Pharmacy Tech Salary: How Much Do They Make?

The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. With the increase in demand for medical services, there has been a corresponding rise in the need for skilled professionals to provide those services. Pharmacy technicians are an essential part of this workforce and play a critical role in ensuring that patients receive the medication they need.

If you’re considering pursuing a career as a pharmacy technician, one of your primary concerns may be how much you can expect to earn. While salary isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a job, it’s undoubtedly an important one. In this post, we’ll explore how much a pharmacy tech makes on average, what factors can affect their salary, and what career advancement opportunities exist in this field.

Understanding the Role of a Pharmacy Technician

Job Responsibilities of a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technicians play a critical role in the healthcare industry. They work alongside pharmacists to ensure that patients receive accurate medication and dosage. One of the primary responsibilities of a pharmacy technician is filling prescriptions.

Filling prescriptions involves processing requests from physicians, verifying patient information, and ensuring the accuracy of medication and dosage. Pharmacy technicians must have excellent attention to detail to prevent errors that can have significant consequences for patients’ health.

Another crucial duty of a pharmacy technician is managing inventory. They are responsible for monitoring the stock level of medications and supplies, ordering new items when necessary, and rotating stock to ensure that medications do not expire.

In addition to technical duties, pharmacy technicians also provide essential customer service. They greet patients, answer phone calls, and address questions about medications or insurance coverage. Pharmacy technicians must be approachable and empathetic to help patients feel comfortable and confident with their medication.

Overall, pharmacy technicians have many responsibilities to support the efficient and safe operation of a pharmacy. While each day may present new challenges, the fulfillment of helping patients and contributing to the healthcare system makes it a rewarding career choice.

Certification and Training Requirements

Certification and Training Requirements

Becoming a pharmacy technician requires a combination of education and training, which can include on-the-job experience and formal education. However, most employers require or prefer certification from the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

PTCB Certification

The PTCB certification is one of the most recognized and respected certifications for pharmacy technicians. It is obtained by passing an exam that evaluates a technician’s knowledge and skills in different areas such as medication safety, inventory management, and pharmacy operations.

To be eligible for the exam, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent, no felony convictions, and no drug or pharmacy-related convictions. They must also complete a PTCB-recognized education/training program or accumulate at least 500 hours of on-the-job experience.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training is another way to become a pharmacy technician. Many pharmacies offer this type of training, where new hires learn the ropes from experienced technicians or pharmacists over several weeks or months.

However, it’s important to note that on-the-job training alone may not be sufficient for some employers who prefer or require formal education or certification.

Formal Education

Formal education can come in many forms, including vocational schools, community colleges, or online programs. These programs usually take anywhere from six months to two years to complete and cover topics such as medical terminology, pharmacology, and pharmacy law and ethics.

Some programs also include clinical rotations where students get hands-on experience in real-world pharmacy settings. Formal education can be an excellent way to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the field and to stand out among other applicants.


Whether through on-the-job experience, formal education, or PTCB certification, becoming a pharmacy technician requires hard work, dedication, and a commitment to providing quality patient care. By understanding the training and certification requirements, aspiring technicians can take the necessary steps to achieve their goals and build a rewarding career in this growing field.

Factors that Affect Pharmacy Tech Salaries

Factors that Affect Pharmacy Tech Salaries

Pharmacy technicians play a critical role in the healthcare industry, and their salaries are influenced by several factors. In this section, we’ll explore some key factors that can impact pharmacy tech salaries.

Job Experience

One of the most significant factors that affect pharmacy tech salaries is job experience. As with many professions, the more experience you have, the higher your salary is likely to be. New pharmacy techs typically earn less than their experienced counterparts, but as they gain expertise, their pay rate may increase.


Another factor that can significantly impact pharmacy tech salaries is location. The cost of living and demand for skilled workers varies from state to state, and even from city to city, which means that pharmacy tech salaries can vary widely depending on where you live and work. For example, pharmacy techs working in California, Washington, and Alaska tend to earn higher salaries than those in other states.


The type of employer also plays a crucial role in determining pharmacy tech salaries. Working for a large retail chain or hospital system generally offers better pay and benefits than working for a smaller independent pharmacy. Additionally, government agencies such as the Veterans Administration and the US Military offer competitive salaries and benefits packages.


