Pharmacy Technician Salary & Career Outlook

by Amelia Gray | March 11, 2011



Pharmacy technicians work under the supervision of pharmacists to help provide customer service, prepare prescription medicine, and perform administrative tasks in the pharmacy. Because they are responsible for counting tablets and labeling bottles, working as a pharmacy technician requires an organized, precise personality.

Typical Wages for Pharmacy Technicians

Working as a pharmacy technician can mean earning a healthy salary. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual pharmacy technician salary in 2009 was $28,070, but individuals in specialized fields may be able to earn significantly more:

  • Federal executive branch: $39,040
  • Scientific research and development services: $38,870
  • Insurance carriers: $37,610
  • Management of companies and enterprises: $36,470
  • Specialty (except psychiatric and substance abuse) hospitals: $35,470

Salary.com reports that in 2010, pharmacy technicians with up to four years of experience earned median salaries of $32,011. That same year, technicians with four or more years of experience earned $37,201, and pharmacy technician supervisors earned $46,953.

About 75 percent of pharmacy technician jobs are in a retail setting, the BLS reports, and many technicians work part-time. GlassDoor.com reports average hourly salaries for different pharmacy technicians in 2010 based on experience and training:

  • Pharmacy Technician: $9.62/hr
  • Pharmacy Technician CPhT: $10.86/hr
  • PTCB Pharmacy Technician: $11.57/hr
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician: $11.74/hr
  • Senior Pharmacy Technician: $14.04/hr

California dominates the list of cities where pharmacy technicians earn the highest wages. Take a look at the metropolitan areas with the highest annual mean wages in 2009, according to the BLS:

  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA: $43,500
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $42,260
  • Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA: $41,220
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA: $40,430
  • Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA: $40,330

Though ACCRA reports that cost of living in the Oakland area was 36 percent higher than the national average in 2006, it nevertheless has the lowest cost of living of all the locations above, making it a potentially livable location for pharmacy technicians. The BLS reports that states with top-paying pharmacy technician salary 2009 figures include Alaska ($37,090), California ($36,670), Washington ($36,670), Hawaii ($35,130), and Nevada ($33,960).

    Explore Pharmacy Technician Training Online

    Looking for training that gives you freedom and flexibility? Check out options for pharmacy technician training online. Logging on to complete your coursework gives you the power to travel, keep family commitments, and even maintain a part-time or full-time job while you study to become a pharmacy technician.

    Training programs for pharmacy technicians can range from six months to two years. Coursework includes pharmaceutical calculations, terminology, recordkeeping, techniques, pharmacy law, and ethics.

    Pharmacy Technician Career Outlook

    An employment boom is expected for pharmacy technicians in the U.S., thanks in part to insurers shifting the role of the pharmacist to deal more with patient care and granting technicians an expanded role. According to the BLS, a projected 99,800 new jobs are expected to enter the workforce for pharmacy technicians between 2008 and 2018, resulting in a growth of 31 percent.

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