Salary of a Pharmacy Technician

The salary of a pharmacy technician depends on many factors and ranges from $20,000 to $42,000 with the average at $30,000 and the median at $29,000. This field can be an entry point to becoming a pharmacist which is a professional career requiring six years of study but commanding a much higher salary. The keys to getting the most income from the pharmacy technician field are to always be seeking more education and looking for new opportunities.

What Affects Salary?

What affects the salary of a pharmacy technician can be narrowed down into five main categories:

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  • Education
  • Experience
  • Certification
  • Type of pharmacy
  • Geographical location

A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement needed to obtain a pharmacy technician job. Those who have an associate’s degree through a two-year pharmacy technician program at a qualified vocational institute tend to have an easier time finding a job and a better paying one at that. The same holds true for these with a one-year certificate from a vocational institute and for those who have achieved certification.

Outpatient pharmacies in hospitals tend to be among the highest paying positions in the field. Those in the middle of the income range typically work in the type of pharmacy found in health care stores, grocery stores, and general merchandise stores.

Certification approved by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is a requirement in many states to be able to work in this field. This credential yields more pay because it represents a technician no longer in training.

The best geographical locations to be a pharmacy technician are in the states of California, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Tampa, and Chicago tend to command higher salaries as well.

How to Increase Your Salary

The factors that affect salary for the pharmacy technician also lead to ways to increase your salary. Thus, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Obtain higher education
  • Seek new experience
  • Obtain certification
  • Seek jobs in different types of pharmacies
  • Study to become a pharmacist
  • Change geographical location

Some pharmacy technicians work in this field having only on-the-job training. This is possible in eight states: Hawaii, Delaware, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Wisconsin. This does not mean that an employer will not require certification.

In these states, it is possible for an employee of a retail outlet to help while the regular technician was out for some reason. Then, the management might decide to keep the helper in the pharmacy even after the regular employee returned. No matter what, you are always wise to seek formal education through a technical or vocational college and then certification.

Then, if you have been working in the type of pharmacy found in retail outlets, you might start applying for a job at a hospital pharmacy. Assisted living and home healthcare positions might even pay more as well.

Working in other types of settings can expose you to new experiences that might make you more marketable. For example, by working in a home healthcare environment, you might learn how to mix drugs for IV units which would be applicable for moving to a hospital environment.

Moving to a higher-paying geographical location is a possibility. Keep in mind however that in many of these places the cost of living is much higher. Plus, the new location may have different certification, schooling, and licensing requirements that end up costing you more to work.

Probably the best path to getting a significant increase in pay is to follow the road to becoming a pharmacist. Your experience as a pharmacy technician will help you while you study for this profession. To be a pharmacist you will probably study for about 6 years in a university.