Pharmacy Technicians: Salary Overview
Pharmacy technicians work in a pharmacy where they help pharmacists dispense medication to customers or health professionals.
A pharmacy technician’s job responsibilities typically include collecting information needed to fill the prescription, measuring the amount of medication, packaging and labeling prescriptions, accepting payment, answering phone calls, and keeping records about patient information.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for this profession was $33,950 in May of 2019 which means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary depending on the technician’s level of experience and education but also depending on the region and the employer.
The bottom 10 percent of all pharmacy technicians earned less than $24,120 per year, while the top 10 percent made more than $49,130 annually.
Pharmacy technicians who are employed by pharmacies that are open full time may also work during nights and weekends, shifts that are better paid.
Pharmacy Technicians by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy technicians held around 422,300 jobs in the United States in 2019, most of them working in pharmacies and drug stores.
Hospitals also hired a significant part of all pharmacy technicians and some pharmacy technicians worked for food and beverage stores.
Pharmacy technicians who worked for health and personal care stores reportedly earned $33,280 per year, on average, while those who worked for general medical and surgical hospitals were remunerated, on average, with $40,020 annually.
The average annual wage was $32,320 for pharmacy technicians in food and beverage stores and $35,290 for those employed by merchant wholesalers.
Pharmacy technicians who worked for electronic shopping and mail-order houses earned $37,100, on average.
The report published by BLS shows that the top-paying field for this profession was the federal executive branch where the average annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $44,920.
Higher-than average salaries were also reported by pharmacy technicians in outpatient care centers who reported wages that averaged at $44,670 annually.
Other fields where workers in this occupation may hold jobs are colleges, universities and professional schools, medical and diagnostic laboratories, and local governments.
In these sectors, the average salaries reported by workers in this profession ranged between $42,000-$44,000.
Salaries for this profession also vary depending on the region of employment and the local economy.
The top-paying states for this profession are California, Alaska, Washington, District of Columbia, and Oregon- where pharmacy technician salaries averaged at more than $42,000 annually.
Pharmacy technicians in Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and West Virginia earned salaries that were between $30,000-$31,000, on average.
Those who worked in Texas, the state with the highest level of employment for this profession, earned $35,620 per year on average.
Besides the industry and the state of employment, there are many other factors that can help a pharmacy technician improve his/her earnings.
For example, although not all states require pharmacy technicians to earn a certification, this is something that may make it easier to get a job and may increase earning prospects.
There are two credentialing institutions for this profession: The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the National Healthcareer Association.
To qualify for certification you need a high school diploma, a diploma from a training program, or at least one year of work experience.
Training programs for this profession are available at many trade schools and technical schools are can typically be complete in one year or less.
In conclusion, the pharmacy technician profession is not very well remunerated but if you have good technical and customer service skills and you’re willing to learn throughout your career you can qualify for a supervisory position that is typically better paid.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Pharmacy Technicians. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.