What is a Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy technician (also known as Pharmaceutical Technician, Certified Pharmacy Technician or Pharmacy Laboratory Technician) is a health care worker responsible for preparing and dispensing medications under the supervision of a pharmacist. Read more about pharmacy technician job description.

Work Environment

Over 50% of all pharmacy technicians work in retail pharmacies and drug stores, 18% work in hospitals, and 12% work in grocery and department stores. Others may work in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers and third-party insurance companies. Pharmacy technicians are expected to be on their feet throughout their workday.

Work Schedule

Pharmacy technicians are expected to work any time of the week, including evenings and weekends, depending on the pharmacy’s hours of operation. Technicians working for insurance companies, government agencies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, computer software companies, and long term care facilities will have more regular business hour shifts.

Average Pharmacy Technician Salary

In the United States, the average annual pharmacy technician salary is $30,840. While the bottom 10% of individuals within this profession make less than $20,640, those who find themselves in the upper 10% of the pay bracket can expect to earn $43,230. Pharmacy technicians working for the federal government gets paid the best with an annual salary of $40,890. Other top paying industries are outpatient care centers ($39,050) and physician offices ($37,780). Those with the highest salaries live in the state of California, including the metropolitan areas of Oakland, Napa, San Francisco, San Jose and Madera.

Pharmacy Technician Salary: Quick Summary 

2013 Mean Salary$30,840 per year
$14.83 per hour
Top 10% Salary$43,230 per year
$20.78 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$20,640 per year
$9.92 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2013362,690

Average Pharmacy Tech Salary vs. Related Occupations

Pharmacy technicians averages $30,840 in annual income, which is on the low end of the pay spectrum. Pharmacy technicians earn slightly more than veterinary assistants ($25,110), certified nursing assistants ($26,020), and medical assistants ($30,780). Their pay, however, is much lower than most other health care professionals such as pharmacists ($116,500), dental hygienists ($71,530), and ultrasound technicians ($67,170).

Job Outlook

The growing demand for pharmacy technicians is only becoming stronger each and every year. As a matter of fact, from 2012 to 2022, the growth rate of positions in the industry is expected to increase by 20%, resulting in almost 70,700 new jobs. Because only a high school education is required to perform the essential tasks of this profession, it is an easily attainable position for those looking for work after obtaining a high school diploma or GED equivalent. However, it should be noted that some states do require formal training programs prior to being eligible for employment, making it slightly more difficult to secure a job in this industry.

A career in the pharmacy field is very promising as the whole pharmaceutical industry is expected to grow about 10% per year for the next decade. Rising numbers of people diagnosed with chronic diseases, especially in younger adults, and the constant innovation of new pharmaceutical drugs all play a factor in this growth. Job opportunities are especially good for those with previous experience, formal training, or certification.

Pharmacy Technician Salary: Factors of Influence

The essential role of a pharmacy technician is to assist a licensed pharmacist in dispensing prescription medication. Of course, this implies that these individuals can find work wherever there is a pharmacy, specifically within grocery stores, drug stores, and even in hospitals. Because of the prevalence of pharmacies in these many locations, the growth rate of jobs in the industry comes as no surprise, giving individuals the opportunity for advancement as well.

Like many other professions, there are a number of factors that together exert significant influence over the salary of pharmacy technicians. Just some of these factors to consider include training, industry, and various components related to location.

Experience and Training

Although it is not absolutely necessary to receive any special training to become a pharmacy technician in some states, in others this can make a difference in employment opportunities and starting salary. Employers typically prefer to hire individuals with proper certification over those who has no prior experience in the field. Mainly because those who possess certifications require less initial training, and are expected to be more proficient at their job. Training and experience is highly valued in any industry, and pharmacy technicians are no different. A new grad may only start out at $9.80 per hour while those with more than 20 years of experience can expect hourly salary of $20 or more.


A large number of pharmacies are found in health care and personal stores, it comes as no surprise that over half of all pharmacy technicians are employed in this industry, earning just under $30,840. Technicians with more experience are likely to find jobs in industries necessitating more advanced qualifications, such as the federal executive branch and outpatient care centers. These individuals make more than $40,000 yearly, which is $10,000 more than those that work in health care and personal stores.


Top-paying states for this profession are primarily focused around the West coast, although the highest levels of employment are overwhelmingly within the Midwest and on the East coast. This suggests that states with lower levels of employment in relation to population totals are those that are more likely to pay pharmacy technicians a higher wage.

8 of the top 10 metropolitan districts with the highest earning pharmacy technicians are all found within California, suggesting that high demand for experienced professionals within specific towns significantly increases an individual’s opportunity to bring home anywhere from $41,210 to $48,100 each year. Relatedly, smaller nonmetropolitan areas are most likely to offer the highest pay to pharmacy technicians, many of which can also be found within California and other East coast states like Washington and Alaska. This makes sense because it is the result of supply and demand.