How Much Does a Pharmacy Tech Make? The Straight Dope

How Much Does a Pharmacy Tech Make? The Straight Dope

How Much Does a Pharmacy Tech Make? The Straight Dope

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So you want to be a pharmacy technician, huh? Can’t say I blame you. It’s a solid career choice, with decent job prospects and a respectable salary. But before you enrol in pharmacy tech school, you probably want to know – how much does a pharmacy tech make? Well, friend, you’ve come to the right place. Pull up a chair, and let’s get down to brass tacks.

How Much Does A Pharmacy Tech Make?

How Much Does a Pharmacy Tech Make

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for pharmacy techs as of 2021 was $36,450. But that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Pharmacy technician pay can vary pretty wildly depending on these factors:

  • Location: Techs in states like California and Alaska make $40,000+, while techs in places like Alabama average below $30,000. Big cities also tend to pay more.
  • Experience: Those just starting out make around $25,000, while veterans can earn $45,000+.
  • Certification: Getting certified boosts your salary significantly.
  • Work setting: Hospital techs ($40,000+) out-earn retail techs ($34,000).

So, while the median salary is in the mid-$30,000s, pharmacy tech pay ranges from around $25,000 on the low end up to $45,000+ for the top earners. Not too shabby!

Job Outlook is Solid

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that pharmacy tech jobs will grow by 6% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. This will translate into about 22,400 new openings over that period.

The increased demand is driven by:

  • The aging population needs more prescription medications
  • More people with insurance coverage filling prescriptions
  • Techs taking over some responsibilities from pharmacists

Retail chains like CVS, grocery stores, hospitals, and mail-order pharmacies will see the biggest need for new pharmacy technicians. 

So, job security looks pretty good if you enter this field.

How to Reach the Higher End of the Pay Scale

If you want to maximize your earning potential as a pharmacy technician, here are some tips:

  • Get certified by the PTCB. It allows you to command a higher salary. Some states even require it.
  • Consider a hospital setting over retail. Hospital techs tend to be paid better.
  • Be willing to work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Pharmacy techs are needed around the clock, so irregular hours give you a pay bump.
  • Acquire specialized skills. Learn sterile compounding or inventory management software, for example.
  • Continue your education. Pursue an associate’s degree in pharmacy technology or get additional certifications. It expands your job prospects.
  • Gain experience. Look for ways to build your skills on the job. After a few years, you can qualify for senior-level positions.
  • Relocate if needed. If your area has below-average pharmacy tech pay, consider moving to a place with higher wages, like California.

Put in the effort, and a six-figure salary isn’t out of reach for experienced pharmacy techs in the right setting.

The Perks and Benefits Sweeten the Deal

Besides a decent salary, pharmacy techs enjoy some nice perks:

  • Health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Employee discounts on prescription medications
  • Predictable schedules in retail
  • Low-stress work environments

The ability to help people in a healthcare setting also provides intangible rewards for many pharmacy technicians.

So, while pharmacy techs may not get rich, solid pay, good benefits, and meaningful work make it an appealing career option worth considering. Just be sure to get the facts on salary and job outlook in your area first. Then, start perfecting your dosage calculations!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do pharmacy techs get paid hourly or salary?

Most pharmacy technicians are paid an hourly wage. Their schedules may vary from part-time to full-time.

What factors increase pharmacy technician pay?

Experience, certification, specialized skills, work setting, location, and willingness to work odd hours all contribute to higher pay.

What benefits do pharmacy techs receive?

Typical benefits include medical/dental insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, employee discounts, and tuition reimbursement.

The Bottom Line:

Pharmacy technicians have a lot going for them career-wise. The salary prospects are decent, job growth is solid, and the work provides a sense of purpose. If you’re willing to put in the time to get certified and gain experience, you can reach the higher end of the pharmacy tech pay scale. Just be strategic about the work setting and location you choose. Pharmacy technician is a job where effort, dedication and intelligent decisions will be rewarded. 

So, if helping people and working in healthcare appeals to you, don’t hesitate to pursue this career. The financial and personal rewards will make it worthwhile.

Konger Avatar
8 months ago

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*The information this blog provides is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. The information may not reflect current developments and may be changed or updated without notice. Any opinions expressed on this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author’s employer or any other organization. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this blog without first seeking the advice of a professional. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this blog. The author and affiliated parties assume no liability for any errors or omissions.