Careers

How Much is a Typical Pharmacy Technician Salary?

How Much is a Typical Pharmacy Technician Salary?

Pharmacy Technicians are in high demand in the United States and other countries, but information on the advantages of pursuing a career as a Pharmacy Technician is rather limited. The information we really need to know the amount we can expect to earn from a potential Pharmacy Technician Salary after completing training and certification.

While salary varies depending on your location — both city and state — according to GlassDoor.com, the national average Pharmacy Technician Salary is about $23,200 a year, or $11.15 an hour. That’s what you can expect to average in your first year, in which most companies may not offer vacation time during the first year. The figures improve slightly on an hourly basis when you factor in a full week (40 hours) of vacation to around $11.37 an hour.

Furthermore, the average Pharmacy Technician Salary varies by company and industry as well. Here are some of the top companies you might find in your area and what they’re paying Pharmacy Technicians on average, as a company:

Company Name Average Hourly Salary
CVS Health $11.07
Walgreens $11.26
Rite Aid $10.46
Kroger $11.55
Walmart $11.65
Target $13.65
Kmart $13.78
Costco $21.80
Safeway $16.81
Average Among Those Listed: $13.56

The Average Pharmacy Technician Salary Varies by the Type of Company

As you can see in the table above, the first three companies are among the lowest paying companies for Pharmacy Technicians. They are also the only three companies listed which are actual pharmacies. The rest are so-called “Big Box” stores, both grocery and department stores.

Now for a bit of surprise — you’ve probably also been wondering why I made this website — my wife is a Pharmacy Technician. When we met, she worked for CVS Health and had for many years. She began her career as a Pharmacy Tech before CVS Health bought out Eckerd Pharmacy and remained with the company until mid-2016. Now she works for Walmart. Obviously, with round about 15 years of experience as a licensed, certified Pharmacy Technician, she was hired with a greater salary than what is listed above, and in fact makes more than the national average for all Pharmacy Technicians per hour.

Pharmacies tend to follow an under-staffing strategy which they feel yields better profits. Given that Pharmacy Techs make up a great majority of their workforce, this makes sense. Larger stores, like Walmart or Costco, roll pharmacy operations into total store operations, and that allows them to pay a little more. Of course, Costco is a membership-only chain, so their revenues are not solely product-based.

More than anything else I can tell you about how retail pharmacies vary, you need to know that pharmacies and grocery/department store pharmacies are not treated the same amongst society.

Walmart has made news in recent months for their role in the national minimum wage debate, a call-to-action they answered by raising their company minimum wages above their competitors, while the smaller, traditional pharmacies of the world have remained relatively out of the spotlight. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that CVS Health gets away with a lot when it comes to their Pharmacy Techs, because nobody is really looking.

The Average Pharmacy Technician Salary Varies by Geographical Location

As mentioned earlier, how much money you can make as a Pharmacy Technician is probably what matters most to you, and to know that, you really need to focus your question down to your geographical location. Your local economy will play a huge role in how much you can make. Sites like the aforementioned GlassDoor.com allow you filter wage reporting by city so you may get a better view of wages available near you.

I don’t plan on diving too far into the “by location” aspect since there are hundreds of major cities and that would be rather tedious. Instead, here are a few of the bigger ones, and you can always go to GlassDoor.com to see about your area, if I don’t list it:

  • Dallas, TX – $26,820 a year / $12.89 hourly
  • New York, NY – $21,240 a year / $10.21 hourly
  • Los Angeles, CA – $28,000 a year / $13.46 hourly
  • Louisville, KY – $19,680 a year / $9.46 hourly
  • Seattle, WA – $38,780 a year / $18.64 hourly
  • Topeka, KS – $22,380 a year / $10.76 hourly
  • Orlando, FL – $24,190 a year / $11.63 hourly
  • Philadelphia, PA – $21,030 a year / $10.11 hourly

As you can see, Pharmacy Technician Salaries do indeed vary a great deal depending on where you live. And cost of living is something to consider as well.

However, if a career as a Pharmacy Technician is something you believe would be a good fit for you, personally, then you should know that there is more to it than merely retail pharmacies.

Certain Skills/Specialties Can Increase Your Pharmacy Technician Salary

Generally speaking, there are several different industries for Pharmacy Technicians, each requiring specific skill sets. Retail is among the most common of them, but there are Pharmacy Technicians specifically trained to work in retail pharmacies, private pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies, and long-term care facilities. While private pharmacies — those which do not generally accept walk-in customers — pay slightly more than retail pharmacies, the difference is typically only about $1 more per hour.

Mail-order pharmacies — those which handle online sales, for instance, or business-to-business sales — tend to pay higher salaries to their Pharmacy Technicians. According to PayScale.com, mail-order pharmacies pay an average of 19% higher salaries.

And then there are long-term care pharmacies, which also includes a seldom mentioned and yet highly sought after demand for Pharmacy Technicians; hospitals. Pharmacy Technicians working in the long-term care sector can expect to make an average salary of 13% more than retail opportunities in the area. These positions tend to include additional skills — and certifications — such as IV preparation (intravenous fluid bags).

If a blue-collar career working with people to handle their life-and-death needs is appealing to you, and you live in an area with wages equal to or great than the median income for the position, I’d highly recommend learning more before making your decision. Pharmacy Technician training and education requires your time and money to complete, so be sure it’s right for you.