How much does a Pharmacy Technician make?
We still get this question pretty regularly, and thought I had better give the question of pharmacy technician pay its own article. The information from this article comes from my pharmacy management experience, work experience, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The one caveat I will give you up front is that your geographical area may have slightly lower or higher pay rates due to cost of living or supply and demand. Pay differences between states can be seen due to how difficult it is to become a pharmacy technician. Although, I think this is still a function of the supply and demand curve, but likely also a function of better educated techs can do more and are paid more.
Just in case you are not familiar with supply and demand. It simply means, when you have too many pharmacy technicians available n the market, then your demand for pharmacy technicians goes down. This can lead to a decrease in pay, or at minimum a slower rate of pay increase over the few years. We saw this with pharmacists; we had a very large pharmacist shortage about 10 years ago. Many new pharmacy schools were created to help fill this shortage, and now we have too many pharmacists graduating. The difference between pharmacists and pharmacy technicians is that pharmacists are typically in their jobs until they retire. Many pharmacy technicians will leave their positions to go to other career options. This provides for additional opportunity in the pharmacy technician job market.
Okay, let’s get on to the pay. Pharmacy technician pay ranges are fairly wide (in fact, they double with time or job specialization). At my hospital and surrounding area, we range our pharmacy techs from $11 to $21 per hour. I have also mentioned before that I have a couple of pharmacy technicians making over that, but they are in team lead roles or very specialized functions. To back up my numbers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has the median (the middle of the range, which is a little different than average)) pay for hospitals at about $15/hour. The BLS also has the median for retail pharmacy closer to $14 (for 2010). I have a separate dedicated article for this, but one cool area I see some very good pay and need in is pharmacy technicians with database skills. A lot of pharmacy is becoming automated, and maintaining databases is becoming a huge need. If you can do both, there is a good chance you can get into the higher pay levels much sooner and ultimately jump to higher paying roles outside of pharmacy.
Another interesting factor to look at is job outlook. The BLS has job outlook for pharmacy technicians increasing much faster than other healthcare related jobs (and many jobs in general). From 2010 to 2020, they expect an increase from 334,000 pharmacy techs to 442,000. Add this to the fact that existing pharmacy technicians will leave the field for other jobs; it provides a good opportunity to land a job. You still have to compete to get a job, and there are many pharmacy technician programs out there graduating techs. If you are interested in learning more about not only becoming a pharmacy technician, but landing a job when you are done, then make sure you sign up for out free eBook if you already haven’t (the sign up is in the bar to the right).