According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data for pharmacy technicians, their median annual wage in May 2012 was $29,320. Median pay means half of pharmacy technicians earned more than $29,320 a year and half made less money. A lot of factors go into an individual technician’s salary, however.
Part time or Full time
Some pharmacy technicians work part time, although most work full time. The ones who work full time earn more money due to the additional hours worked. They are also more likely to qualify for indirect monetary benefits such as health insurance and retirement matching plans.
Licensure, Certification and Education
Most states require pharmacy technicians to have a credential such as a license or certification. Check state boards of pharmacy for these rules, if any. For these states that regulate pharmacy technicians, criteria include a GED or high school diploma, ongoing training, an exam, pharmacy technician education or training program, a background check, an exam and fees.
Even if a state doesn’t require such licensure or certification, employers in the state might. Having such qualification is always a great idea and makes finding jobs much easier—and leads to higher salaries as well.
Certification is through two organizations: the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board and the National Healthcareer Association.
Pharmacy technician programs and classes run to about 285 hours altogether, or three months full time. Aspiring technicians will learn about health care and bodily systems (reproductive, respiratory). They’ll learn about anatomy and physiology and how to perform pharmaceutical math.
The type of employer makes a noticeable difference in a pharmacy technician’s salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top five employers for such technicians are ambulatory health care ($35,470), hospitals of every type ($33,550), grocery retailers ($28,760), drug stores and pharmacies ($28,030) and general stores ($27,450). The difference between the highest paying of these and the lowest paying is $8,020.
Bureau data shows that the upper 10 percent of pharmacy technicians made more than $42,400 a year while the bottom 10 percent brought in less than $20,580.
The outlook for pharmacy technicians is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth of 20 percent through 2022 because of increased need for prescriptions due to an aging population and chronic illnesses. Also, more people will have insurance and seek prescription medicine.