Finally, the industry in which a pharmacy technician works can influence their salary. Pharmacy techs who specialize in certain areas, such as oncology or compounding, may earn more than those in more general roles. Additionally, pharmacy techs who work in high-demand industries, such as long-term care facilities or specialty hospitals, may earn higher salaries due to the increased demand for their services.

In conclusion, while there are many factors that affect pharmacy tech salaries, job experience, location, employer, and industry are among the most significant. By understanding these factors, pharmacy techs can make informed decisions about their career paths and earning potential.

Average Salary for Pharmacy Technicians

Average Salary for Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians play an integral role in the healthcare industry, and as such, they are well-compensated for their work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national average salary for pharmacy technicians is approximately $35,250 per year or $16.94 per hour. However, this figure can vary widely based on several factors, including job experience, location, employer, and industry.

One way to get a better idea of how much pharmacy technicians can expect to earn is by looking at state-by-state comparisons. For instance, according to the BLS, pharmacy technicians in California have the highest average salary of any state at approximately $45,280 per year, while those in West Virginia have the lowest average salary at approximately $26,880 per year.

Additionally, it’s important to consider which industries tend to offer the highest-paying positions for pharmacy technicians. As of 2021, the BLS reports that the highest-paying industries for pharmacy technicians include:

  • Outpatient care centers: $44,760 per year
  • General merchandise stores: $42,830 per year
  • Specialty hospitals (excluding psychiatric and substance abuse): $42,270 per year
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: $41,840 per year
  • Insurance carriers: $40,440 per year

It’s worth noting that some industries may require additional training or certification, which could impact pharmacy technicians’ salaries. For example, those working in specialty hospitals may need to obtain additional certifications related to particular medical specialties.

In conclusion, while the national average salary for pharmacy technicians provides a baseline for understanding compensation in this field, it’s important to consider individual factors such as location, employer, and industry. By doing so, pharmacy technicians can make informed decisions about their career paths and earning potential.

Career Advancement Opportunities for Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in the healthcare industry, and as such, there are ample opportunities for career advancement within the field. Here are some of the ways that pharmacy techs can take their careers to the next level.


One way to advance your career as a pharmacy technician is to specialize in a particular area of pharmacy practice. This could involve pursuing additional training or certification in a specific field, such as sterile compounding or medication therapy management.

By specializing, you can enhance your knowledge and skills in a particular area, which could lead to higher-paying jobs and greater responsibility over time. Additionally, having a specialized skill set can make you more marketable to employers, who may be seeking candidates with niche expertise.

Career Ladder

Another way to advance your career as a pharmacy technician is to climb the “career ladder” within your organization. This can involve taking on leadership roles, such as becoming a lead technician or supervisor, or moving into management positions.

To move up the career ladder, it’s important to demonstrate a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and a willingness to learn and take on new challenges. If you show initiative and a desire to grow within the organization, you may be offered more advanced positions with greater responsibilities and higher pay.

Supervisory Roles

Finally, many pharmacy technicians aspire to become supervisors or managers within their organizations. In these roles, they are responsible for overseeing the work of other technicians and ensuring that the pharmacy is running smoothly and efficiently.

To prepare for a supervisory role, it’s important to gain experience working in different areas of the pharmacy and to develop strong leadership and management skills. You may also need to pursue additional education or certifications to qualify for these types of positions.

Overall, pharmacy technicians have numerous opportunities for career advancement within the field. Whether through specialization, climbing the career ladder, or moving into supervisory or management roles, there are many paths to success for those who are willing to work hard and continually develop their skills.
The salary of a pharmacy technician depends on various factors such as job experience, location, employer, and industry. Despite these variables, it’s clear that pharmacy techs earn competitive salaries that reflect their crucial role in the healthcare industry. Obtaining PTCB certification and formal training can improve one’s chances of earning higher wages and advancing their career. As the demand for prescription medications continues to rise, so does the need for skilled pharmacy technicians. With ample opportunities for professional growth and attractive compensation packages, pursuing a career as a pharmacy tech is a wise choice for those interested in a fulfilling, well-paying job in the healthcare field.

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