The demand for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase 20 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This equates to 70,700 jobs for pharmacy techs during that decade.
Although some employers offer training programs, the BLS states that opportunities will be best for those who have completed a formal training program; some certificate programs can be completed in about 12 months, while those culminating in an associate's degree require two years to complete the necessary classes. The exact requirements depend on the school as well as state laws regulating the training requirements, licensing or certifications for pharmacy techs.
Like most other occupations, a pharmacy technician's pay can vary a great deal and depends on a number of factors. However, the two factors that have the greatest impact on pay are location and employer type.
National Salary Statistics
As of May 2012, the BLS reported that pharmacy technicians averaged $30,430 annually. The median salary, which is the point at which 50 percent earned less and 50 percent earned more, was $29,320 per year. The best paid 10 percent earned at least $42,400, but the lowest paid 10 percent earned no more than $20,580 annually.
State Statistics for the Salary of a Pharmacy Technician
According to the BLS, the highest salary for pharmacy technicians in 2012 was found in the District of Columbia, where they averaged $40,560 annually. The average annual pay in Washington was $39,630, and it was $39,520 in Alaska. California and Hawaii placed fourth and fifth on the list of best-paying states, reporting average annual salaries of $39,150 and $36,960, respectively.
Kentucky reported the lowest average salary -- $25, 510 -- for the occupation in 2012, according to data published by the BLS. Salaries were also below the national average in West Virginia ($25,580) and Alabama ($25,750.)
Salary Data by Employer Type
Pharmacy technicians employed by the federal government earned the highest salary in 2012, according to the BLS, averaging $40,650 per year. Outpatient care facilities paid an average of $38,750, and physicians' offices paid an average of $37,040 annually. However, these three employer types hired only 13,950 of the nation's 353,340 pharmacy techs.
Over half of all pharmacy technicians employed in 2012 worked health and personal care retail stores, where they averaged $28,940 per year. Approximately 17 percent worked for general hospitals and earned an average of $34,410. General merchandise stores paid an average of $28,710, grocery stores provided average wages of $29,060 and department stores reported average pay of $27,750 annually.