Pharmacy Technician Salary in the United States (March 2024)

by | Published on Jan 24, 2024 | Compensation

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Pharmacy technicians play a critical role in the healthcare industry, serving as essential support personnel for pharmacists and helping to ensure the smooth operation of pharmacies. The role of a pharmacy technician encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from managing inventory to assisting with the preparation and dispensing of medications.

As of the most recent data, the average pharmacy technician salary in the United States stands at $46,048 per year. This figure reflects the importance of their position within the pharmacy, acknowledging their expertise and the vital services they provide to both pharmacists and patients. Salary levels can vary based on factors such as geographical location, experience, education, and the type of pharmacy setting in which they work, ranging from retail to hospital.

The chart above effectively illustrates the salary distribution for pharmacy technicians, highlighting three critical data points that represent the range of earnings within the profession. The 25th percentile, marked at $40,944, indicates that 25% of pharmacy technicians earn less than this amount, suggesting the entry-level or lower end of the pay scale. The median salary, positioned at $45,823, serves as the midpoint of the distribution, where half of the pharmacy technicians earn more and the other half earn less, providing a benchmark for the ‘typical’ salary within this field.

Finally, the 75th percentile is denoted at $51,081, showing that 75% of technicians make less than this amount, while the top 25% earn more, reflecting those with higher levels of experience, specialization, or roles in more lucrative settings. This tiered representation offers a clear view of the salary landscape for pharmacy technicians, showcasing the progression and potential earnings growth within their career.

Job Overview

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  • Pharmacy technician salaries significantly vary by location, with top-paying states including California, Washington, Alaska, and cities like San Francisco, Napa, and Jersey City offering the highest average salaries reflecting factors such as cost of living and local market demand.
  • Certifications, both national (CPhT) and state, although essential for career advancements, do not alone account for salary differences; more influence is observed from experience, employer type, and state of employment.
  • Pharmacy technician salaries are affected by several factors, such as work setting (higher in hospitals, lower in retail), regional demand (with areas like San Francisco experiencing higher demand and consequently, higher salaries), and additional aspects such as shift differentials, cost of living, and education level.

Navigating the Landscape of Pharmacy Technician Salaries

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In the bustling world of healthcare, pharmacy technicians play a pivotal role. They work under the guidance of pharmacists to ensure smooth operation of pharmacies. But how does the geography of employment impact a pharmacy technician’s salary? It’s not surprising to learn that just like any other job, the pay varies by location.

Here are some examples of how the salary of a pharmacy technician can vary based on location:

  • A pharmacy tech in sunny California earns a different wage than their counterpart in Alaska
  • The cost of living in a particular area can also impact the salary of a pharmacy technician
  • The demand for pharmacy technicians in a specific region can affect their earning potential

So, if you’re considering a career as a pharmacy technician, it’s important to research the salary trends in your desired location to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

The national average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States is $346,048, but this varies widely depending on several factors. Factors such as:

  • the state
  • education and certification
  • experience
  • type of employer

all come into play, making the pharmacy technician salary a complex landscape to navigate. For instance, the states offering the highest salaries to pharmacy technicians include California, Washington, and Alaska, with Kansas City also being a competitive city for pharmacy technicians.

State-by-State Breakdown: Average Technician Salary

As previously stated, salaries for pharmacy technicians across the US can vary considerably by state. If you’re a pharmacy tech in California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, or the District of Columbia, you’re in luck because these states offer the highest average salaries for this profession. On the other hand, pharmacy technicians typically receive the lowest average salaries in New York, Vermont, and Maine. However, despite the lower salaries, the job outlook for pharmacy technicians in these states is positive, with a projected growth rate of 4% from 2019 to 2029.

But why such a disparity in salaries across states? The variation in pharmacy technician salaries across states can be attributed to several factors, such as:

  • Differences in experience
  • Cost of living
  • Local market demand
  • Education and certification
  • Type of employer

These factors are all part of a pharmacy technician’s job description and work environment, hence playing a significant role in determining the salary.

City Spotlight: Where Do Pharmacy Techs Earn the Most?

