Pharmacy Technician Salary

Pharmacy technicians are in demand. Here’s what you can expect to earn.

two pharmacy workers

If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician, you’re choosing a career that is in high demand.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the career growth is expected to be “much faster than average”, with an employment increase of 32% predicted in the decade spanning 2010 to 2020*.  Pharmacy technician pay is rising steadily, due in part to the increased demand in the workplace.

The pharmacy technician salary** depends on a number of factors, from the area and type of employer, to your educational background.   Browse pharmacy tech pay for a comparison between similar careers, geographic location, educational and certification requirements, and more.

Low Median High
Pharmacy Tech $20,580 $29,320 $42,400

Factors Determining Pharmacy Tech Pay

As with most professions, there are several different factors that can go in to determining the salary that a profession will pay.

Education and Training The successful completion of a pharmacy technician program is key to helping you find employment and giving you negotiating power in terms of salary. Most employers will offer on the job training to any new hire, but an experienced, trained pharmacy tech will typically be offered a higher starting pay than someone with little or no training.
Industry The industry that you work in plays a significant role in the salary you can expect to earn.  The majority of pharmacy techs work in drug stores and hospitals, where the average annual salary was $28,940 and $34,410, respectively**.  However, a higher salary can be had if you can find employment with outpatient care centers or physicians’ offices, where the annual pay is in the $37,000-$39,000 range. Here’s how the top employers pay:

  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: $34,410
  • Outpatient Care Centers: $38,750
  • Offices of Physicians: $37,040
  • Colleges and Universities: $36,960
  • Drug Wholesalers: $32,030
Certification and Licensure While not all employers will require their pharmacy techs to be certified, many will, and being able to present that certification to a prospective employer may make it possible to ask for a higher starting salary. Some employers will even pay for the certification exam. The primary organizations that offer certification for PhT’s are the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).  Most states require licensure, and that information can be find on your state’s Board of Health or Pharmacy website.

Pharmacy Tech Salary Comparisons:

Table #2 compares average annual salaries between a pharmacy tech and other similar careers.

Low Median High
Pharmacy Tech** $20,580 $29,320 $42,400
Medical Assistants⋅ $21,080 $29,370 $41,570
Med Bill/Coding∞ $22,250 $34,160 $56,200
Med Transcrip∼ $22,400 $34,020 $47,250
Cardio Tech∴ $27,830 $51,070 $80,790

Geographic Location

As you can see in the table below, the state you work in can directly affect how much you earn each year. According to the BLS, pharmacy techs that work in the District of Columbia earn the most, with an average annual salary of just over $40,000 per year, followed closely by Washington, Alaska, California, and Hawaii.

Working in a major metropolitan area rather than rural also affects income. While California ranks 4th in the nation, it has the top 10 highest paying metropolitan areas in the country. Here are how the top 5 states compare:

District of Columbia $40,560
Washington $39,630
Alaska $39,520
California $39,150
Hawaii $36,960

Experience

As with most jobs, more experience often translates into higher pay. A pharmacy tech recently out of school or a training program will typically start at an entry-level salary, which is about $20,000 per year. If you can demonstrate a positive work ethic, a willingness to learn, and a hard-working attitude, you may be able to increase your salary even before you’ve put in a lot of time with your employer.

Experience in your position may also lead you into supervisory roles, especially if you work in a larger pharmacy. This type of upward movement generally leads to higher compensation.

Reference & Data Information Provided by the Following:

  • *Job Growth Data Provided by: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
  • * Salary Data Provided by http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292052.htm
  • ⋅ http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319092.htm
  • ∞http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292071.htm
  • ∼http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes319094.htm
  • ∴http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292031.htm
 
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