How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?

Pharmacy technician jobs offer many opportunities for professional advancement. Learn more about the career and pharmacy tech salary.

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by Thomas Broderick

Updated September 9, 2022

Edited by Kristina Beek
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How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?
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Pharmacy technicians perform many roles in the healthcare field, such as collecting patients' information, measuring medications, and processing payments. Many factors affect pharmacy technician salary, such as education. An on-campus or online associate degree may raise salary potential and open new career paths. Workers may also earn more by developing in-demand skills, such as customer service, math, and multitasking.

A state-approved program prepares learners for a pharmacy technician certification and a career. Students earning a certificate or associate degree can work with their school's career and academic counselors to discuss increasing salary potential. These professionals may recommend working toward becoming a pharmacist or relocating to a state with well-paying pharmacy technician jobs.

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What Is the Average Pharmacy Technician Salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that pharmacy technicians earned a median $36,740 yearly salary as of May 2021. This figure falls below what the average U.S. worker made by about $9,000. The latest Payscale data from August 2022 shows that the average pharmacy tech salary exceeds $39,000. Although this figure is higher than the BLS figure from May 2021, pharmacy techs still make less than most U.S. workers.

Aspiring pharmacy technicians can learn about the profession to discover ways to earn more. Payscale reports that experienced professionals may make $15,000 more annually than the profession's average salary. Other opportunities include exploring different industries.

Job Growth for Pharmacy Technicians

The BLS projects slower-than-average growth of 4% in the need for pharmacy technicians between 2020-2030. The nationwide average growth for all jobs is 8%. Slow growth often makes the job market more competitive.

Prospective pharmacy technicians may want to consider related healthcare careers. Options include pharmacy assistants who focus on clerical duties, such as maintaining paperwork and answering phone calls.

How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Make By State?

As with other careers, pharmacy technician salary varies by state. The BLS' latest data from 2021 shows that workers living in coastal states made more than their peers in the midwest and south. Pharmacy technician jobs in California paid the most in 2021.

Many factors affect why pharmacy tech salary varies, such as demand. High demand for experienced professionals often leads to a better salary. Employers also align pay with their state's cost of living.

Median Salary for Pharmacy Technician by State (2021)

Source: BLS

Where Can I Make the Most Money as a Pharmacy Technician?

Highest-Paying States for Pharmacy Technicians

Many professionals living in the states below made more than the U.S. median salary in May 2021. Reasons include a large population and many dense metropolitan areas.

Pharmacy technicians should research the cost of living before relocating. California and Alaska residents faced a very high cost of living in early 2022, according to the Missouri Economic and Research Information Center.

Highest Paying Pharmacy Technician Jobs
State Annual Mean Salary
California $49,990
Washington $46,830
Alaska $46,160
Oregon $45,240
District of Columbia $45,030

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Pharmacy Technicians

Professionals living in the San Francisco Bay Area made considerably more in May 2021 than the average California pharmacy technician. Job openings must offer a high salary to make up for the area's very high cost of living.

Consider the Bay Area's high rent before relocating. According to Zumper, the average one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco costs about $3,000 per month as of August 2022.

Highest Paying Metropolitan Areas
Metropolitan Area Annual Mean Salary
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $59,340
Napa, CA $58,620
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $58,390
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $57,060
Santa Rosa, CA $56,590

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Nonmetropolitan Areas for Pharmacy Technicians

These nonmetropolitan areas feature well-paying positions due to their proximity to major population centers or remoteness. However, their costs of living exceed the national average. Pharmacy technicians in these areas may need to rely on a partner's income or a second job to afford rent and other essentials.

Highest Paying Nonmetropolitan Areas
Nonmetropolitan Area Annual Mean Salary
North Valley, California $47,440
Alaska $47,400
North Coast, California $45,940
Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode, California $45,600
Central Oregon $43,820

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Industries for Pharmacy Technicians

The latest BLS data from May 2021 shows that industry affects pharmacy technician salary as much as geographic location. These employers offer a high pharmacy tech salary for many reasons, such as government salary schedules or union agreements. Other financial benefits may include medical insurance, paid time off, and tuition reimbursement.

