How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make a Year?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · January 25, 2024 · 8 minute read

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How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make a Year?

Looking for a career in the medical field without having to commit to years of higher education? You might consider working as a pharmacy technician, also known as a pharmacy tech.

A ​​pharmacy technician works closely with a pharmacist to ensure the health and safety of their patients. They locate, dispense, pack, and label a prescribed medication for a patient that is then reviewed for accuracy by a pharmacist. They also help with administrative tasks like processing insurance claims, tracking inventory, and filing paperwork.

The question is, how much does a pharmacy technician make? Pay can vary widely depending on location, workplace, and level of experience, but the average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in the U.S. as of January 5, 2024 is $40,074, according to ZipRecruter.

To better understand what it takes to become a pharmacy technician and how much they can earn, keep reading.

What Are Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians play an essential role in the functioning of every pharmacy. They often work side by side with pharmacists and perform similar duties, such as filling prescriptions, talking with patients and doctors, and keeping pharmacies orderly and up to safety standards. However, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have different educational backgrounds, job responsibilities, and salaries.

Legally, pharmacy technicians can fill patient prescriptions, provided they are reviewed by a pharmacist before they are given out. Pharmacy technicians cannot, however, recommend medications to patients, including over-the-counter medications and supplements.

Pharmacy technicians typically work in retail stores, hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Their responsibilities may include:

•   Entering patient information and prescriptions into a computer system

•   Talking to pharmacy customers on the phone and in person

•   Managing pharmacy inventory

•   Preparing medications for pharmacists by reading orders, preparing labels, and calculating the appropriate quantities

•   Processing patients’ insurance and serving as a liaison between the pharmacy and insurance companies and physician offices

•   Assisting with administrative tasks, such as billing, record keeping, and insurance paperwork

Like pharmacists, pharmacy technicians can practice in a specialty industry like academia, community, or government, or in a specialty area like critical care, oncology, or pediatrics.

To be a successful pharmacy technician, you generally need to be a detail-oriented team player with excellent communication skills. As a result, working as a pharmacy technician may not be a great fit for someone who likes to work alone or is more of an introvert.

Since pharmacy techs interact with customers every day and work under the supervision of pharmacists, it’s also not possible to find a work-from-home job, so you need to be prepared to head into the workplace every day.


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How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make When They Are Starting Out?

Starting salaries for pharmacy technicians can fall anywhere from $30.000 to $54,500. With experience, techs typically have many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience.

What Is the Average Salary for a Pharmacy Technician?

How much does a pharmacy technician make an hour? The average hourly wage for a pharmacy tech is $19. However, hourly wage can range anywhere from $14.42 to $20.43.

The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in the U.S. is $40,074. But how much a certified pharmacy technician makes can go up to $54,500.

Generally, pharmacy techs who work at hospitals earn more than those who work at pharmacies and drug retailers. Rising up to the level of management can give a pharmacy technician a significant bump in earnings. If you go on to get a pharmacy degree, you could make well over $100,000 per year.

The Average Pharmacy Technician Salary by State for 2024

How much money a pharmacy technician makes can vary by location. What follows is a breakdown of how much a pharmacy technician makes per year, on average, by state (highest to lowest).

State

Average Annual Salary

New York $45,054
Vermont $44,321
Maine $42,433
Pennsylvania $41,261
Washington $41,013
Massachusetts $40,400
New Hampshire $40,272
New Jersey $40,226
Alaska $40,173
Oregon $39,741
North Dakota $39,694
Wisconsin $39,587
Wyoming $39,369
Hawaii $38,937
Colorado $38,663
Indiana $38,654
New Mexico $38,041
Nevada $37,984
Minnesota $37,948
Arizona $37,855
South Dakota $37,515
Montana $37,285
Ohio $36,970
Alabama $36,818
Rhode Island $36,809
Delaware $36,658
Virginia $36,256
Connecticut $36,122
Iowa $36,089
Mississippi $35,711
Illinois $35,687
California $35,616
Maryland $35,534
Tennessee $35,298
Utah $35,189
Nebraska $34,867
Missouri $34,410
Georgia $34,300
South Carolina $34,064
Idaho $33,990
Oklahoma $33,766
Texas $33,688
Kansas $33,618
North Carolina $33,360
Louisiana $33,131
Kentucky $32,060
Michigan $32,035
West Virginia $31,867
Arkansas $30,452
Florida $30,355

Source: ZipRecruiter

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Pharmacy Technician Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

You may be able to get a job as a pharmacy technician with just a high school degree and on-the-job training. However, you can increase your earning potential and job opportunities by completing a postsecondary education program, such as a certificate program or an associate’s degree and getting certified.

