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Training Options

SAC offers three training options for pharmacy technicians. All three options prepare you to become licensed by the California State Board of Pharmacy. Flexible scheduling allows you to complete the program quickly - or to extend the program by taking just one class at a time. 
Pharmacy Technology certificate classes are designed for part-time students.  You can choose from daytime or evening classes.  Hybrid and weekend classes may also be offered.   (Check the current Schedule of Classes for specific course availability. Every course cannot be offered at all times every semester.)
To complete the program quickly, first semester students should enroll in PHAR 048, PHAR 054, and either PHAR 051 or PHAR 052.  In the PHAR 048 class, you will prepare a Program Planning Worksheet to schedule the remaining classes.  In the lab classes, you will prepare a Program Planning Worksheet Follow Up to ensure your goals are achieved.
Santa Ana College also offers classes which will prepare you for admission to a school of pharmacy. These classes, however, are not part of the Pharmacy Technology curriculum.  
Consult the Course Descriptions for information on the Pharmacy Technology courses, including required prerequisites.  The PDF version of the SAC catalog, which contains the policies and descriptions for all SAC courses, is also available.
NOTE:  The information listed below became effective with the 2007-08 academic year and applies to new students.  Students who began the program under a previous catalog may qualify to complete the SAC 0595 certificate program under the prior requirements.  Contact the Graduation Office for assistance. 

Option 1: Basic Certificate 

This option can be completed in as little as two semesters of part-time study, PLUS the outpatient externship rotation.
Completion time will depend on how students schedule their coursework. Students beginning in the Fall semester must be able to take PHAR 056 during the daytime in the Spring to complete the Basic Certificate in two semesters.  Students beginning in the Spring semester must be able to take PHAR 056 during the evening in the Fall to complete the Basic Certificate in two semesters.
  • PHAR 048:  Introduction to Pharmacy Technology
  • PHAR 051:  Body Systems I
  • PHAR 052:  Body Systems II
  • PHAR 054:  Pharmacy Calculations 
  • PHAR 056:  Pharmacy Operations
  • PHAR 072:  Externship (80 hour outpatient rotation)


This option provides the minimum training needed to apply for your Board of Pharmacy license. This option, which includes 20 units of coursework, primarily prepares you for drug store employment.  It does not provide adequate training for jobs in hospitals or home infusion pharmacies.  

Option 2: Advanced (ASHP-Accredited) Certificate (

This option is usually completed in three or four semesters of part-time study, plus 240 additional hours of externship.
This option provides the complete training required by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Students who complete this option will be ready for employment in any pharmacy practice site!  Students are strongly encouraged to continue with the Advanced Certificate courses after completing the Basic Certificate option.
The Advanced Certificate involves 32 units of coursework, including lecture, lab, and additional experiential training (externship). 



The required courses for the Advanced Certificate include all of the Basic Certificate courses, plus:
PHAR 057: Inpatient Pharmacy Services
PHAR 060: Sterile Products
PHAR 072: Externship (Inpatient & Sterile Products rotations: 120 hours each)
Externship is done in local pharmacies, with some flexibility in scheduling to meet individual student’s needs.  Weekday/ daytime hours are generally required for the inpatient and sterile products rotations.

Option 3: Associate Degree (

Students complete the same units of coursework listed in in the Advanced Certificate, plus community college General Education requirements. This option can be completed in four semesters of full-time study, including time for externship. This option is also ASHP-accredited.


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: