to enroll in!

10.  How do I get a license? 

California does NOT have an examination process for pharmacy technicians.  In order to obtain a pharmacy technician license, students must meet the qualification requirements of the California State Board of Pharmacy.  One requirement is the documentation of education or training, which can be met by completing any of the three training options at Santa Ana College. 

More information on the training options
More information on licensing requirements

Certified technicians (CPhT's) are also qualified to apply for the California State Board license. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (not related to the Board of Pharmacy) administers the national board exam for pharmacy technicians who wished to become certified.

More information on the certification process

To ensure the safety of the public (patients),  the  American Society of Health-System Pharmacists strongly recommends BOTH the completion of a formal training program and completion of the certification process for pharmacy technicians.  Note that most employers will only consider candidates who have completed a formal training program.


Also note that the Pharmacy Technology Department holds periodic

PROGRAM INFORMATION MEETINGS for persons interested in attending the program. 

Refer to home page for a list of meeting dates.

Santa Ana College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: