Pharmacy Technician Salary Guide

two pharmacy technicians review notepad in pharmacy

Median Annual Salary

When you’re considering pursuing a healthcare career, you’ll certainly weigh one important factor: salary. Pharmacy technicians earn a median salary of $36,740 annually in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Take a look at median annual pharm tech salaries by state.

Pharmacy Technicians

National data

Median Salary: $36,740

Projected job growth: 4%

10th Percentile: $28,740

25th Percentile: $29,460

75th Percentile: $45,850

90th Percentile: $47,580

Projected job growth: 4%

State data

State Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Alaska $46,470 $36,650 $59,280
Alabama $30,030 $23,020 $38,830
Arkansas $29,650 $23,450 $45,470
Arizona $37,240 $29,280 $47,150
California $46,760 $36,340 $74,910
Colorado $37,390 $29,310 $47,790
Connecticut $36,640 $29,060 $47,790
District of Columbia $46,550 $36,990 $59,630
Delaware $30,020 $23,190 $46,890
Florida $36,550 $28,840 $46,330
Georgia $35,000 $23,370 $46,190
Hawaii $36,920 $28,610 $58,540
Iowa $36,590 $28,590 $46,210
Idaho $36,910 $28,990 $47,120
Illinois $36,630 $29,040 $46,790
Indiana $36,360 $28,750 $46,150
Kansas $36,630 $28,270 $46,470
Kentucky $30,140 $23,450 $45,620
Louisiana $35,870 $28,280 $45,850
Massachusetts $37,240 $29,560 $55,850
Maryland $36,840 $29,030 $47,790
Maine $36,140 $28,600 $46,250
Michigan $36,590 $28,170 $46,860
Minnesota $39,900 $29,490 $58,250
Missouri $32,050 $26,330 $46,170
Mississippi $35,640 $28,360 $45,640
Montana $36,880 $29,430 $47,150
North Carolina $35,930 $27,260 $46,470
North Dakota $45,410 $29,070 $51,080
Nebraska $36,640 $28,770 $46,700
New Hampshire $36,820 $28,910 $47,160
New Jersey $36,810 $29,100 $46,920
New Mexico $36,690 $28,980 $47,830
Nevada $37,190 $29,230 $47,130
New York $36,790 $29,130 $56,850
Ohio $35,140 $23,250 $46,460
Oklahoma $30,610 $27,930 $46,620
Oregon $46,190 $35,690 $59,390
Pennsylvania $36,290 $23,170 $46,470
Rhode Island $36,820 $29,360 $47,110
South Carolina $36,330 $28,420 $46,450
South Dakota $36,680 $29,080 $46,190
Tennessee $35,520 $28,110 $46,010
Texas $36,900 $29,080 $47,150
Utah $37,390 $29,280 $47,460
Virginia $36,450 $28,790 $47,030
Vermont $36,800 $28,930 $46,470
Washington $46,690 $36,590 $59,540
Wisconsin $36,670 $28,850 $47,000
West Virginia $29,280 $22,970 $45,550
Wyoming $37,510 $29,270 $47,790

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.

In this Article

A pharmacy technician salary depends on many variables. By taking steps to advance your career, you can also increase your earning potential and competitiveness for in-demand jobs.

What Factors Can Affect My Salary?

Many factors influence a pharmacy technician’s salary. “Certainly, more education and experience translate to higher pay,” explains Glen Gard, CPhT, CSPT, director of sterile compounding compliance at the infusion services company Option Care Health. Those are just two variables.

As you consider becoming a pharmacy technician, weigh these factors that impact pay:

  • Place of employment
  • Education
  • Certification(s)
  • Type of role
  • Location where you work
  • Years and type of experience

Highest-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Pharmacy Technicians

Some cities and metropolitan areas pay very well. Interestingly, the 10 top-paying locations in the U.S. are all in California, according to the BLS. In fact, the Golden State is the highest paying in the country.

Before you pack your bags to move to one of these high-paying cities, remember that salary isn’t everything. Take-home pay doesn’t stretch as far in more expensive locations. Living expenses can take a big bite out of your salary, so weigh all financial aspects when considering where to work as a pharmacy technician.

Metro Area Median Annual Salary
Napa, CA $62,710
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $55,930
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $55,370
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $52,630
Santa Rosa, CA $50,680
Salinas, CA $47,830
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $47,460
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA $47,430
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA $47,400
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $46,950

Where You Work

“There are so many settings and paths for pharmacy technicians to pursue,” Gard says. Settings vary in the number of pharmacy technicians they employ.

