So, you’ve done your research, you’ve passed the board-certified training program, gotten some real-life experience, and passed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board Exam; now, you are a fully-fledged certified pharmacy technician.
“Do pharmacy techs make good money?” is a reasonable question any person looking to get into the workforce should ask. After so much time studying, training, and preparing for the archetypical behind-the-counter job, having to put other job prospects and work to the side in the process, you may want to know whether the career you spent so much time on is lucrative enough to pursue. Otherwise, you may have to start finding another job and do it all over again! There is only one thing on your mind: do pharmacy techs make good money?
Do Pharmacy Technicians Get Paid Well?
Before we find out how much pharmacy techs get paid, we have to ask ourselves a few questions, like “what does a pharmacy tech do to get paid in the first place?”, “how much are pharmacy techs paid on average” and finally, “what influences that salary in the first place?”
Like any job, pharmacy techs get compensation for their work. Pharmacy technicians do quite a lot of work behind the pharmacy counter, including:
- Understanding drug classes, drug mechanisms, and why specific medication is prescribed for particular diseases,
- Applying the various laws and regulations when it comes to distributing and approving drugs and medication,
- Whether or not a prescription or medicine is sterile, i.e., no longer performs its intended effect,
- Properly imbursing and reimbursing customers and patients for their medication, and
- Working with the Pharmacy Information Systems to maintain the supply and organization of drugs.
Other skills necessary for the job include knowing data entry, ordering inventory, and using a program such as Microsoft Office (including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, etc.).
Pharmacy technicians are tasked with handling delicate and specific tasks; significant enough errors could threaten the health of patients (and the licenses of hundreds of pharmacies). It is a job that should pay very well for its work, not including the hurdles and hassles it takes even to get certified for the job (or even that the job requires certification!). But do pharmacy techs get paid well?
No job has a uniform salary, and no job is bereft of bonuses, raises, pay docking, or layoffs that may or may not affect your overall income. If you are interested in whether pharmacy techs get paid well, you first need to understand the standard or baseline (let’s say, $25,000 a year, $10 an hour as the minimum line for a job that “pays well”). If the job matches or exceeds that standard, then it is a job that pays well. What we need to find out is if pharmacy technicians get paid that well.
How Much Do Pharmacy Techs Make?
Pharmacy technicians make a slightly below-average salary. Nationally, the average pharmacy tech salary is $34,020 a year, or $17 per hour, which is $15,000 less than the average annual salary for other occupations in the United States, or $52,000. We should not be take on its face, however; the actual wage varies depending on factors such as where the job is located or the applicant’s experience in the field of pharmacology.
Each state in the United States has its average pharmacy tech salary. The highest paying states, such as Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon, and North Dakota, have an annual salary between $39,000 to $43,000, which is a noticeable increase from the national average but still lower than the national average for every other occupation. Conversely, the states with the lowest pay for pharmacy technicians, such as West Virginia, Kentucky, and Arkansas, make as low as $28,000 or close to half the annual national average salary for every other job.
$34,020 is below the national average, but not in the slightest lousy pay for a job like that. Additionally, it is only expected that the income for the job will increase in the future.
In summary, being a pharmacy tech is not a job you choose to become a wealthy or prolific physician. Still, it is a comfortable, reliable job that will grant you a decent income for a decent amount of work.
Where Do Pharmacy Techs Make the Most Money?
It should be evident that pharmacy techs primarily make money working in pharmacies, drug stores, and hospitals: workplaces where drugs and medication are often not just delivered but distributed to patients. A pharmacy tech’s job, as established, is to make sure that the right drugs and medication go to the right people for the right reasons.
Workplaces that make enough money to buy and sell expensive, over-the-counter drugs may be where pharmacy technicians make the most money. After all, these medications are not just expensive for both the patient and the distributor but require delicate handling as improper medication or other problems like mismanaging inventory or insurance can cost the pharmacy or hospital millions.
Hospitals pay pharmacy technicians more than drugstores or pharmacies or regular grocery stores that may sell medication.
Five Factors that Influence the Salary of a Pharmacy Technician
Here, we talk about five distinct and defining factors that influence the salary of a pharmacy technician. Though this isn’t a list of tips, per se, considering these ideas may provide you the high-paying pharmacy tech job you are looking for and help avoid the pit traps of lousy pay.
