Pharmacy Technician Salary
By Ashley Boyce, an allied health world staff writer
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What can pharmacy techs expect to earn?
Pharmacy techs working in retail pharmacies set in grocery stores and pharmacy chain stores, or those working in online pharmacies will typically earn salaries of about $27,000 yearly according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Those working in hospital or other in-facility pharmacies can expect to earn in excess of $31,000 yearly.
Earning national certification often will increase a pharmacy technician’s salary. Shift differential pay for working weekends, nights, and overtime can factor heavily into a pharmacy tech’s yearly income.
Learn more about pharmacy technician training.
What’s the job market like for pharmacy techs?
The BLS projects job growth for pharmacy techs to be much faster than average over the next few years in its survey of American technical professions. According to recently published information, a 32% increase in the number of pharmacy techs employed in the U.S. is expected by 2016. This impressive job growth and the increase in opportunity is in part due to the fact that pharmacy techs are being used to perform many of the same tasks once reserved for higher-paid certified pharmacists. Companies have found that payroll expenses can be reduced by deferring this work to pharmacy techs.
Learn more about pharmacy technician salary.
The advent of more and more pharmaceuticals has caused a tremendous expansion in the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, increasing the demand for well-trained pharmacy technicians. Also, a large portion of the US population will be entering geriatrics in the coming years. An aging population becomes increasingly dependant on pharmaceutical drugs to maintain health and a good quality of life which has also been a contributing factor in the increased demand for pharmacy technicians.
How is pharmacy tech work personally rewarding?
Pharmacy technicians we spoke with were exuberant in describing their work and conveyed a real passion for what they do. They describe a sense of purpose derived from being the custodians of the pharmaceuticals for the sick and elderly who depend on them for a better quality of life. These pharmacy techs also described feeling like a vital part of a team of pharmacy staff members, and described a sense of family among the co-workers they’ve worked side by side with for a number of years.
Pharmacies often see regular customers who need routine prescriptions refills for pain maintenance, or for an ongoing chronic medical condition like diabetes. Elderly people are often regulars as they are among the biggest consumers of prescription pharmaceuticals. Having regular customers allows pharmacy techs to develop friendly professional relationships with their clients, which some pharmacy techs describe as the best part of the job.
Learn more about pharmacy technician certification.
Retail pharmacy techs are more often than not unionized and enjoy very good medical and dental coverage through their employers. Those employed in hospitals can expect medical coverage directly through the institution as being standard.
What is the work environment like in a pharmacy?
The very nature of pharmacy work requires the setting to be exceptionally clean, well organized, and well lit. Despite this order, pharmacy techs we spoke with who work in retail pharmacies described a work environment that can be bustling and borderline chaotic at times. Pharmacies tend to have peak hours during which they serve a large influx of customers. Peak hours are typically in the morning after first opening, and then in the afternoon between the hours of 2pm and 6pm. Retail pharmacy techs are busiest during these times serving customers, but have little reprieve during non-peak hours as they are kept busy with other tasks. There is little or no down-time when working in a retail pharmacy.
In-facility pharmacy techs in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities conduct much of their work in the clean and quite setting of an in-facility office. On occasion they may have some exposure to patients when delivering prepared daily medicinal allocations to patients’ medicine chests which are sometimes located in patients’ quarters. The hours these in-facility techs work coincide with the facilities 24-hour-a-day schedule, so they may be called upon to work nights.
Although most retail pharmacies operate during normal hours, allowing pharmacy techs to work standard shifts, there are many 24-hour retail pharmacies in which techs will be subject to non-standard scheduling that could include nights.
Pharmacy Technician Schools
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- A.S.- Health Sciences (Pharmacy Technician)
Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.
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