How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make?

    June 28, 2021
    How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make?

    Updated 6/28/2021

    Becoming a pharmacy technician is a great career option for those who want a healthcare career but don’t want to work in direct patient care or in a bedside role. It is a rapidly growing and rewarding field where you have an opportunity to help patients get the medications they need to stay healthy.  

    But before committing yourself to any professional healthcare role, it’s always wise to educate yourself on how much you can make and the factors that will impact your salary potential.

    If you are exploring a rewarding career as a pharmacy technician and want to understand more about the salary you can expect to earn as one, this article is for you.  

    Part One What Is a Pharmacy Technician?

    A pharmacy technician, also referred to as a certified pharmacy technician (CPHT), is an allied healthcare professional who works within the pharmacy setting and assists with pharmacy-related duties under a licensed pharmacist’s supervision.   

    They are essential for ensuring that operations run smoothly and efficiently within the pharmacy or compounding pharmacy.

    In order to become a pharmacy technician, you’ll need to complete either a certificate or diploma program, or an associate’s degree program. Both will typically require a high school diploma or GED. 

    Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of medical settings where medications are handled and dispensed. Most work in pharmacies located in hospitals, drug stores, or grocery stores.

    We Found The Following Schools with Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

    Part Two About the Pharmacy Technician Career

    If you have ever picked up a prescription at a pharmacy, then you have probably seen a pharmacy tech in action. 

    While working alongside the pharmacists, pharmacy techs help ensure patients and families receive the correct medications filled with the right amount per the script.  

    Other responsibilities of a pharmacy tech include:

    1. Receive and process prescriptions that have been sent electronically, by phone, or by prescription from drop-off.
    2. Fill prescription bottles with correct medications and dosages and apply labels to the bottle.
    3. Mix medications (if state law and pharmacy policy allow).
    4. Give patients their medication as well as review directions and other information with them.
    5. Assist patients with paying for medications.
    6. Manage patient medical records.
    7. Manage records of in-house medications and ensure stock is up-to-date.
    8. Assist and resolve matters with patients’ insurance carriers.
    9. Obtain refill authorizations from doctors.
    10. Handle patient complaints and issues.
    11. Assist with other pharmacy-related tasks.

    >> Related: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician

    Part Three What Is the Average Salary of a Pharmacy Technician?

    According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a pharmacy technician’s average salary in 2020 was $35,100 per year or $16.87 per hour. The job outlook is bright in the profession, with a projection of 4% growth between 2019-2029.  

    Part Four Pharmacy Technician Salary Factors

    There are a number of things that can impact how much you can make as a pharmacy technician. Let's dig into 3 of the biggest: experience, place of work, and skills.

    Years of Experience

    As you grow in the field and gain more years of experience, you will have opportunities to earn more as a pharmacy technician. If you bring a hard work ethic, show that you are willing to learn as much as possible, and maintain a positive attitude, your employer may even offer bonuses or hourly pay increases.  

    After a few months on the job, you may want to consider asking your employer for feedback to make sure your work is matching expectations. Always listen to feedback, even if it is constructive criticism - there is always an opportunity for you to learn more.  

    Your tenacity may even catapult you into a higher-level or supervisor role. By taking on more leadership and administrative responsibilities, you will make more money as well. 

    According to Payscale, the average pay for a certified pharmacy technician (CPHT) by years of experience ranged from $14.29 per hour for entry-level pharmacy techs to $18.06 per hour for CPHTs with 20+ years of experience.

    Pharmacy Technician Salary by Years of Experience

    Years of Experience Hourly wage
    1-4 $14.29
    5-9 $15.87
    10-19 $16.99
    20+ $18.06

    Data via Payscale

    Place of Work

    Where you work plays a significant role in your salary, with many estimates stating that pharmacy techs earn as much as 20% more in a hospital than a drugstore. 

    Keep in mind that many hospitals require both prior work experience and national certification to be considered for employment. It might make sense to get your feet in the door and gain experience in a drugstore setting first before making a transition into a hospital.  

    Pharmacy Technician Salary by Employer

    Place of Work Annual Salary
    Hospitals $39,290
    Pharmacies & Drug Stores $33,110
    Food & Beverage Stores $32,320

    Data via BLS

    Skill Set

    According to Payscale, your skill level is a factor that can determine your salary. If you have prior work experience with any of the following skills, you may have an opportunity to make a higher salary.  

    1. Billing
    2. Aseptic Processing
    3. Order Inventory
    4. Data Entry
    5. Microsoft Office
    6. Hospital experience

    Part Five Pharmacy Technician Salary by City and State

    Where you choose to live has a lot of influence on your earning potential and has the potential to impact what you earn compared to the national average.

    In some cases, pharmacy techs use the following information to decide where it makes the most sense to live and work. 