Location, Location, Location
The first and most crucial factor that influences the average pharmacy tech salary is where you will decide to work. Some cities and towns are much more reliant on medication and pharmacy work than others, and as such, they would pay a salary appropriate for a business that relies heavily on that work. Additionally, the quality of the company and pharmacy may also matter: newer, more prestigious buildings can afford to pay their employees higher wages (though this doesn’t necessarily mean they will!).
If necessary, consider moving to a city that fits your job interests a lot better than the one you’re currently in. Hospitals and pharmacies are the best businesses and workplaces to look at for well-paying pharmacy technician jobs. However, small local clinics and doctor’s offices may often require the services of pharmacy technicians.
Pharmacology, in general, is a promising, lucrative career, so there should be no shortage of local businesses and pharmacies that are willing to pay for a decent hand. However, the exact work environment is a topic that is better suited for the following item on the list.
Competition and the Work Environment
The work environment, which is different from the literal location, may also factor into the pharmacy tech’s salary. You may be working with other pharmacy technicians, all of whom bare equal or higher experience than your own, or you could be pulling a one-man army running the entire building on your own. Either case can affect your salary, as the pharmacy may have to pay several people who all work just as hard as you.
Some places may pay well, but they may not be places you want to work, so be wary of the work environment of the job as well as its average pay. As stated before, hospitals pay more on average than pharmacies and drug stores.
As stated before, the field of pharmaceuticals is a field that is considered very important to many people, but as a result, you start to run into competition. Additionally, even some wealthier businesses can’t afford to have too many people working at once in a workplace.
Work & Additional Benefits
Outside the realm of a particular salary, making money with a job may not always be about the paycheck. Due to external factors such as a home situation, you may make more money through assistance or work with a group that provides additional benefits. Your benefits also affect the base salary of a pharmacy technician if they decide that you “make too much.”
Benefits you make outside of the job entirely may positively or negatively influence the amount of money you make as a pharmacy technician.
Experience Matters (A Lot)
Employers are more willing to look your way if you have a good resume demonstrating your experience history. If you are a novice with no practical experience, you will struggle to find jobs that pay an even standard salary.
Higher-level positions are made exclusively for those who have racked up a hefty amount of experience in the field. Naturally, those positions may net a higher salary. However, be wary of jobs that ask for a lot of experience for entry-level positions. They may want to use your vast experience for menial positions that don’t pay as much as your expertise implies to take advantage of you.
Veterans of the field enjoy the higher-level salaries of the job, either due to choosing to move to states and locations that may sell better or simply earning higher positions and spots through their experience.
Your Work Output
Many people believe that your hard work is explicitly rewarded. If you work overtime, double your output, and commit, you may earn a raise or bonus. Of course, this may depend on how kind your boss is.
This applies the opposite way—pharmacy technicians who do a poor job and cannot keep up with the workload are at risk of having their pay docked and making less money or being in a less desirable position.
How to Increase Your Salary as a Pharmacy Technician?
Like any job, there is an excellent middleman to your career and your paycheck. I want to tell you that if you just work hard and be a good worker, you will get that raise that you are so due, but often your work output is ignored. It is a risky proposition, but the first thing you should do to increase your salary is simply to ask your boss for a raise. You may succeed and enjoy a new windfall of cash, or fail, or must jump through hoops to get an audience, but it is the most reliable method to increase your salary.
Secondly, you can specialize and climb the corporate ladder by choosing a particular field, such as:
- The pharmacy operations manager, who assists the pharmacy director in maintaining pharmacies and pharmacy programs, or
- The community pharmacy technician, who tends to work closer to other pharmacy techs and patients.
Finally, you can pursue higher education, qualifications, and experience to make you stand out and land a higher-level and better-paying position within the company or elsewhere.
Wrapping Things Up: Do Pharmacy Techs Make Good Money?
Do pharmacy techs make good money? From the standards we set up in our little guide, we can conclusively say that it highly depends on where you live, what you want, and how you can work. In conclusion, it takes the right place at the right time for a pharmacy technician to make good money. Better start looking at local state salaries!
If you found this post helpful, you’re definitely going to like our other medical school tips here.