How Can I Increase My Salary as a Pharmacy Technician?

1 Obtain a Postsecondary Degree

The BLS reports that professionals with an associate degree in 2020 made about $150 more per week than workers with only a high school diploma. A typical associate degree takes two years for full-time students to earn. Other aspiring pharmacy technicians may make more by earning an online certificate or diploma.

2 Consider Relocating

Relocating may improve pharmacy tech salaries significantly. Jobs in California, Washington, and Alaska paid workers more than positions in other states in May 2021. However, these states' costs of living exceed the national average.

Consider the best and worst states to change careers before relocating. Georgia, New Hampshire, and Utah offer many advantages for job-seekers.

3 Change Industries

Outpatient care centers and scientific research firms offer the most significant advantage for professionals wanting to increase their certified pharmacy technician salary. Workers in the latter industry assist in clinical research studies. These studies' results lead to the release of new, effective, and safe medications.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pharmacy Technician Salaries

Is it worth it to be a pharmacy technician?

Yes. The BLS projects over 30,000 pharmacy technician openings per year on average from 2020-2030. The BLS also projects that technicians will take on greater responsibilities over the next few years as licensed pharmacists perform more tasks related to direct patient care.

Becoming a pharmacy technician features many advantages, such as developing transferable skills, exploring advancement opportunities, and learning about the pharmaceutical field. The job also helps some workers decide if becoming a licensed pharmacist meets their career goals.

People can research local pharmacy technician programs before making a career change. Admissions advisors answer typical questions about the curriculum and graduate outcomes.

How can a pharmacy technician make more money?

Professionals may increase their pharmacy technician salary in many ways, such as working overtime. Employers pay overtime to employees working more than 40 hours per week.

Other options for workers wanting to earn more include taking continuing education classes. These classes may lead to a college certificate or professional certification. Both improve pharmacy technicians' resumes and help them stand out in a competitive job market.

Workers can explore different employers to improve their pharmacy tech salary. Clinical settings that include hospitals pay more than store pharmacies. Well-paying jobs may require professional certifications and experience.

What industry pays pharmacy technicians the most?

Outpatient care centers featured the highest average certified pharmacy technician salary in May 2021, as per the BLS. These professionals' compensations exceeded what the typical U.S. worker earned by about $11,000. Pharmacy technicians working at an outpatient care center dispense medication to patients undergoing minor surgery not requiring overnight hospitalization.

Other well-paying industries in May 2021 included scientific research and development services. Workers in this field made considerably less than pharmacy technicians working for an outpatient care center. However, the average salary still exceeded the U.S. median by over $3,000.

What states pay pharmacy technicians the most?

According to the BLS, California, Alaska, and Washington featured the highest average pharmacy technician salary in May 2021. Professionals there made much more than the job's median salary. Pharmacy technicians in Oregon and the District of Columbia also earned more than their peers in other states.

Professionals should consider that a high salary may not translate into a better quality of life. States with the best-paying positions feature a higher-than-average cost of living. Workers there may pay more for rent, gasoline, and other essentials. Workers may achieve the best quality of life by comparing potential jobs' salaries to local cost of living expenses.

What is the highest salary a pharmacy technician can make?

Payscale reports that the top 10% of earners make an average of $54,000 or more as of August 2022. Improving skills such as knowledge of nuclear pharmacy and radiopharmacy, and quality assurance may improve salary. Other in-demand skills include oncology and medication administration.

Promotion to a lead pharmacy technician also affects salary potential. Payscale reports that top earners in this position make more than $59,000 on average as of August 2022. These professionals made more due to their job's extra responsibilities, such as training less-experienced pharmacy technicians.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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