Highest Salary

Although state-by-state comparisons offer a general understanding of salaries, a more detailed picture emerges when we focus on the city level. Pharmacy technicians in the top-paying cities in the United States, such as San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, Napa, CA, and York Newark Jersey City, often work in drug stores, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, earning a substantial paycheck. But what contributes to the higher salaries in these cities? Factors like:

  • Level of experience
  • Education
  • Certification
  • Location
  • Type of job
  • Employer

All play a part. Additionally, a growing population and increasing demand for healthcare services in a city can also contribute to competitive salaries for pharmacy technicians.

Taking San Francisco as an example, The typical salary range for a pharmacy technician in this city is $27.31 per hour. In comparison, the pharmacy technician salary in New York City exceeds the national average by approximately $950. Therefore, it’s clear that cities offer a different salary outlook for pharmacy techs, making it one of the crucial factors to consider when planning a healthcare career in this field.

The Role of Certification in Salary Variations

Certification plays a significant role in a pharmacy technician’s career. It not only validates their competency but also significantly impacts their salary. Certified pharmacy technicians generally command higher salaries compared to non-certified technicians. There are two types of certification: national and state. National certification signifies successful completion of a proficiency-based exam, while state certification grants authorization to practice as a pharmacy technician within a specific state.

While both certifications enable pharmacy technicians to be eligible for similar positions, salary discrepancies are more influenced by factors like experience, location, and employer rather than the specific certification obtained. Therefore, while it’s beneficial to be certified, pharmacy techs need to consider other factors for a higher salary.

National Certification vs. State Requirements

To obtain national certification, potential candidates must successfully pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) to attain the CPhT credential. Eligibility to take the exam necessitates possession of a high school diploma, GED, or foreign equivalent. However, when it comes to salary, state requirements and variables such as experience and work location exert a more substantial influence than national certification.

Interestingly, the average annual pharmacy technician’s salary for both nationally certified and state certified pharmacy technicians is approximately $37,790. This suggests that the type of certification might not be the most significant factor in determining the salary. Rather, it’s the combination of various factors including the state of employment, experience, and type of employer that have a more profound impact.

Advancing from Technician to Certified Pharmacy Technician

Advancing from a pharmacy technician to a certified pharmacy technician involves a series of steps. It requires completing a training program, preparing for and taking the certification exam, and acquiring practical experience. This process not only enhances the skill set but also results in an increased average annual salary in comparison to non-certified technicians.

Certification also has a significant impact on job opportunities and career mobility for pharmacy technicians. It’s often required by some states and employers and provides the flexibility to work in different locations. So, while certification might not drastically increase the salary, it certainly opens up more opportunities for career advancement and flexibility.

Key Employers and Job Markets for Pharmacy Technicians

Best paying cities

Understanding the primary employers and job markets can greatly influence the salary of a pharmacy technician. Pharmacies and drug retailers such as Target, Publix, Sam’s Club, Kroger, and Walgreens are the primary employers of pharmacy technicians in the United States. Pharmacy technicians are typically employed in pharmacies, including those located in drug, general merchandise, and grocery stores, as well as in hospitals.

Considering the regional demand for pharmacy technicians is also vital. For instance, San Francisco, California is among the cities experiencing the highest demand for pharmacy technicians. With high demand comes a higher salary, making it an ideal job market for aspiring pharmacy techs.

Hospitals vs. Retail: Comparing Work Settings

The work setting greatly influences a pharmacy technician’s salary. The average annual salary for a pharmacy technician in a hospital setting is $43,791, whereas in a retail setting, it amounts to $37,790. This disparity arises due to the intricacies of the hospital environment, the critical nature of their duties, and additional responsibilities that are unique to hospital settings.

In a retail setting, pharmacy technicians have responsibilities that include:

  • Communicating with patients
  • Processing prescriptions
  • Preparing and dispensing medication
  • Measuring and mixing medication as required
  • Supporting pharmacists with tasks such as stocking, labeling, maintaining records, and other duties where a pharmacy technician assists

These roles, while vital, do not command as high a salary as those in a hospital setting.

High-Demand Regions: Employment Opportunities

Delving deeper into regions with high demand for pharmacy technician employment reveals more insights. Factors like the projected job growth, increased demand for pharmacy services, and the expansion of the healthcare sector contribute to certain regions being high-demand for pharmacy technicians. The demand for pharmacy technicians is consistent in both urban and rural areas, suggesting no significant difference in the need for these professionals across different regions.