    Highest Paying States for Pharmacy Technicians

    Here are the top 5 highest paying states for pharmacy technicians according to the BLS:

    1. California: $22.89 per hour, or $47,620 per year
    2. Alaska: $22.32 per hour, or $46,430 per year
    3. Washington: $22.31 per hour, or $46,400 per year
    4. District of Columbia: $22.23 per hour, or $46,240 per year
    5. Oregon: $20.87 per hour, or $43,410 per year

    Pharmacy Technician Salary By State

    State Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Salary
    Alabama $14.89 $30,980
    Alaska $22.32 $46,430
    Arizona $18.03 $37,500
    Arkansas $14.91 $31,010
    California $22.89 $47,620
    Colorado $18.76 $39,020
    Connecticut $17.44 $36,280
    Delaware $16.93 $35,210
    District of Columbia $22.23 $46,240
    Florida $16.77 $34,880
    Georgia $15.46 $32,160
    Guam $14.10 $29,340
    Hawaii $20.34 $42,300
    Idaho $17.62 $36,660
    Illinois $16.68 $34,700
    Indiana $16.44 $34,200
    Iowa $16.49 $34,300
    Kansas $17.08 $35,530
    Kentucky $14.60 $30,370
    Louisiana $16.95 $35,260
    Maine $16.29 $33,890
    Maryland $17.39 $36,160
    Massachusetts $18.79 $39,090
    Michigan $16.39 $34,090
    Minnesota $19.12 $39,770
    Mississippi $16.48 $34,290
    Missouri $16.19 $33,670
    Montana $18.04 $37,520
    Nebraska $17.10 $35,570
    Nevada $18.94 $39,390
    New Hampshire $17.06 $35,490
    New Jersey $17.16 $35,700
    New Mexico $17.52 $36,440
    New York $17.84 $37,100
    North Carolina $16.01 $33,300
    North Dakota $19.90 $41,390
    Ohio $15.63 $32,520
    Oklahoma $15.82 $32,900
    Oregon $20.87 $43,410
    Pennsylvania $15.27 $31,760
    Puerto Rico $11.58 $24,090
    Rhode Island $18.74 $38,980
    South Carolina $16.59 $34,510
    South Dakota $17.23 $35,830
    Tennessee $16.23 $33,750
    Texas $17.79 $37,010
    Utah $18.71 $38,920
    Vermont $17.25 $35,880
    Virgin Islands $17.15 $35,670
    Virginia $16.74 $34,810
    Washington $22.31 $46,400
    West Virginia $15.33 $31,890
    Wisconsin $17.20 $35,780
    Wyoming $18.91 $39,330

    Highest Paying Cities for Pharmacy Technicians

    Here are the top 5 highest paying cities for pharmacy technicians according to the BLS:

    1. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA:  $27.22 per hour, or $56,620 per year
    2. San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, CA:  $26.93 per hour, or $56,020 per year
    3. Santa Rosa, CA:  $25.39 per hour, or $52,810 per year
    4. Stockton-Lodi, CA:  $24.45 per hour, or $50,860 per year
    5. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $24.32 per hour, or $50,580 per year

    Part Six Ways to Increase Your Salary as a Pharmacy Technician

    There are a lot of opportunities for pharmacy techs to earn a higher salary. It is often a matter of putting in a little extra grit and being creative, combined with thinking outside the box. 

    Some pharmacy techs have taken on side-hustles of some sort of another, but if you want to focus on making more money within your career as a pharmacy tech, here are several ideas for you to earn a higher income:

    1. Ask for more responsibilities and show that you are so valuable that they can’t operate without you.
    2. Ask for a raise.
    3. Get nationally certified. Many institutions will pay a few dollars more per hour because you have the certification to back up your skills. 
    4. Look for per diem pharmacy tech jobs to work on your off days.
    5. Consider being a travel pharmacy tech (explore other areas of the country while getting paid for it!)
    6. Always research the pay scale within your city and surrounding cities. It may make sense for you to move an hour away to be closer to a metropolitan city that can offer you a higher salary.  
    7. Consider living in another state that offers a higher salary, especially states where the cost of living is less expensive. You may find that you will have a higher quality of life, even if the pay isn’t that much higher because it costs so much to live there.  
    8. If you live in an area where the cost of living doesn’t make sense, consider the possibility of moving to a place where it does. For example, many pharmacy techs in California make the highest salary in the country, but the cost is so high that it is driving some to leave the state.  If you can spend less on living expenses, then you just gave yourself a bonus.  

    Part Seven How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make?

    There are multiple factors to consider regarding how much a pharmacy technician can earn. 

    It is highly beneficial to know as much about the details that may affect your salary as to make educated decisions about your career.  

    By understanding salary ranges based on workplace factors, level of experience, and the state and city where you live, you can maximize your earning potential and make a salary that reflects your hard work and skill level. 

    Read Next: How to Become a Pharmacy Technician: 2 Fast Paths

    We Found The Following Schools with Online Pharmacy Technician Programs

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