How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?

How much does a pharmacy technician make? It depends on a number of factors, including experience, location, and employer. We’ve compiled data from across the web to help you answer this question.

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Introduction

How much does a pharmacy technician make? This is a question that is often asked by those considering a career in this field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $32,700 in May 2016.1 The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,370, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,590.1

Pay for pharmacy technicians varies based on experience, location, and employer. For example, pharmacy technicians who work in hospitals typically earn more than those who work in retail pharmacies.2

The best way to learn about salary expectations is to speak with people who are currently working as pharmacy technicians. They can provide insights into the job market and average salaries in your area.

The Role of a Pharmacy Technician

A pharmacy technician is a member of the healthcare team who works closely with pharmacists to provide safe and effective medication to patients. Pharmacy technicians typically have an associate’s degree or certification from a vocational school, and most states require certification.

The duties of a pharmacy technician include filling prescriptions, verifying insurance coverage, answering customer questions, and maintaining records. Pharmacy technicians also prepare bulk medications, pack and ship orders, and perform other administrative tasks.

The median annual salary for pharmacy technicians is $32,700. The top 10% of earners make more than $45,360, and the bottom 10% make less than $24,560. Salaries vary by state and employer, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the highest-paying industries for pharmacy technicians are general medical and surgical hospitals and grocery stores.

The Training Required to Become a Pharmacy Technician

In order to become a pharmacy technician, one must complete an accredited training program. These programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools, and through online education providers. Many pharmacy technicians elect to pursue certification through organizations such as the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the National Healthcare Association. Although certification is not required in all states, it may give individuals a competitive edge when seeking employment.

Most pharmacy technician training programs take between six and eight months to complete, and require both classroom and laboratory instruction. Students in these programs learn about topics such as pharmacology, medical ethics, customer service, and record keeping. Once they have completed their training, pharmacy technicians must pass a national certification exam in order to become licensed or registered in their state of residence.

The Certification Required to Become a Pharmacy Technician

The certification required to become a pharmacy technician is called the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). The PTCE is administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). To be eligible to sit for the PTCE, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must have completed a pharmacy technician training program or have at least one year of work experience as a pharmacy technician. Candidates must also pass a criminal background check.

Once candidates have passed the PTCE, they will be awarded the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) credential. CPhT credential holders are required to recertify every two years by passing the PTCB’s Recertification Exam or completing 20 contact hours of continuing education.

The Salary of a Pharmacy Technician

The median annual salary for pharmacy technicians was $32,710 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 This means that half of all pharmacy technicians earned less than this amount and half earned more. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,560, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,780.1

Hourly wages for pharmacy technicians ranged from $10.27 to $23.15 in 2016.1 The median hourly wage was $15.74.

About three out of four pharmacy technicians worked in pharmacies and drug stores in 2016.1 Other common employers include grocery stores, department stores, hospitals, and clinics.

The Job Outlook for Pharmacy Technicians

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is expected to be very good. The number of jobs for pharmacy technicians is expected to grow by 32% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

As the population continues to age, there will be an increasing need for medications and other health-care products and services. Pharmacy technicians will be needed to help pharmacists dispense prescribed medications and provide other pharmaceutical services to patients.

In addition, as more pharmacies open, more pharmacy technicians will be needed. Some pharmacies are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which may require pharmacy technicians to work evenings or weekends. Some employers also require pharmacy technicians to work overtime on a regular basis.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician

There are many different types of pharmacy technicians, and their salaries can vary depending on their experience, education, and geographic location. The lowest 10 percent of pharmacy technicians earned less than $28,470 per year, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,350 per year. The median annual salary for all pharmacy technicians was $33,950 in May 2017.

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is positive. Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. An aging population and a rise in the number of people with chronic conditions (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) are expected to lead to increased demand for prescription medications.

Conclusion

After completing an accredited pharmacy technician program and passing a national certification exam, most pharmacy technicians earn a median annual salary of $32,000. However, earnings may range from $28,000 at the low end to $37,000 at the high end, depending on such factors as geographic location, employer type (i.e. hospital vs. retail pharmacy), and years of experience.

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