In regions with high demand, the salaries of pharmacy technicians may be influenced by increased competition for qualified professionals, as the availability of job opportunities can affect salary levels. For instance, the city of Los Angeles, California is recognized as a notable high-demand region for pharmacy technician jobs in the U.S.. So, if you’re considering a career as a pharmacy tech, these high-demand regions might be worth considering.

Education and Experience: Their Influence on Pharmacy Tech Salaries

Gain experience

A pharmacy technician’s salary is also influenced by education and experience. The average salary for an entry-level pharmacy technician ranges from $18.67 to $19.27 per hour in the United States. As they gain more experience, pharmacy technicians can anticipate a rise in their earnings. By demonstrating exceptional performance in their duties and assuming additional responsibilities, they can potentially increase their annual income to an average of $47,480.

To become a pharmacy technician, the following requirements must be met:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Proficiency in subjects such as math and English through examinations (some programs may require this)
  • Optional: Obtaining certifications like Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) or specialized certifications, which can notably enhance a pharmacy technician’s salary

Interestingly, the possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher education does not have a significant impact on the salary of a pharmacy technician.

Entry-Level Expectations: Starting Salaries for New Techs

The initial compensation for a pharmacy technician in the United States is $18.98 per hour or $36,397 per year. However, this figure exhibits variability across states. For instance, the median annual salary for entry-level pharmacy technicians is:

  • $36,050 in Georgia
  • $38,620 in Hawaii
  • $38,300 in Idaho
  • $38,370 in Illinois

The initial salary of a pharmacy technician can be impacted by various factors including their level of experience and education, the type of health facility or employer, and the location. Therefore, while the initial salary might not be sky-high, with experience and the right set of skills, pharmacy techs can look forward to a promising salary growth.

Climbing the Ladder: Salary Growth with Experience

As pharmacy technicians accumulate experience, there is a general tendency for their salaries to increase. Many pharmacy technicians experience a salary increase after the first year of working in the field, with the specific amount and frequency of these raises depending on various factors such as the workplace and work environment.

As pharmacy technicians gain more experience, they can pursue career advancement opportunities such as:

  • Lead Pharmacy Technician
  • Pharmacy Technician Supervisor
  • Pharmacy Technician Specialist
  • Pharmacy Operations Manager

Additionally, experienced pharmacy technicians can enhance their salary growth opportunities by acquiring formal education, such as a certificate or associate degree in pharmacy technology, and by actively advocating for fair pay increases.

Beyond Basic Pay: Additional Factors Affecting Earnings

Beyond the factors already discussed, other elements can also impact a pharmacy technician’s earnings. Shift differential pay, for instance, encompasses the supplementary compensation provided to pharmacy technicians for their service during non-standard working hours, such as evenings, nights, or weekends. The impact of shift differentials on pharmacy technician salaries may differ based on variables like geographical location and the policies of the employer.

The cost of living is another important consideration. The influence of the cost of living in a particular area is significant in shaping the salary levels of pharmacy technicians. Locations with a higher cost of living typically offer higher salaries to pharmacy technicians to enable them to uphold a satisfactory standard of living.

Shift Differentials: Earning More Money After Hours

Pharmacy technicians have the potential to earn additional income by working after-hours shifts, although the specific amount of extra pay for these shifts is not specified. However, it’s important to note that not all pharmacies offer shift differentials for after-hours work, which suggests that policies vary among employers.

Working after-hours shifts can offer flexibility in scheduling, but it can also result in occupational stress, burnout, and a detrimental impact on work-life balance. Therefore, while shift differentials can lead to higher earnings, they should be considered alongside other factors like work-life balance and overall health.

Cost of Living Considerations

The cost of living is determined by considering various factors such as housing, transportation, food, healthcare, and other expenses. In areas with a higher cost of living, salaries for pharmacy technicians are usually higher. For instance, cities such as Sacramento and Seattle, where the cost of living is reasonable, may provide higher salaries, while cities like Edison and New Brunswick, despite having a higher cost of living, may offer lower salaries.

To compare the cost of living between different cities or locations, tools such as the NerdWallet Cost of Living Calculator, Forbes Cost of Living Calculator, or Bankrate Cost of Living Calculator can be used. Therefore, considering the cost of living is crucial in assessing the real value of a pharmacy technician’s salary.