Pharmacies and drug stores account for more than half the employment (51%) of pharmacy technicians, according to the BLS. Hospitals employ 17%, and pharmacies in retail grocery stores employ 9%.

Your place of employment can influence your income, too.

Type of WorkplaceAverage Salary
Outpatient care centers$57,100
Research and development services$48,980
Federal agencies$48,420
Medical and surgical hospitals$43,230
E-commerce and mail-order settings$38,950
Wholesalers$38,530
Retail: Health and personal care stores$35,230

Roles and the specific pharmacy technician job descriptions within these settings also affect salary. As a general rule, the more specialized the position, the higher the pay, Gard says.

In addition, staff that belong to a union usually earn more.

As you consider a career in this field, you’ll want to know where pharmacy technicians are in highest demand. These states have the biggest market for pharmacy techs, according to the BLS:

  • Texas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • New York

On the other hand, some areas see lower demand for pharmacy technicians. These states have the smallest market for the field:

  • Wyoming
  • Alaska
  • Vermont
  • North Dakota
  • Montana

Your Education

Some people can get started with a pharmacy technician career with nothing more than a high school diploma or GED. That track is becoming less common, though. “There’s a growing expectation in the field that requires some component of additional education,” Gard says.

Training as a pharmacy technician can follow three educational paths: a diploma or certificate, an associate degree, or on-the-job training provided by an employer.

When you consider which route is best for you, know that “more education will increase your salary,” Gard says.

In general, more education means better pay.

Education beyond a high school diploma or GED also makes you more competitive for jobs. It is becoming more common for employers to require postsecondary education or training.

Your Certifications

Certifications are mandatory in some, but not all, states in the U.S. You will need to research what is required where you live.

Certifications will help your career just about everywhere you work, though, explains Gard. “About half of states now require national certification—such as CPhT—and more states are beginning to require it,” he says. “Certification shows you have gone through a training program or on-the-job training, and that you understand the basics needed to be a pharmacy technician.”

Earning a certification does more than expand your options of where you can work; it can also boost your pay.

Options for certifications include:

Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT)

Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician

Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician

Specialty certifications are designed to show advanced and specialized knowledge within a field. As you gain experience, you might consider these specialty certifications:

Medication History Certificate

Technician Product Verification Certificate

Hazardous Drug Management Certificate

Billing and Reimbursement Certificate

Pharmacy Tech Salaries Compared to Other Allied Health Salaries

If you are researching how to become a pharmacy technician, you likely have a passion for helping people. Many other careers within healthcare fulfill that drive, too.

It is important to know the difference between a pharmacy technician and a pharmacist—often a source of confusion. While they work together closely, these roles are separated by crucial differences.

Pharmacists oversee a pharmacy technician’s work, ensuring orders and dispensed medications are correct. While pharmacy techs often have direct contact with patients (when taking information or payment for prescriptions, for example), pharmacists answer patients’ questions and advise them on how to safely and effectively take medications.

When exploring the many career options ahead of you, you will want to consider what you can earn in each job. Take a look at how pharmacy technicians’ pay compares to the median annual salaries of other healthcare jobs.

Career Median Annual Salary
Pharmacy Technicians $36,740
Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians $57,800
Medical Records Specialists $46,660
Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $37,450
Pharmacists $128,570

How Can I Increase My Pay?

You already know that experience, additional education, and certifications can raise your income as a pharmacy technician. Specializing is one of the best ways to boost your salary, Gard says.

“Specialized roles tend to make more than an average technician,” he adds.

His advice: “As you go through the process of becoming a new pharmacy technician, and as you gain experience, figure out your niche.” You may want to concentrate on becoming a purchaser, a medical reconciliation technician, a patient service representative, or a worker at an accreditation agency.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for pharmacy technicians is strong, Gard says. The BLS foresees job growth of 4% through 2030—slower than the average of all positions within the U.S.

As the population in the U.S. ages, people will likely need more care—including medications, Gard says. Chronic diseases requiring ongoing medications are also becoming more common, leading to an increasing demand for pharmacy technicians.

The bottom line: Pharmacy technicians are, and will continue to be, integral to ensuring patients get the best care they need.

catherine gregory

Written and reported by:
Catherine Ryan Gregory
Contributing Writer

glen gard

With professional insight from:
Glen Gard, CPhT, CSPT
Director of Sterile Compounding Compliance, Option Care Health