Working as a pharmacy technician can be a practical way for undergraduate students looking to earn a PharmD degree to gain clinical experience. Earning a Pharmacy Technician Certification can be the stepping stone that allows pre-health students to apply for graduate school and the boost they need to stand out.
By attaining a Pharmacy Technician Certification, students are able to gain practical experience while also earning an income. These positions typically offer competitive hourly wages and flexible job hours, making them ideal for students. With this medical certification, students can work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and retail pharmacies. This not only provides a source of income to support their post-graduate education but also allows them to continue their undergraduate studies.
How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?
If you’re wondering how much pharmacy technicians make, it’s important to understand that the salary of a pharmacy technician is influenced by various factors, including location, type of employer, and level of education and certification. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for pharmacy technicians in the U.S. is $37,790. However, this can vary significantly based on where you work. For instance, outpatient care centers offer an average salary of $57,240, while general retail stores offer around $41,720.
In metropolitan areas, particularly in California, salaries can be higher, but it’s important to consider the cost of living in these areas. The type of role and workplace also plays a crucial role in determining income. More specialized positions generally offer higher pay. Additionally, further education and certifications can increase your competitiveness and earning potential in this field. The job outlook for pharmacy technicians remains strong, with a projected job growth of 5.6% through 2032.
Hourly Rate Per Facility Type
The BLS lists the national average pay for a pharmacy technician as $18.14 per hour. This figure encompasses a range of medical settings across various states.
The type of workplace significantly influences a pharmacy technician’s earnings. Outpatient care centers top the list, offering an average hourly rate of $27.52. On the other end of the spectrum, retail health and personal care stores, including pharmacies and drug stores, typically offer around $18.11 per hour.
Intermediate salary ranges are seen in sectors like research and development services, medical and surgical hospitals, and general retail stores, with hourly wages averaging $25.42, $22.32, and $20.06, respectively.
When considering your career path as a pharmacy technician, salary is an important factor, but it’s not the only one. Reflect on the work environment that aligns best with your career goals, the type of work you’re passionate about, and the patient or client interactions you seek. This holistic approach will guide you in finding a fulfilling role in the field.
- Outpatient Care Centers: $27.52 per hour
- Research & Development: $25.42 per hour
- Hospitals & Medical Facilities: $22.32 per hour
- General Retail Stores: $20.06 per hour
- National Average: $18.14 per hour
- Retail Health & Personal Care Stores: $18.11 per hour
Hourly Rate by Location
The question, “How much does a pharmacy tech make?” often leads to considering the influence of location. In regions where living costs, including utilities, rent, and groceries, are higher, employers typically offer increased wages to offset these expenses.
Notably, the West Coast, especially metropolitan areas, boasts some of the highest salaries for pharmacy technicians. For instance, cities in California’s Bay Area offer wages ranging from $25.36 to $28.19 per hour. Even in less expensive areas like Sacramento and Santa Maria, pharmacy technicians earn respectable wages of $23.66 and $22.55, respectively, still above the national average.
Washington and Alaska also stand out for their competitive pay rates. Olympia, Washington, offers an average of $23.72 per hour, while Fairbanks, Alaska, provides around $23.29.
Conversely, states like Arkansas, Alabama, and West Virginia are on the lower end of the pay scale, with hourly wages of $16.26, $16.97, and $16.64, respectively. The lower cost of living in these regions is a key factor behind these figures.
However, many states fall within the middle range regarding pharmacy technician salaries. For example, Nevada averages $19.20 per hour, while Nebraska’s average is $17.61. These figures reflect a balance between cost of living and wage scales across different parts of the country.
Highest Paying States, by Average:
- Washington: $24.15 per hour
- California: $21.23 per hour
- Alaska: $21.58 per hour
Lowest Paying States, by Average:
- Arkansas: $16.26 per hour
- West Virginia: $16.64 per hour
- Alabama: $16.97 per hour
Navigating the Financial Path to Pharmacy School
Pursuing a pharmacy education often comes with a significant financial burden. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the average student loan debt for pharmacy graduates stands at a daunting $170,444. However, student loans aren’t the only avenue for funding your graduate education. There are also opportunities like merit scholarships, grants, and private donor funds that can help alleviate the financial strain.
With the rising costs of graduate school, it’s crucial to start planning your journey to pharmacy school as early as possible. One strategic approach is to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician. This role not only offers you invaluable clinical experience in a pharmacy setting but also provides a source of income. The earnings from working as a pharmacy technician can be a practical way to save for your graduate education, reducing the reliance on loans and helping to secure a more financially stable future as you embark on your pharmacy career.
Fast-Track Your Pharmacy Technician Certification with ACT
Discover the path to becoming a certified pharmacy technician with Advanced eClinical Training (ACT). Our 12-week online course, designed for flexibility, is perfect for students pursuing pre-pharmacy, pre-med, or pre-PA studies.
Upon successful completion of the course, you’ll be fully prepared to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification exam administered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Additionally, you have the option to pursue the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT) through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), broadening your professional credentials.
ACT is committed to providing accessible and affordable online medical certifications specifically tailored for pre-health students. Our programs are not only cost-effective but also crafted to fit into your busy schedule, allowing you to complete your certification in just a few weeks. Enroll today and take a significant step towards your dream career in the medical field, gaining valuable knowledge and skills along the way.