If you have just completed your studies in order to become a pharmacy technician, you may want to have a look at the pharmacy technician salary by state to see how your state measures up when compared to others. You may also consider moving to a different state in order to increase your earning potential.
Parameters That Influence Your Salary As A Pharmacy Technician
There are a number of factors that will affect your salary within this industry other than the state in which you live, such as your level of education and experience.
Education And Level of Experience
If you are working in an entry level position, you can expect your salary to be at the lower end of the scale when compared with higher level positions. As a new pharmacy technician you can expect to earn an average salary of $29,000 per year. As with almost any career, the more qualified you are and the more experience you have, the greater your opportunity will be to bring in a higher income.
As of July 27, 2012, the national average salary for a pharmacy technician is $35,000 per year. However, if this is broken down in terms of experience levels, you will see that your earning potentials could increase considerably the longer you work.
According to PayScale’s website, the average salary for a pharmacy technician with less than one year’s experience is from $17,512 to $41,090 per year. If you have one to four years of experience you can expect a yearly salary between $16,618 and $41,476. If you have been working for five to nine years, your salary expectancy would be from $19,649 to $42,005. Someone with 10 to 19 years of experience could look at a salary of about $19,671 to $56,879. Finally, for a pharmacy technician with 20 years of experience or more, the average annual salary would be from $21,639 to $50,836. These figures were last updated on 21 July 2012.
Not all jobs in this field require you to be a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT), but having that certification will benefit you in terms of your salary. So if you are uncertified, you should seriously consider sitting the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam as it will formalize your education; higher levels of education will definitely be favored by potential employers.
Continuing Education Programs
As a CPhT, you will be required to complete a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years for re-certification; at least one of these hours should be spent on pharmacy law. This will help you to remain abreast of the latest developments and regulations on medicines and drugs. Your CE credits must be related to the practice of being a pharmacy technician. These topics could include the following:
- Drug distribution
- Managed health care
- Therapeutic issues
- Pharmacy operations
- Drug repackaging
- Inventory control
- Drug products
- Patient interaction
- Interpersonal skills
- Prescription compounding
- Pharmacy law (one hour mandatory)
- Preparation of sterile products
- HIV therapy
- Chronic pain
It is also imperative that you make sure that the CE programs you choose are accredited, by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) for example, otherwise all your hard work may not apply. Both the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) and the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) offer CE courses, and these are both fully accredited CE providers.
There are also several methods by which you can complete your CE programs. Some of these are:
- live presentations
- Internet courses
- correspondence courses
- in-service training programs
- computer-assisted instruction
- journal articles with a CE test
- audio or video recordings with a CE test
The Institution in Which You Will Work
Your salary range will also vary depending on whether you will be working in a larger or smaller company. Convenience stores and smaller pharmacies will most likely offer a lesser salary when compared to that of a larger pharmaceutical company, hospital, or supermarket drugstore. In order to justify this salary, the larger company may require additional or very specific pharmacy technician training. Such companies will, of course, only maintain that higher salary if you prove that you are worth it, so you can expect to work hard and be entrusted with more responsibilities.
Retail pharmacy is the institution in which the vast majority of pharmacy technicians currently work (about 75 percent of them), and this role encompasses processing prescriptions, labeling prescriptions, checking patient files to avoid allergic reactions, and administrative tasks such as answering phones and receiving medication payments. However, around 15 percent of the pharmacy technician population works in 24-hour pharmacies in hospitals, and if you choose to do this you should be prepared to work some night and weekend shifts. The remaining ten percent work in nursing homes, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and the Federal Government.
- Some of the different pharmaceutical sectors include, but are not limited to:
- Retail or community pharmacies:
- Chain drugstores such as Walgreen and Rite-Aid.
- Independent drugstores such as Seashore, Medicap, and Medicine Shoppe.
- Mass-merchandises such as Walmart, Target, K-Mart and Costco.
- Compounding Pharmacies: These hold special medications which are not available commercially; mostly for the elderly, children, and animals.
- Insurance companies: CPhTs may be hired by these companies for their prior authorization departments, and this is where you could earn the highest salary.
- Hospital pharmacies
- Clinic pharmacies
- Home health care pharmacies
- Long term care pharmacies
- Mail-order prescription pharmacies
- Pharmaceutical companies
A Positive Job Outlook For Pharmacy Technicians
The demand for pharmacy technicians, and thus their employment opportunities, is said to grow by about 32 percent by the year 2016. The entire health care industry is constantly growing; this is a result of the advancing levels of technology which increases the number of elderly individuals, who, in turn, take more medication. It is also expected that the administrative roles of pharmacy aides may soon be taken over by licensed pharmacy technicians.