Comparing Pharmacy Technician Salaries to Other Healthcare Careers

In the wider context of healthcare professions, how do pharmacy technician salaries compare? The typical median salary range for healthcare professionals in the United States varies, with primary care physicians earning an average of $224,000 and the general healthcare workforce averaging $60,401.

However, when compared to other healthcare support roles, pharmacy technicians command a slightly higher salary compared to medical assistants, with an average annual salary of approximately $34,410, in contrast to medical assistants who earn about $31,750 annually. On the other hand, radiologic technologists earn approximately $63,710 per year, which is significantly higher than what pharmacy technicians make. Therefore, while pharmacy technicians earn a decent salary, it’s not the highest in the healthcare field.

Strategies for Maximizing Your Pharmacy Technician Salary

So, what strategies can a pharmacy technician use to maximize their salary? Several strategies can be employed to achieve this. Here are some effective professional development strategies:

  • Provide on-the-job training
  • Promote continuous learning
  • Nurture leadership skills
  • Pursue continuing education, including certifications and advanced training

These strategies can improve a pharmacy technician’s attractiveness to employers and potentially lead to increased salaries or expanded career prospects.

For salary negotiations, here are some key steps to follow:

  1. Conduct comprehensive research on the salary levels for the position.
  2. Gain a clear understanding of the salary range within the prospective company.
  3. Strategically propose a slightly higher figure than your goal to facilitate a favorable agreement.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of a successful salary negotiation.

Additionally, professional networking can have a significant impact on a pharmacy technician’s salary by enabling career advancement and providing access to higher-paying job opportunities.

Professional Development: Investing in Your Career

Maximize Salary

Investing in professional development is crucial for pharmacy technicians. It enriches their skill set, knowledge, and qualifications, facilitating career progression and broader job prospects. Pharmacy technicians are advised to consistently participate in professional development activities, including:

  • Continuing education
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Webinars and online courses
  • Conferences and conventions

These activities ensure the currency and validity of their certifications and keep them up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field.

In addition, obtaining certification in additional areas can substantially enhance the earning potential of a pharmacy technician. The acquisition of formal education, additional certifications, and specialized credentials can showcase an elevated level of proficiency and dedication to the profession, which employers may recognize by offering higher salaries. Therefore, investing in professional development is a proven strategy for maximizing a pharmacy technician’s salary.

Negotiation Tactics: Advocating for a Better Salary

Negotiating a higher salary is an art that requires careful preparation and strategy. Recommended negotiation tactics for pharmacy technicians seeking a salary increase include:

  • Conducting internal research about the company’s pay for similar roles
  • Highlighting skills and experience
  • Providing specific examples of contributions to the company
  • Knowing your worth in the market
  • Considering other benefits to negotiate

However, pharmacy technicians often make some common mistakes during salary negotiations, such as:

  • Inadequate research on the job position
  • Dependence on verbal communication
  • Initiating discussions about salary expectations prematurely
  • Accepting the initial offer without negotiation

Therefore, it’s essential to avoid these pitfalls and approach salary negotiations strategically to secure a better pay.


In conclusion, the salary of a pharmacy technician is influenced by a multitude of factors, including location, experience, certification, education, employer, work setting, and even the timing of their work shifts. While the average salary might not be on par with other healthcare professions, there’s potential for growth and advancement in this field. With the right strategies, such as investing in professional development and mastering the art of negotiation, pharmacy technicians can maximize their earning potential and achieve a satisfying career in the healthcare sector.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which state pays pharmacy technicians the most?

California pays pharmacy technicians the highest mean salary, at $52,090. If you’re looking for the highest paying state for pharmacy technicians, California is the top choice.

Who pays pharmacy techs the most in Texas?

Hospitals are known to pay pharmacy technicians the most in Texas, with an average starting salary of $29,080. Other top-paying employers in the state include the U.S. Army and Memorial Hermann Health System.

What is the local salary for a pharmacy technician?

In the United States, the median salary for a full-time pharmacy technician is $33,790 per year, with a range from $29,640 to $50,640. In Illinois, the average salary is $40,013, with a typical range of $36,084 to $44,645.

How much does pharmacy tech get paid Ohio?

As a pharmacy tech in Ohio, the average salary ranges from $35,000 to $42,640 per year, depending on experience and certification. Salary can vary based on factors like skills, experience, and employer.

What’s the average salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States?

The average salary for a pharmacy technician in the United States is around $37,790 per year. This can vary based on location and experience.