There are certificate programs available online that take around nine months to complete. Completing one of these programs helps prepare you for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). There also are certificate programs that include a hands-on learning component where students spend time training in a pharmacy.

An associate’s degree program typically takes around two years to complete and often includes internship or externship experiences. Often students take the PTCE following their externship experience.

Because so many pharmacy technician jobs are full-time, pharmacy technicians typically receive a full suite of benefits, including healthcare and retirement plans, that increase the value of their total compensation.


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Pros and Cons of Pharmacy Technician Salary

As with any career path, there are both advantages and disadvantages to becoming a pharmacy technician. Here’s a closer look at the job’s pros and cons.

Pros of Being a Pharmacy Technician

Being a pharmacy tech comes with a number of benefits:

•   Positive job outlook The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 6% growth rate for this industry between 2022 and 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

•   Opportunity for advancement Many pharmacy techs advance to roles in pharmacy management or even get the necessary education to become a licensed pharmacist. Some may explore related careers, such as pharmaceutical sales, medical equipment, or medical technology.

•   Choice of work environments While many pharmacy techs work in retail pharmacies, you have the flexibility to work in other environments, such as a hospital, nursing home, clinic, alternative pharmacy, veterinary facility, or mail-order pharmacy.

•   Flexible hours Pharmacy techs may have the option to work part time or just on weekends and evenings. Often, you can make the schedule work with your other commitments.

•   Doesn’t require a college degree Many people become pharmacy techs with just a high school diploma or GED. However, there’s some necessary training, and some states require licensure. Typically, pharmacy techs opt to pursue the Certified Pharmacy Technician certification, since it can enable them to get better jobs and earn higher pay.

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Cons of Being a Pharmacy Technician

Being a pharmacy tech also comes with some downsides:

•   Work can be repetitive For many pharmacy techs, there isn’t much variety in their job duties. They fill prescriptions, enter data, help customers, and answer phone calls, which could become monotonous over time.

•   Customers can occasionally be difficult Some customers may be distressed and, as a result, interactions may sometimes be challenging. In addition, customers may get upset if their insurance doesn’t cover their prescription or it isn’t ready when they come in.

•   Requires regular recertification While you can work as an entry level pharmacy tech without certification, people in this role generally choose to get certified. And because the field is constantly changing and developing, you need to take a recertification exam every two years, which comes with a fee (though some employers may cover it).

•   Work environment can be stressful Pharmacies can get busy and techs often need to handle a high customer load in a fast-paced environment. In addition, techs are under pressure to help fill and label each prescription accurately, since errors can cause people to have negative reactions.

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The Takeaway

If you are looking for an engaging and stable career in the healthcare field that doesn’t require a college degree, pharmacy technician work may be a good fit. The job has a positive growth outlook and, once you get a job as a pharmacy tech, there are many opportunities to advance and earn more than the average salary for pharmacy technicians.

Once you start earning a regular paycheck as a pharmacy technician (or any other role you choose), you’ll want to manage your money carefully, making sure that what goes out of your bank account each month doesn’t exceed what goes in.

FAQ

What is the highest paying pharmacy technician job?

Generally, certified pharmacy technicians who work in a hospital setting earn more than those that work at drug retailers. A pharmacy tech can make even more if they grow into a supervisory or managerial position.

Do pharmacy technicians make 100k a year?

Generally, pharmacy technicians make less than $100,000 per year. The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in the U.S. is $40,074.

How much do pharmacy technicians make starting out?

Certified pharmacy techs can start out earning anywhere between $30.000 and $54,500.


Photo credit: iStock/Dimensions

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