Average Pharmacy Technician Salary By State
Below is a comprehensive list of the average salaries earned by pharmacy technicians in their respective states, in ascending order. Have a look to see where your state stands, and whether you should consider moving; or perhaps you already live in the highest paying state. Remember that the average salary for the entire United States is $35,000 per year.
These were last updated on July 27, 2012.
Hawaii is the lowest paying state with an average salary of $26,000 per year.
Louisiana is the second worst state to work in in terms of salary with an annual average of $28,000.
Both Nebraska and South Dakota are at $29,000 per year.
Alaska and Wisconsin offer an average of $30,000.
Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, and Pennsylvania have an average of $31,000.
Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina are also below average at $32,000 per year.
If you live in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah, or Washington, you can expect a salary of $33,000.
The states of Delaware, Florida, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Tennessee are only slightly below average at $34,000.
If you choose to work in Arkansas, Missouri, or Vermont, you will most likely earn the national average of $35,000 per year.
The average for Maryland, Montana, Virginia, West Virginia, and New Hampshire is an annual salary of $36,000.
Pharmacy technicians in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Wyoming earn an average of $37,000 per year.
The average salary in the state of California is $39,000 annually.
If you live in Massachusetts you will happy to learn that you are in the third highest earning location. The average is $41,000.
Not surprisingly, the metropolitan state of New York boasts the second highest earning potential of $42,000 per year.
Finally, the state which offers the highest pharmacy technician salary is Mississippi, with an average yearly salary of $43,000.
Your Cost Of Living Will Also Vary By State
It is very important to remember that you need to factor in the cost of living in these states. For example, people who live in metropolitan cities such as New York, Washington, and Los Angeles have much higher living expenses than those who live in smaller towns. So if you are planning on making the move to a higher paying state, make sure that you calculate the average living expenses and compare them to the salary that you will be earning. You may find that they cancel each other out and that you are just as well off remaining in your state which pays less, but where you also spend less.
How To Boost Your Earnings As A Pharmacy Technician
When considering your pharmacy technician salary by state and workplace, it is obvious that not everyone can simply pack up and move to another state in order to chase a higher paycheck. There are alternative ways to increase your earnings.
As previously mentioned, PTs who are certified will automatically earn a higher income; so the greatest advantage for you would be to obtain that certification if you have not yet done so. This certification could give you leverage when being considered for a promotion or negotiating with your employer for a higher salary; as a CPhT you will almost certainly be considered with greater thought for a promotion than your colleagues who are not certified, as a direct result of your formal training and qualifications.
Staying with the same company for three years or longer could also give you a greater opportunity for a wage increase.
Working a few hours overtime could also boost your earnings. Your job as a pharmacy technician will be demanding, and at times you may find that business is booming, and you will therefore be very busy. This gives rise to the opportunity to work over weekends in some cases, or to work a few hours after you are scheduled to stop for the day. Since you get paid a higher wage per hour when working overtime, this could greatly increase your annual wage should you find that you may need a bit of extra money for the year.
Another factor to take into account is bonuses. Although this may not be something that you can count on as not all companies or hospitals will offer bonuses, it is definitely worth enquiring about. There are even some employers who will offer a sign-on bonus in order to attract possible employees, and this will be a great initiative for you to earn some additional income simply by choosing to accept the job offer. Do make sure that you hold up your end of the deal though, by showing that you are a hard worker and that you deserve that initial bonus. This could even lead to further bonuses down the line of you demonstrate that you are a model employee and an asset to your workplace.
The good news is that the annual wages for pharmacy technicians are definitely on the rise, and have been increasing steadily with each new year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, and Indeed.com, these are the total average salaries since 2009:
- 2009 – $28,940
- 2010 – $32,011
- 2011 – $34,000
- 2012 – $35,000
The career of a pharmacy technician is not a stagnant one, and it is clear that there are many opportunities for you to further develop your skills, thereby proving your worth to the institution in which you work. So make sure that you remain on top of the current events within your industry and that you obtain your re-certification. The figures for a pharmacy technician salary by state should also indicate to you in which areas it would be more profitable for you to work, so if you are considering moving to a different state, make sure that you choose the right one.