Pharmacy Technician Jobs

Training and Education Jobs and Salaries

Pharmacy technicians held about 285,000 jobs and about 71 percent of these jobs are in retail pharmacies, either independently owned or part of a drugstore chain, grocery store, department store, or mass retailer. About 18 percent of jobs are in hospitals and a small proportion are in mail-order and Internet pharmacies, offices of physicians, pharmaceutical wholesalers, and the Federal Government.

Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase much faster than the average through 2016, and job opportunities are expected to be good. Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 32 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The increased number of middle-aged and elderly people who use more prescription drugs than younger people will spur demand for technicians throughout the projection period. In addition, as scientific advances bring treatments for an increasing number of conditions, more pharmacy technicians will be needed to fill a growing number of prescriptions.

As cost-conscious insurers begin to use pharmacies as patient-care centers, pharmacy technicians will assume responsibility for some of the more routine tasks previously performed by pharmacists. In addition, they will adopt some of the administrative duties that were previously performed by pharmacy aides, such as answering phones and stocking shelves. Reducing the need for pharmacy technicians to some degree, however, will be the growing use of drug dispensing machines.

These machines increase productivity by completing some of the pharmacy technician duties, namely counting pills and placing them into prescription containers. These machines are only used for the most common medications, however, and their effect on employment should be minimal. Almost all States have legislated the maximum number of technicians who can safely work under a pharmacist at one time. Changes in these laws could directly affect employment. Good job opportunities are expected for full-time and part-time work, especially for technicians with formal training or previous experience. Job openings for pharmacy technicians will result from employment growth, and from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

Median hourly earnings of wage and salary pharmacy technicians are around $12.35. The middle 50 percent earn between $10.00 and $15.00. The lowest ten percent earn less than $8.60, and the highest ten percent earn more than $17.65. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of pharmacy technicians are as follows: general medical and surgical hospitals pay around $13.86, grocery stores pay around $12.78, and pharmacies and drug stores pay about $11.50 per hour. Certified technicians may earn more than non-certified technicians. Shift differentials for working evenings or weekends also can increase earnings. Some technicians belong to unions representing hospital or grocery store workers and may enjoy further benefits.