The Best and Worst States For Pharmacy Technicians
We used the most recent data to determine the best states for pharmacy technicians to work and live in.
Pharmacy technicians play an important role in pharmacy operations by helping pharmacists prepare and dispense medication to customers and professionals in the healthcare field. Now is a good time to start a career as a pharmacy technician or seek out a new employment opportunity if you’re an experienced pharmacy tech looking for a change of pace.
As a pharmacy tech, you can find both full-time and part-time employment opportunities and have a variety of different work environments to choose from. In addition, you can choose to take different paths to get there. You can become a pharmacy tech with your high school diploma (or equivalent), or by completing a pharmacy technology post-secondary education course.
Like any occupation, where you live will have an impact on your chances of finding a job and how much you get paid. Knowing the best and worst states to become a pharmacy technician can help you decide if this is the right career for you depending on your location, or where you should relocate to if you want to find the best employment opportunities and highest wages.
Overall Stats for Pharmacy Technicians
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data from 2016 shows that there were 402,500 pharmacy technician jobs in the United States that year. The job outlook for pharmacy techs was promising too, with 12% growth expected between 2016 and 2026 - almost twice the 7% average. May 2017 data shows that the mean annual wage for pharmacy technicians is approximately $33,060 or $15.90 hourly.
The highest levels and concentration of employment for pharmacy techs is in health and personal care stores, with 219,070 jobs.
The annual mean wage for this type of employer is $30,950 (slightly below average). Other industries with high levels of employment for pharmacy technologists are hospitals, general merchandise stores, and food and beverage stores.
The top paying employers for pharmacy technicians are federal, where about 6,350 jobs can be found in the United States and where techs are paid an annual mean wage of $43,730.
The second highest paying industry is medical and diagnostic laboratories, where only 70 pharmacy techs are employed, and the annual mean wage is $40,520.
States with the Highest Employment of Pharmacy Techs
The state with the highest employment level for pharmacy technicians is California, with 36,920 individuals employed in 2017.
The annual mean wage for pharmacy techs in California is $40,890 or $19.66 hourly, which is more than the $33,060 average for all states.
Other states that employ many pharmacy technicians are:
One of the biggest reasons that the employment of pharmacy technicians is the highest in these states is because they’re the five states with the highest populations in the US.
States with the Lowest Employment of Pharmacy Techs
The state with the lowest employment levels for pharmacy technicians is Wyoming, with only 570 individuals employed in 2017.
The annual mean wage for pharmacy techs in Wyoming is $36,860, a few thousand more than the average for all states.
Other states that employ very few pharmacy technicians are:
In contrast with states that have the highest employment of pharmacy technicians, states with the lowest employment of pharmacy techs are those with the lowest populations in the US.
States with the Highest Annual Mean Wage
The state with the highest annual mean wage for pharmacy technicians is Washington, where pharmacy technicians make approximately $42,440 annually or $20.41 hourly.
However, compared to California who employs over 36,000 pharmacy technicians, Washington only employs about 7,590 of them.
Other states with the highest annual mean wage for pharmacy technicians are:
- North Dakota
A high annual mean wage is great, but it’s important to consider the cost of living in each state before evaluating how good the pay will be. Out of these states, the state with the lowest cost of living is North Dakota (but it only falls at 29th lowest cost of living out of 51 states). California may be a high paying state for pharmacy technicians, but it’s also the state with the third-highest cost of living.
States with the Lowest Annual Mean Wage
The state with the lowest annual mean wage for pharmacy technicians is West Virginia, where pharmacy technicians make approximately $27,900 or $13.41 annually.
West Virginia also employs a relatively small amount of pharmacy techs, with 3,060 jobs in this occupation in the state during 2017.
Other states with the lowest annual mean wage for pharmacy technicians are:
As you might have guessed, these states may have the lowest annual mean wage for pharmacy technicians, but they also have a lower cost of living than the states that pay more for this occupation. Out of this list, the state with the lowest cost of living is Oklahoma (3rd out of 51 states) and the state with the highest cost of living is West Virginia (23rd out of 51 states).
There You Have It
With demand for prescription medications rising, now is as good a time as ever to become a pharmacy technician. The states with the highest employment of pharmacy technicians tend to be the ones with the biggest populations, and the states with the highest paid pharmacy techs are also some of the most expensive to live in.
If this information isn’t enough to decide what state you want to live in as a pharmacy tech, another important measure you can look at is the quality of life in each state. North Dakota is the highest-ranked state for quality of life, for example, and although it’s one of the states with the lowest employment of pharmacy technicians it is also one of the states with the highest annual mean wage for the occupation.