Pharmacy Technician Salary
Pharmacy technicians have careers that involve patient interaction, pharmaceutical knowledge, and administrative acumen.
They perform tasks that cross over administrative, computer software and customer service lines, and the career field has plenty of opportunities available for those with a certificate or degree and some clinical experience. As such, salaries for pharmacy technicians have potential, just like the career field itself. On top of salary, many techs receive additional employer benefits in terms of future education, healthcare and support in securing professional certifications.
Salary and Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook says the median annual salary for full-time pharmacy techs is $30,920, though the top 10 percent in the field earned more than $45,710.
Top 10 percent generally refers to workers who have a number of years’ experience and have earned a degree and professional certification from accredited agencies or associations. Location may also play a factor in higher salaries, with metropolitan areas paying better than small towns or rural areas.
The profession is also on the rise, according to the BLS. The field has an anticipated growth rate of 12 percent through 2026. When you consider the national average for all occupations’ growth is less than this, you can see there is potential in pursuing a pharmacy technician career and finding work.
The total number of jobs expected to be added nationally is 34,700 for the same time period. This growth rate is attributed to the increasing demand for pharmaceuticals by older populations. Not only do the pharmaceutical companies continue bringing newer drugs to market, but the overall demand is increasing due to the fact that WWII’s baby boom generation is nearing or passing retirement age and will be experiencing age-related illnesses that require medication.
Here are the BLS top states and cities for employment of pharmacy technicians, and what their mean annual wage is.
States with the highest mean annual wage
|State||Mean Annual Wage|
Highest paying mean annual wage cities for pharmacy technicians
|City||Mean Annual Wage|
|San Francisco, CA||$52,390|
|San Rafael, CA||$49,450|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$48,480|
|San Jose, CA||$48,480|
Where do Pharmacy Techs Work and Who Pays Best?
Pharmacy technicians work in many different environments. Here is a look at some of the most common:
Big-Box Stores: Stores such as Costco offer pharmaceutical services to their customers. Costco, in particular, does a large volume of pharmaceutical business due to its price incentives. Pharmacy techs can also find work in mass-merchandising chains such as Walmart, Kmart, Target and Sam’s Club.
Grocery Stores: In response to the growing demand for prescriptions and ease of access by consumers, grocery stores have started housing their own pharmacy departments. Since nearly everyone needs to grocery shop, having a pharmacy on site to fill prescriptions while purchasing groceries is convenient and simple.
Pharmacy Chains: The nation is dotted with large pharmacy chains such as Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid and CVS, all of which need pharmacy technicians. When techs start a career with one of these large companies, they may find job stability. Often, workers are able to transfer to larger markets where their responsibilities and salaries are able to rise as well.
Regional Pharmacies: Even in the age of nationwide pharmacy chains, small pharmacies are still found. Smaller, regional chains are not unheard of, such as Bartell Drugs in the Puget Sound area of Washington state, or Boone Drugs, located in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Mail-Order Pharmacies: Pharmacy technicians in this environment have little, if any, interaction with patients, but serve a vital role for those who may not be as ambulatory as others. In fact, the online pharmacy business is booming because of its ecommerce convenience.
Hospitals: Every hospital must have a full-service pharmacy on-site to provide its healthcare providers with the medicines they need. The pharmaceutical techs who work in this sort of environment must often know how to compound drugs to help out patients with special or critical needs. The technicians in hospitals or long-term care facilities need to work directly with nurses or doctors, so may be required to have more education in basic health subjects and specialized pharmacy science subjects such as compounding.
Travel/Contract Jobs: Some pharmacy technicians are able to travel to different towns and states to assist customers who may live in rural areas or not have access to pharmacies. This sort of work exposes techs to a wide range of working environments, in addition to the opportunity to explore cities and towns as a full-time, if temporary, resident.
You’ve learned all about pharmacy technician work environments, but where do pharmacy techs earn the best salary?
Take a look at median annual wages in the top industries in which pharmacy technicians work:
|Industry||Median Annual Wage|
|Big Box Stores||$30,530|
|Pharmacy or Drug Stores||$28,700|
What You’ll Learn in Pharmacy Technician School
Sometimes pharmacy technicians enter the field with only a high school diploma and then learn the profession on the job. But this is fast becoming old school thinking. More and more, entry-level pharmacy technicians are pursuing specialized education to learn the trade before starting work.
By taking specialized pharmacy science classes they’ll learn subjects they’ll need to know on the job, such as the following:
Why Not Get Started Today?
If you think you’d like to pursue a career as a pharmacy tech, talk with pharmacy professionals in your area to see what sort of opportunities are available. In particular, see what education they pursued and what they might recommend in order to enter the field.
Since most states require regulation for their pharmacy technicians, see if your future employer will help pay fees for the certification exam. Whether they contribute or not you should earn the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board national professional credential. Once you’ve earned this designation, you’ll be respected by peers and understood to be serious about your profession and ethical values.
The field for pharmacy technicians continues to widen as the economy creates more and more demand for the role. If you are seeking a new career, or are just starting out, and have an interest in pharmacy science and helping people, you may want to consider getting an education as a pharmacy technician.
With career outlook looking good, the time to get started is now. Browse accredited pharmacy technician programs today and we’ll connect you with school who can help put you on your career path.
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