If you’re considering becoming a pharmacy technician, you’ll certainly want to know how much you can expect to make a year.
On average, pharmacy technicians receive an hourly rate of $16.32 and an annual salary of $33,950, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
However, working out how much money pharmacy technicians take home is no simple task, due to a variety of contributing factors. Here, we’ll do our best to break them down for you.
Entry Level and New Graduates
Pharmacy technicians in the US make an average hourly rate of $16.32, according to data from the BLS. This equates to a median annual salary of $33,950.
Further, the BLS reports that the bottom 10% of earners in this field – many of whom are entry-level and newly graduated employees – make an average of $24,120 per year or $11.60 per hour.
Pharmacy Tech Career Veterans
That said, climb the career ladder and there is potential to more than double your entry-level salary.
According to the BLS, the top 10% of earners in this field make an annual salary of $49,130, or $23.62 hourly.
The highest rates of pay are found in the Federal Executive Branch ($21.60 per hour), outpatient care centers ($21.47), and colleges, universities, and professional schools ($20.95).
Factors That Impact Pharmacy Technician Salaries
It can be tough to predict exactly how much you’ll make when you start a job as a pharmacy technician. There are more than 400,000 people working as pharmacy technicians today at nearly 68,000 pharmacies scattered across the country — and they don’t all take home the same pay.
Exact pharmacy technician salaries depend on a number of factors, including:
- The technician’s level of experience
- The pharmacy for which they work
- The state where they live and work
If you want to get a better idea of how much pharmacy technicians in your specific area are paid, check out local job listings. You should be able to find pharmacy technician postings in your community that include wage estimates. These will give you some insight into the salary you can expect.
However, the best way to become a top earner is simply to build up your experience.
Those who have worked in the industry for longer generally have access to higher-paying opportunities. For example, there are pharmacy technicians working in outpatient healthcare centers or for the federal government who earn $40,000 per year or more.
Options for Career Advancement
If you’re a certified pharmacy technician looking to advance within your field, there are a number of ways to do this.
Choose a Specialization
One of the easiest ways to climb the pharmacy technician career ladder is by specializing in a particular area.
If you work for a retail drugstore chain, for instance, you should be able to access specialized training in order to become a general pharmacy technician, a central pharmacy operations technician, a community pharmacy technician, or something similar.
Pursue Further Qualifications
An associate degree is not normally required for entry-level pharmacy technician roles, but it can be helpful when it comes time to advance your career.
Pharmacy technicians with an Associate degree:
- Are qualified to process medication orders
- Have extensive knowledge surrounding medical law related to filling prescriptions
- Can demonstrate fundamental knowledge of medical terminology
As a result, an associate degree can qualify candidates for better-paying jobs such as:
- Compounding lab technician
- Pharmacy service technician
- Pharmacy implementation specialist
If a degree will help you meet your career advancement goals, take a look at the Ultimate Medical Academy’s programs.
Job Outlook and Employment Growth Rate
If you’ve been considering a career as a pharmacy technician, now may be the right time to begin your pursuit.
Over the next decade, the BLS predicts that there will be 31,500 new pharmacy technician jobs added to the field across the country through 2028.
There are two key reasons for the rising demand for new pharmacy technicians:
- Increasing numbers of Americans are taking prescription drugs. A 2017 study revealed that more than 50 percent of Americans now take at least one prescription regularly.
- The elderly population in the U.S. is growing. By 2030, 1 out of every 5 Americans is going to be over the age of 65. That means older people will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
As a result, there will be a growing need for pharmacy technicians to distribute prescription drugs to people in their golden years. And as the demand for pharmacy technicians rises and the job market becomes more competitive for employers, the pay for those in pharmacy positions is likely to increase.
Consider Working Toward a Career as a Pharmacy Technician Today
Now that you know the answer to the question, “How much does a pharmacy technician make?” think long and hard about beginning your path to becoming a pharmacy technician today.
As a pharmacy technician, you’ll get the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives and communicate with them on a regular basis.
There are also plenty of opportunities for you to grow your career as you gain experience. With demand for pharmacy technicians growing, there’s rarely been a better time to get started on this career path. Check out the UMA blog for more on what life as a pharmacy technician looks like, and whether or not it’d be a good career choice for you.