Pharmacy technicians are in demand all over the country and in many different places. There are many retail stores and healthcare organizations that need the help of pharmacy technicians to manage medications and help customers.
Pay for pharmacy technicians varies based on where you live, the type of place you work in, your job title, your experience, and your certification.
This guide will go over the highest-paying pharmacy technician jobs and which states and cities pharmacy technicians make the most in.
Highest-Paying Pharmacy Technician Jobs
The national average salary for pharmacy technicians is about $36,740 per year or $17.66 per hour. This can change based on the type of work you do, your location, and your experience.
Checking local job listings can give you the most up-to-date salary information for pharmacy technicians in your area.
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Some of the highest-paying pharmacy technician jobs include:
1) Pharmacy Technician Informaticist
Working in informatics can be a lucrative career choice for pharmacy technicians. The average salary for a pharmacy technician informaticist is over $70,000 per year. Most employers require their informaticists to have several years of experience and at least a bachelor's degree.
Responsibilities of a pharmacy technician informaticist include: implementing new workflows, processes, and policies; assessing policy changes and giving feedback to improve processes; preparing information papers and briefings; organizing meetings; and assisting in the development of electronic health records.
2) Pharmacy Technician Program Director
Most pharmacy technician program directors have a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and have worked for many years as pharmacy technicians. Pharmacy technician program directors manage pharmacy technician training programs to make sure they stay up to date-and provide high-quality education for their students.
A pharmacy technician program director can earn about $61,000 per year.
3) Pharmacy Technician Level Three
Level three pharmacy technicians usually have at least 6 months to 1 year of experience as a pharmacy technician. They perform some of the most advanced skills including mixing sterile medications and supervising other pharmacy technicians.
Level three pharmacy technicians typically earn around $45,000 per year.
4) Pharmacy Technician Level Two
A level two pharmacy technician usually has a few months of experience working in a pharmacy and performs more advanced skills than a level one pharmacy technician.
Level two pharmacy technicians earn roughly $45,000 per year. Their responsibilities include non-sterile compounding, delivering medications to patient care areas, checking medication storage areas for outdates, stocking automated dispensing cabinets, unit dose drug preparation, and billing.
5) Pharmacy Technician Instructor
Pharmacy technician instructors may work at community colleges, technical schools, or as part of online education programs.
Pharmacy technician instructors earn an average of $44,200 per year.
6) Hospital Pharmacy Technician
Hospital pharmacy technicians spend their time delivering medications to automatic medication dispensers, bringing emergency medicines where they are needed, and mixing medications.
Hospital pharmacy technicians earn an average of $39,290 per year.
7) Pharmacy Technician Level One
Level one pharmacy technicians earn around $38,000 per year.
A level one pharmacy technician performs all of the basic tasks of a pharmacy technician and usually needs only a certification. They help organize medications, answer phone calls, and keep the pharmacy clean and organized.
8) Compound Pharmacy Technician
A compounding pharmacy technician mixes medications under the supervision of a pharmacist. They often work in hospitals or laboratories. They may need to use strict sterile techniques and have excellent math skills to mix the correct doses of medication.
A compound pharmacy technician earns between $31,561 and $43,580 per year.
9) Retail Pharmacy Technician
Retail pharmacy technicians work in stores like Walgreens or Rite-Aid. They typically help patients get prescriptions filled and keep shelves stocked and organized.
Retail pharmacy technicians earn an average of $33,110 per year.
Pharmacy Technician Salaries by State
Pharmacy Technician Salaries by City
How You Can Increase Your Salary as a Pharmacy Technician
If you want to increase your salary as a pharmacy technician, there are a few things you can do.
- Earn your certification. Certified pharmacy technicians are more likely to get hired than non-certified job candidates, and can ask for a higher starting wage. Some employers will even reimburse you for the cost of your training program and pharmacy technician certification.
- Get an advanced certification. If you want to earn more money by becoming a level three pharmacy technician or informaticist, you may have to earn some advanced certifications. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board offers many different types of certifications and credentials.
- Learn a new language. According to Forbes, 35% of managers have given a raise or promotion to someone based on their ability to speak a second language. Being bilingual makes you a more valuable employee who can better assist non-English speaking customers and ask for a higher salary.
- Become a leader in your organization. Being a shift team lead, training new employees, or taking on a more advanced role in your current job is a great way to earn a higher salary.
- Change roles. There are many different pharmacy technician jobs that you can transition to if you want to increase your salary. An experienced pharmacy technician can choose to become an instructor, a program director, or an informaticist.
Common Benefits for Pharmacy Technicians
It is important to keep in mind that hourly pay is not the only thing to consider when comparing pharmacy technician jobs. Some jobs have lower starting salaries but offer better benefits packages.
Common benefits for pharmacy technicians include:
- Health insurance. Most employers offer health insurance benefits to their full-time employees. Usually, an employer will pay part of all of a monthly premium, and an employee is expected to cover out-of-pocket costs or deductibles. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, preventative healthcare is now covered by all insurance plans.
- Dental insurance. Full-time pharmacy technicians are usually offered dental insurance as part of their benefits package. A typical dental insurance plan covers two cleanings per year and one set of X-rays per year.
- Paid time off. Paid time off is a great benefit for pharmacy technicians. PTO allows you to take a vacation or sick day without having to worry about missing a paycheck during that time. Usually, more PTO is accrued the longer you work at an organization.
- Sick leave. Employers are usually required to allow their employees to take sick leave, meaning they can take time off for extended illnesses or family emergencies without losing their jobs. Some organizations offer paid sick leave in addition to PTO.
- Prescription discounts. As a benefit of working in a pharmacy, you may get discounts on over-the-counter or prescription medications.
- 401K matching. If you plan to stay in the same company for a long time, you may want to look for an organization with a good retirement plan. Benefits like 401k matching can help you build up a retirement fund and have a more secure financial future.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Here are the steps required to become a pharmacy technician:
- Obtain your high school diploma or GED. No matter where you live, you will need a high school diploma or GED before you can become a pharmacy technician. If you need to, you can prepare for and pass your GED exam in as little as 3 months.
- Get the necessary training & education. Once you have your high school diploma or GED, you can complete a pharmacy technician training program. You can choose an online certification program, a technical college, or a degree program to complete your education. Pharmacy technician taining can last anywhere from 4 months to 2 years, depending on the program you choose.
- Take your certification exam. Certification exams are available through both PTCB and NHA. Even if your state does not require certification, obtaining one might help you get a job or earn a higher salary.
- Apply for a license. If your state requires pharmacy technicians to be licensed, you will have to apply for a license and pay a fee. This often includes submitting proof of certification and passing a background check.
- Look for jobs. Pharmacy technician jobs can be found on websites like Indeed and Monster, through pharmacy and hospital websites, or on bulletin boards at colleges and universities. Some pharmacy technician training programs have counselors available to assist you in your job search.
- Start working as a pharmacy technician. Once you start working as a pharmacy technician, make sure you stay up to date on safety standards, new technologies, and updated guidelines to keep your patients safe and protect your license.
- Keep up with your continuing education. After you receive your certification and license, make sure you do not let them expire. Check with your State to find out exactly what the continuing education and recertification requirements are, since they are slightly different in each area. For example, pharmacy technicians in New Jersey must pay a $140 fee and complete 3 continuing education credits every 2 years.