Quick Facts: Pharmacy Technician:
- 2012 Median Pay: $29,320 per year$14.10 per hour
- Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent
- Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
- n-the-job Training: Moderate-term on-the-job training
- Number of Jobs 2012: 355,300
- Job Outlook 2012 – 22: 20% (Faster than average)
- Employment Change 2012-22: 70,700
Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health professionals.
Pharmacy technician work in pharmacies, including those found in grocery and drug stores, and in hospitals. Most work full time, but many work part time.
Becoming a pharmacy technician usually requires earning a high school diploma or the equivalent. Pharmacy technicians typically learn through on-the-job training, or they may complete a postsecondary education program. Most states regulate pharmacy technicians, which is a process that may require passing an exam or completing a formal education or training program.
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 in May 2012.
Employment of pharmacy technician is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Several factors will lead to increased demand for prescription medications.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of pharmacy technicians with similar occupations.
Pharmacy Technicians job description and Outlook
Pharmacy technician held about 355,300 jobs in 2012. They worked primarily in pharmacies, including those found in grocery and drug stores. Some technicians work in hospitals or clinics. Pharmacy technician spend most of the workday on their feet.
The industries that employed the most pharmacy technicians in 2012 were as follows:
|Pharmacies and drug stores||53%|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||17|
|General merchandise stores||12|
|Ambulatory health care services||3|
Most pharmacy technicians work full time. Pharmacies may be open at all hours. Therefore, pharmacy technician may have to work nights or weekends.
The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,580, and the top 10 percent earned more than $42,400.
In May 2012, the median annual wages for pharmacy technicians in the top five industries in which these technicians worked were as follows:
|Ambulatory health care services||$35,470|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||33,550|
|Pharmacies and drug stores||28,030|
|General merchandise stores||27,450|
Most pharmacy technicians work full time. Pharmacies may be open at all hours. Therefore, pharmacy technicians may have to work nights or weekends.
Employment of pharmacy technicians is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Several factors will lead to increased demand for prescription medications.
The population is aging, and older people typically use more prescription medicines than younger people. Higher rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes among all age groups also will lead to increased demand for prescription medications. Advances in pharmaceutical research will allow for more prescription medications to be used to fight diseases.
The number of individuals who have health insurance will increase due to federal health insurance reform legislation. As more people have access to insurance coverage, more pharmacy technicians will be needed to handle their prescriptions.
In addition, pharmacy technicians may be needed to take on a greater role in pharmacy operations because pharmacists are increasingly performing more patient care activities such as giving flu shots. Technicians will need to perform tasks such as collecting patient information, preparing more types of medications, and verifying the work of other technicians, tasks formerly done by pharmacists.
Job prospects should be good for pharmacy technician, particularly those with formal training, certification, and those with experience in retail settings.
Employment projections data for pharmacy technicians, 2012-22:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Pharmacy Technicians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm (visited November 19, 2014).
Pharmacy technician practice tests:
Take our following Pharmacy Technician practice tests will help you prepare for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) offered by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB). Passing this exam is a required step in attaining the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) designation.