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Pharmacy Technician Salary

By: CareerFactsheet editors- Updated: Aug24, 2012

People choose to go into the field of pharmacy technician for a variety of reasons. For some it's the flexible hours working with a small pharmacy can bring. For others it's the chance to see what it's like to work in a pharmacy environment before they decide if they want to go on and get a full degree as a pharmacist. Whatever the reason, one major consideration is the salary one can earn in this career. While initial salaries tend to be on the low side for any career, the role of a pharmacy technicians allows for amazing growth and advancement opportunities.

Pharmacy Technician Job Description

A pharmacy technician is responsible for a wide range of duties. Pharmacy technicians will spend their days doing everything from maintaining the pharmacy as a working environment to ordering supplies, handling billing questions and, of course, assisting in the dispensing of medication. Pharmacy technicians work in a wide variety of environments, including chain pharmacies, smaller specialized stores and hospital pharmacies. Being able to work in such a variety of environments can help make this an appealing career option for people who enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy retail or healthcare environment while still being able to work one on one with clients as well as their small team of pharmacy professionals. Job opportunities for pharmacy technicians are featured in literally every state of the country.

Salary Study

According to a study completed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics California, Michigan, Ohio Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, North Carolina and New York offer the most work for people in this field with each of those states employing between 11,390 and 28,670 pharmacy technicians as of 2011. In states where the competition is greater, so too are the salaries offered. California, for example, had 28,670 pharmacy technicians and the state offered an average wage of $38,380 annually, or $18.45 an hour, well over the national average of $30,020 annually. This provides pharmacy technicians the ability to move in order to find the most competitive markets or to determine their best chances for growth and advancement opportunities.

How to Get Started as a Pharmacy Technician?

How To Be a Pharmacy Technician
The road to becoming a pharmacy technician begins with the right education. Pharmacy technician programs take 1 to 2 years with the most comprehensive and well rounded program being the full 2 years in length. Although shorter programs will give students the fundamental knowledge they need to sit for a pass state exams to become a pharmacy technician, the two years programs are more comprehensive and can better arm students for their career. Once the program has been completed, students must pas the state exam for the state in which they want to work. Successful completion of that exam then allows them to begin working in a retail or hospital pharmacy. If a pharmacy technicians chooses to move to another state he or she must simply sit for those state exams in order to begin working. Their career history will follow them a recommendations from well known pharmacies can go a long way in helping to pave the way with a new company. Pharmacy technicians working for larger chains may also make interstate moves while remaining with the same company in order to retain any retirement or other benefits.

Opportunity for Advancement as a Pharmacy Technician

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps tabs on the average wages of many different professional careers such as pharmacy technicians. In 2011 they reported that the average annual salary for a pharmacy technician was about $30,000 and the average hourly wage just over $14 an hour. While this is a the national average, there are ways for pharmacy technicians to increase their overall earning power. One common way to achieve this is by simply working with the same pharmacy for awhile. As a technician becomes more adept as his or her skills, most companies will increase their wage accordingly. Pharmacy technicians can also carry on with their education through continuing education classes which can give them further knowledge and specialized accreditation. This can help them to be a more desirable employee to any organization and can also give them increased negotiating power. Finally, pharmacy technicians can also choose to take their training to the next level and begin classes to become a fully licensed pharmacist.

The career of a pharmacy technician is one which allows people to better themselves through education while continuing to work in the health care field. As the aged population of America continues to grow, the job market for people in the pharmaceutical services is slated to grow right along with it. Pharmacy technicians can expect more opportunities for advancement as well as a chance to showcase their own skills as their role evolves in order to better assist pharmacists and clients.

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