Are Pharmacy Technicians in Demand?

So far, the pharmacy technician job seems to be taking the right path. These are health care professionals that are invaluable in patient care. 

In 2021 alone, the total number of pharmacy technicians in the United States was at 447,300 (1). 

A 10-year projection rates the growth to fall at 12 percent which is more than the average shown. With this projection, it is estimated that the above figure will grow to 469,700 by the end of 2031, so the demand for pharmacy technicians remains high throughout the next decade (2).

Pharmacy Technicians seen here filling prescriptions

Pharmacy Technicians seen here filling prescriptions, photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch

With the significant growth in the pharmacy technician profession, the United States estimates a total of 2,240 job openings each year between 2021-2031 (3).

This projected growth is quite impressive considering that it one of the occupations with few requirements. With a high school diploma and no relevant work experience, one can already start working as a pharmacy technician.

The question of whether there is a high demand for pharmacy technicians gets the answer with the above figures as stated by the United States Department of Labor.

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What do Pharmacy Technicians Do?

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing prescription drugs to patients or other health care staff.

Pharmacy technicians handle and refill prescription requests, data entry, maintain patient profiles, answer telephones, mix pharmaceutical preparations, prepare and process medical insurance claims.

Pharmacy Technician Salary Trends

According to national average data for pharmacy technicians in May 2021, the median expected pharmacy tech salary is $17.66 hourly, $36,740 annually.

These figures go higher and lower for different states, but the typical pharmacy technician salary range for this profession is $28,740 - $47,580.

A pharmacy tech's salary is dependent on a number of factors including certification, the completion of an ASHP or PTCE certified program, years of experience and specialty.

There are two national certifications programs, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). 

Training and certification requirements vary from state to state and from employer to employer but the the majority of employers require pharmacy techs to have a high school diploma or GED.

A certified pharmacy technician may specialize in certain fields such as chemotherapy, compounding, sterile products (IV), vaccines and immunization, or HIV treatment. 

Where Do Pharmacy Techs Work?

Pharmacist technicians can be found working in a variety of settings including: outpatient settings, clinics, home care, mail order, hospitals and community pharmacy settings. 

The highest levels of employment opportunities for pharmacist technicians is in the health and personal care stores.

In mid-2021, this category of employers recorded over 217,820 jobs rating at 50% of the industry employment (4). General medical and surgical hospitals follow with a job network of about 67,180 as recorded in 2021.

This group takes only 15% percent of the total industry employment. The discrepancy between the two employers is major, and this shows the vast growth of drugs stores and personal care centers.

When it comes to industries with the highest concentration of employment for pharmacy technicians, health and personal care stores still carry the day. That means, one is likely to get a pharmacy technician job easily in health and personal care stores that the other groups of employers.

Where do Pharmacy Techs Make the Most Money?

Based on the 2021 statistics the top three states with the highest concentration of jobs for pharmacy technicians are California, Texas and Florida (5). 

The different states feature various terms of employment with some going higher and lower than the United States rate. This is terms of the job opportunities, hourly and annual incomes.

The leading state regarding the highest employment level for pharmacy technicians happens to be California. It is as stated in a 2021 survey by the United States Department of Labor (6). The state showed a total of 38,220 opportunities in 2021 indicating a 8.75 percent employment per a thousand jobs.

More to this, the state recorded a mean hourly wage of $24.04 which makes it among the highest paying.  Annually, a pharmacy technician expects an income of  $36,740 which is quite an impressive rate compared to low paying states.

Bottom Line

Governmental data indicates that pharmacy technicians are currently in great demand. 

A pharmacy tech's role involves some common tasks such as handling prescriptions and preparing medications for customers under the direct supervision of a pharmacist.

Pharmacy techs can work in a variety of settings and specialize in various areas of the medical field. The basic prerequisite for a pharmacy technician is a high school diploma or equivalent. 

Completing a formal pharmacy technician program allows participants to gain specialized training and a certification commanding higher wages and a greater chance of securing a job.

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