Choosing to earn your Pharmacy Technician certificate or degree is an excellent career decision. In the United States, pharmacy technicians are in high demand and employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 32% from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
If you are interested in becoming a pharmacy technician or if you want to know more about this profession, just read on. You will learn more about the pharmacy technician salary, job responsibilities and the general job outlook.
How Much Do Pharmacy Technicians Earn?
According to the May 2010 data of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average hourly wage of pharmacy technicians is $13.65. A typical pharmacy technician works 8 hours a day which means that the average yearly income is $28,400. Pharmacy technicians in the lower tenth percentile earn $9.54 per hour or $19,840 per annum. The technicians belonging to the upper 10th percentile receive an hourly wage of $19.57 with a yearly income of $40,710.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
What Are the Factors Affecting Pharmacy Technician Salary?
There are many factors affecting the wage of pharmacy technicians. The more common ones include geographic location, industry and experience.
Geographic location pertains to the physical location of your workplace. The top paying states for pharmacy technicians include Alaska ($39,210 per annum), Washington ($37,290 per annum), California ($37,280 per annum), Hawaii ($34,920 per annum) and District of Columbia ($34,850 per annum).
The rates per city differ as well. The top paying cities are San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara which are all located in the state of California. The average annual wage for pharmacy technicians in this area is $41,940.
The income of a pharmacy technician is also affected significantly by the industry of the workplace. Those employed by the government can earn an average of $39,940 annually. That is significantly higher than the average yearly income of specialty hospital’s pharmacy techs which is $36,100.
Like any other job, experience affects the pharmacy technician’s salary. As a novice pharmacy technician with less than one year experience, you can expect an hourly wage from $7 to $13. With continued experience, training and education, you can expect a $9 to $16 hourly salary.
How Difficult Is It to Become a Pharmacy Technician?
Working as a Pharmacy Technician requires that you have your High School Diploma or GED. To make themselves more competitive, many individuals choose to pursue their Pharmacy Technician Degree or Certificate. The cost and length to complete these courses vary by state, but many take only a year and cost less than $2000. Browse Pharmacy Technician training programs by state.
Gaining certification is a big advantage. Once the candidate has completed training, he or she can take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam. Those who pass this examination will get the title of Certified Pharmacy Technician or CPhT.
There are pharmacy technician schools located in most US states. You can choose a community college, private institute or even an online program. The most important part is selecting an accredited school that will train you to become a successful pharmacy technician.
What are the Functions of Pharmacy Technicians?
The responsibility of a pharmacy technician is to assist a licensed pharmacist. Under the management of the pharmacist, technicians help prepare prescription medications, provide customer service, and perform administrative duties. In hospitals or nursing homes, pharmacy techs are given the extra responsibilities of delivering the medications to physicians or other health care workers. Pharmaceutical functions such as mixing, weighing and counting medications are also completed by these technicians.
Though they are not qualified to give medical advice, the pharmacy technician’s job includes gathering information from both patients and physicians in order to fill prescriptions. They often act as customer support for the institution that they are working for. In smaller settings, pharmacy technicians are also the ones who perform administrative work such as filing paperwork and handling stock. Pharmacy techs are also responsible for operating the cash register. Arranging insurance claim forms and keeping patient records are some more examples of their non-pharmaceutical functions.
Pharmacy techs work in retail pharmacies, health stores, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings. It is required that their work environment be neat and highly-organized. They don’t often have time to sit because they spend most of their time behind the counter. At times, they are asked to climb ladders in order to retrieve medicine. Stocking shelves and carrying boxes are tasks given to some pharmacy technicians as well. Since the majority of medical facilities and pharmacies are open 24/7, they may be assigned to the night shift.
If you are looking for a career or if you want a new career, becoming a pharmacy technician is a great option. In the future, the demand for pharmacy technicians is only expected to increase.