How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make?
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Get the details on pharmacy technician pay and why the role is ideal for high school grads who want to start their healthcare careers.
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Pharmacy technicians are crucial to healthcare, helping patients access the prescription medication they need. This salary guide explores pharmacy technician pay, including where techs can earn the most and how they can increase their salary and job prospects.
Pharmacy technicians work with pharmacists to prepare medication and provide customer service and administrative support.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field, refer to this guide to learn more about the role and what you can expect.
Average Salary for Pharmacy Technicians
Although some employers require or prefer pharmacy technicians hold certification showing they completed an approved pharmacy technician training program, you can get a pharmacy tech job with only a high school diploma.
You do not need an advanced degree to be a pharmacy tech, which means a pharmacy tech average salary is lower than other healthcare jobs. Techs with additional experience, education, or specialization can potentially earn more.
The work environment can also influence earning potential. Pharmacy technician pay in hospitals averages about $4,000 more per year than in retail stores.
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The Highest-Paying States for Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technician pay varies by state. California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia are the top-ranked states for pharmacy technician salaries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Pharmacy techs in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey, also earn competitive salaries. The lowest pharmacy technician salaries are in the South and Midwest.
Factors like demand and cost of living influence pharmacy technician salaries. California, for instance, has one of the highest costs of living in the U.S. Southern states are often more affordable to live in.
The states with the highest annual pay for pharmacy technicians are:
|District of Columbia||$45,030|
4 Ways to Increase Pay As a Pharmacy Technician
Many people become pharmacy technicians as a stepping stone to higher-paying jobs in healthcare. Pharmacy technician pay varies based on employer and job description. Additional certifications, education, and experience can increase earning potential.
Earning the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential indicates to employers that you have competency in effective patient care and medication safety.
Candidates must complete a Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)-approved training and education program, and pass a rigorous exam to earn the certification.
Ongoing continuing education is necessary to maintain certification, which assures employers that you are up-to-date on pharmacy law, patient care, and other best practices.
Experienced pharmacy technicians with additional education and training often are promoted into supervisory positions. These roles require leadership skills and often involve training staff, setting department goals, overseeing regulatory compliance, and administrative functions like setting schedules.
Pharmacy technicians work in various settings, including retail and hospital pharmacies, specialty clinics, research labs, and more. Some of these settings require technicians with specialized skills like preparing chemotherapy drugs or compounding (preparing custom medication). Training in one of these specialty areas can make you eligible for higher-paying roles.
Pharmacy technicians with specialized skills like administering vaccines, using automated dispensing machines, and updating medical records can also earn higher wages.
Becoming certified as an intravenous (IV) technician can also increase earnings. This role requires training in sterilization and safe handling, IV delivery methods, and IV flow maintenance.
The National Pharmacy Technician Association offers IV and other certifications that may increase pharmacy technician pay.
Working as a pharmacy technician offers real-world experience for those who wish to become pharmacists. The BLS reports that pharmacists earn a median annual salary of $128,500.
Pharmacists must hold a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) degree, which takes around 4-6 years to complete. Some pharmacists also complete a postgraduate residency for specialized training. Pharmacists must pass two exams for licensure.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacy Technician Salaries
Where do pharmacy technicians work?
Most pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies, drugstores, supermarkets, and stores like Walmart or Target. They also work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
Are pharmacy technicians in high demand?
The BLS reports a slower than average projected growth for pharmacy technicians, at 4% growth in the occupation between 2020 and 2030. However, BLS projects more than 30,000 job openings due to turnover from retirements and techs moving into different positions.
Do pharmacy technicians make good money?
Pharmacy technicians earn an average annual salary of $38,870, slightly less than the overall average income for Americans as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau ($41,535.) However, pharmacy technician is considered an entry-level position and does not require an advanced degree.
What is the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist?
Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medication to patients. In addition to measuring, packaging, and labeling medication, they handle customer service tasks like collecting patient and prescription information, processing insurance claims, and arranging for patients to meet with the pharmacist. Pharmacists are in charge of dispensing medication and educating patients and providers in safe medication usage.
Page Last Reviewed: August 3, 2022
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