– As of 2020, there was an estimate of 419,300 employed pharmacy technicians.
– More than 210,520 pharmacy technicians are employed in health and personal care stores.
– The state of California has the highest rate of employed pharmacy technicians at 376,100.
Have you decided that you want to become a pharmacy technician?
If so, you’re probably wondering what kind of salary and benefits you’ll be getting as well as the hours you might be working and what kind of work environments you can work in.
Being a pharmacy tech means that you will be working with people from all backgrounds both in person and over the phone. You’ll also be able to work in a variety of environments and may even have different work hours. Many pharmacy technicians work in pharmacies or drug stores and most work a full-time schedule. There are some pharmacies that are open 24 hours per day which means that some techs may have to work nights and weekends.
What Does a Pharmacy Tech Do?
Pharmacy techs are usually supervised by licensed pharmacists and are responsible for assisting the pharmacist in preparing and dispensing prescription drugs to patients. In some states, pharmacy technicians can compound some medications as well as call the patient’s physician for authorizations on prescription refills. You’ll act as a liaison between the public and the pharmacist.
As a pharmacy technician, you’ll also have more responsibilities that can include:
• Package and label prescriptions
• Supply medications to patients
• Measure medications, count pills and assemble the medications for prescriptions
• Set up consultations and recommendations for patients with the pharmacist
• Run registers and accept payments
• Organize and stock inventory
• Collect information from the patient such as insurance information
• Answer phone calls from patients
Where Can a Pharmacy Tech Work?
As a pharmacy tech, you’ll be able to work in a variety of environments. About 70% of pharmacy techs work in retail pharmacies and drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS or even in mass retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target. Working in retail pharmacies allows you to have flexible work hours but may also require you to work weekends. Some retail pharmacies are open 24 hours which may mean that you will be required to work nights.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Being a pharmacy technician means that there will be a lot of knowledge that you’ll need to learn such as pharmacy law, record keeping and also the names and uses of various medications. Because there is so much information that you’ll need to know to be successful in your career, you’ll need to go through training.
Pharmacy Technician Requirements
Here’s the education and training that you’ll need to become a pharmacy tech:
• You’ll need to have a high school diploma or a GED
• Complete a Pharmacy Technician Program
Although there is no formal education needed to become a pharmacy tech, it’s always in your best interest to complete a pharmacy tech program. Many employers prefer applicants that have gone through and completed a pharmacy technician program over applicants that have not completed one.
• Become certified.
Not all states require pharmacy technicians to be certified, but many employers prefer that they are. One of the main national certifications is the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the PTCB. To find out if your state requires you to become certified, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy to see if you need to be certified.
• Maintain an active certification
Your pharmacy technician certification from PTCB must be renewed every two years which also requires the completion of 20 continuing education units (CE).
In your pharmacy technician program, and once you take your PTCB exam, you will cover topics including:
• Pharmacology Law
• Medication Safety
• Pharmacy Quality Assurance
• Billing and Reimbursement
• Information Systems Application
• Order Entry and the Fill Process
• Sterile and non-sterile compounding
Pharmacy Technician Salary – How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?
If you’ve decided to become a pharmacy technician, you’re probably wondering how much you will make or what is a pharmacy tech salary.
According to BLS.gov, as of 2020, a certified pharmacy technician makes a median income of $35,100 per year, which comes out to be $16.87 per hour. The lowest 10% of pharmacy technicians make $25,400 per year or $12.21 per hour. The highest 10% of pharmacy technicians make $50,430 per year or $24.25 per hour. The top-paying industry for a pharmacy technician is in the Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation) with an annual wage of $47,690.
What is the Job Growth for a Pharmacy Technician?
According to BLS.gov, the job growth for a pharmacy technician will grow 4% through 2030, which is slower than the average growth for all occupations.
Pharmacy Technician Pay – Pharmacy Technician Employment and Wages
The total employment for pharmacy technicians across the United States is 419,300. The average hourly wage is $17.52 making the average annual wage $36,450.
Average Hourly Wage: $12.21
Average Annual Wage: $25,400
Average Hourly Wage: $13.99
Average Annual Wage: $29,090
Average Hourly Wage: $16.87
Average Annual Wage: $35,100
Average Hourly Wage: $20.03
Average Annual Wage: $41,660
Average Hourly Wage: $24.25
Average Annual Wage: $50,430
Areas With the Highest Pharmacy Technician Employment
Health and Personal Care Stores
210,520 total pharmacy technicians employed with 21.80% of employment in the industry.
Average annual wage of $34,420 with an average hourly wage of $16.55.
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
66,240 total pharmacy technicians employed with 1.18% of employment in the industry.
Average annual wage of $41,180 with an average hourly wage of $19.80.
Food and Beverage Stores
41,960 total pharmacy technicians employed with 1.44% of employment in the industry.
Average annual wage of $33,000 with an average hourly wage of $15.87.
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses
8,690 total pharmacy technicians employed with 2.11% of employment in the industry
Average annual wage of $38,120 with an average hourly wage of $18.33.
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
14,260 total pharmacy technicians employed with 3.80% of employment in the industry.
Average annual wage of $37,410 with an average hourly wage of $17.99.
Top Paying Areas for Pharmacy Technicians
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)
6,560 / 0.32% total employment
Average annual wage of $47,690 with a $22.93 hourly wage
Outpatient Care Centers
6,650 / 0.69% total employment
Average annual wage of $49,690 with a $23.89 hourly wage
Local Government, excluding schools/hospitals
1,350 / 0.02% total employment
Average annual wage of $43,730 with a $21.02 hourly wage
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
160 / 0.06% total employment
Average annual wage of $43,960 with a $21.14 hourly wage
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
1,590 / 0.05% total employment
Average annual wage of $43,990 with a $21.15 hourly wage
States With Highest Pharmacy Technician Employment
36,100 / 2.20% total employment
Average annual wage $47,620 / $22.89 hourly wage
610 / 2.08% total employment
Average annual wage $46,430 / $22.32 hourly wage
7,740 / 2.42% total employment
Average annual wage $46,400 / $22.31 hourly wage
660 / 0.97% total employment
Average annual wage $46,240 / $22.23 hourly wage
5,020 / 2.78% total employment
Average annual wage $43,410 / $20.87 hourly wage