There’s a lot of opportunity in the healthcare job market. The field is growing rapidly due to a number of driving factors, including a growing population of aging Americans who are dependent on prescription drugs.
Through the next decade, technicians will be in high demand at pharmacies throughout the country. To earn the highest possible pharmacy technician salary, some schooling is recommended. While on-the-job training for technicians used to be the norm, and is still practiced to an extent, more employers want to see certification.
More states are also requiring certification for technicians. There’s a lot at stake when it comes to prescription drugs and no room for error, so regulations are always getting tighter to ensure patients don’t end up leaving with the wrong drug.
Average Salary and Potential Earnings
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pharmacy technician earned around $28,400 a year, or $13.65 an hour. That’s roughly in line with the starting wage. However, the beginning salary can be as low as $25,000 a year. It’s important to keep in mind that salaries are likely to rise in coming years as requirements for certification become more regulated.
As more states require certification, more employers have to pay a higher starting pharmacy technician salary to attract workers in a competitive environment.
Technicians with several years of experience and certification can easily make around $40,000 a year.
Duties of a Technician
A technician’s job is to assist pharmacists in dispensing prescription medications. Technicians work in pharmacies in grocery stores, drug stores and hospitals. Technicians are employed in both full and part-time positions.
Many of the duties performed on a daily basis are administrative in nature. Technicians work with patients, track prescriptions and field phone calls. A pharmacy technician salary will depend on the effectiveness, experience and education.
Job prospects for technicians look excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities are expected to grow 32 percent by 2020. With advancements in medical research, more prescriptions are being used to to combat diseases and other ailments.
Technicians with formal training will have an advantage over other job seekers and enjoy excellent job opportunities.
Schooling and Training Programs
Many pharmacy technician programs last between six months and a year and graduates earn a certificate in pharmacy technology. Students enrolled in these programs will learn the administrative procedures as well as the process for providing the correct dosages.
Perhaps the most important aspect of a school is preparing graduates to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam. Today, more employers are unwilling to hire technicians without PTCB certification.
Other Pharmacy Technician Salary Considerations
Location can play a role in how much a technician can earn. For instance, in major cities, technicians may enjoy a higher salary to account for a higher cost of living. In areas where the cost of living is lower, salaries also tend to be a little lower.
With prospects looking better than ever and salaries in the rise, it’s a better time than ever to launch a career as a pharmacy technician.