Pharmacy technicians are the pharmacist’s handy helpers in running the pharmacy efficiently, especially with the ever increasing number of patients who want their medications at the least amount of waiting time possible. They can take and verify prescription orders before filling it and can prepare, compound, and label medicines before they can be given to clients. They are also tasked with basic office tasks of preserving database, responding to inquiries over the phone or in person, process insurance claims and to accept payments for the filled prescriptions.
That’s quite hectic, right? At most states, a ratio of one pharmacist is to two pharmacy technicians gets overwhelmed with their increasing clientele. Some states have passed legislation that it should be increased to three, to accommodate the spike of clients who avail of pharmacy services. With that much work, shouldn’t the pharmacy technician’s salary be commensurate to their job? Actually, there are some factors that can affect how much they get to take home.
Top 3 Factors that Affect Pharmacy Technician Salary
- Industry. Most pharmacy technicians are employed in retail and community pharmacies. The annual income can range from USD 27,300 for those working in department store pharmacies up to USD 33,800 for those employed by hospital establishments. Establishments that cater to more clients and need the services of the pharmacy technician on call will offer better pay. A small population of pharmacy technician get hired in other industries that also require pharmaceutical services and can earn USD 38,300 on average in 12 months. Federal branch pharmacies can give an average salary of USD 40,400 while educational establishments can offer USD 37,100 a year. The pay is that good because the job demands more responsibilities and initiative from the pharmacy technician in performing research on new drugs, provide public information or train new pharmacy technicians in performing their tasks right.
- Location. There are many components that need to be considered. Metropolitan areas pay more than those who are in nonmetropolitan areas. Eastern Texas can offer pharmacy technicians USD 27,900 a year, the highest among nonmetropolitan areas. Compare this amount to the largest metropolitan employer of pharmacy technicians, San Jose-Sunnyvale in California, which gives their pharmacy technician an average of USD 45,800 annually. Pharmacy technician salary is based on the amount of clients they need to cater to in their shift. Another component related to location is the proximity of establishments that provide pharmacy services – say, those working near an area with pharmaceutical schools, research facilities or major pharmaceutical companies will allow a more competitive salary range for pharmacy technicians. The state where a pharmacy technician intends to practice also dictates how much they get paid. The state of California pays an average of USD 39,200 for pharmacy technicians a year while the District of Columbia can offer as much as USD 40,600 annually for their services. The state of Kentucky gives the lowest rate at USD 25,500 a year followed by Alabama at USD 25,800 average annually.
- Experience. As a pharmacy technician gains more skills, they eventually get to acquire more responsibilities and that translates to improved pay. The lowest post that can offer about USD 26,400 annually is the pharmacy service clerk which acts as the pharmacy’s customer representative, manages the filing system and collects payments. The next level would be as a pharmacy technician I which can earn about USD 32,200 a year and will involve typical dispensing and some clerical duties plus a smattering of stock inventory. Eventually, you get promoted as pharmacy technician II and receive USD 37,100 on average a year. They work under the direct supervision of the pharmacist with little or no supervision and may be allowed to compound medications and some administrative work on the side. Specialty positions available for pharmacy technicians are posts as Pharmacy Information Systems Manager (PISM) and Assistant Pharmacy Director (APD). The PISM earns an annual pay of USD 114,800 and is required to maintain, develop and implement technology for pharmacy operations. The APD gets USD 134,300 a year and takes over in the absence of the director, oversees pharmacists, dispenses medications and even interact with customers when necessary.
|Job Title||Experience||Middle 50%||Top 10%|
|Entry Level Pharmacy Technician||0 – 3 years||$19,270 – $33,667||$36,743+|
|Intermediate Pharmacy Technician||4+ years||$31,534 – $39,292||$42,956+|
|Pharmacy Technician Supervisor||6+ years||$41,306 – $53,138||$59,518+|
Pharmacy technician salary is almost similar to a medical assistant’s pay check especially since they have almost the same average salary range at USD 28,400 to USD 28,900. This is lower compared to other support healthcare staff but pursuing this career path does not necessarily require specialised training, although a specific level of medical knowhow is an asset. At present, there are approximately 334,400 pharmacy technicians employed in the United States alone and it is predicted that the industry will hire about 108,300 more by 2020. The 32 per cent growth is a positive indicator that there are more jobs available in this field for the pharmacy technician, way faster than any other fields in healthcare.