Pharmacy Technician Salary - (2023)

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (1)

Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of pharmacies, including retail, hospital, mail order, and long term care facilities. Job duties will vary across the different pharmacy settings. Pharmacy technician pay will also vary, depending on experience, education, and pharmacy. Depending on where you work, pharmacy technician pay may increase, as pharmacy technician hourly pay is more in a hospital than in a retail pharmacy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pharmacy technician median pay for 2018 was $32,700 per year or $15.72 per hour. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,740 per year or $10.93 per hour, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,010 per year or $23.08 per hour. The pharmacy technician job outlook, from 2016-2026, is growing faster than average, with an anticipated 12% increase in the coming years. There are approximately 420,000 pharmacy technicians employed in the United States. Right now is a great opportunity to become a pharmacy technician and enter the fast growing market.

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (2)

Below are the median annual wages for pharmacy technicians in the top industries in which they work.

Hospitals; state, local, and private
General merchandise stores
Food and beverage stores
Pharmacies and drug stores


There are approximately 420,000 pharmacy technicians employed in the United States and below are the largest employers of pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (3)

A full-time pharmacy technician will typically be offered a competitive benefits package, including health insurance, vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, and company matching 401k retirement plan. The typical pharmacy technician pay rate is expected to grow faster than average for the next several years.

Pharmacy Technician Salary: Hospital vs Retail

The majority of pharmacy technicians work in a retail pharmacy but many pharmacy techs desire to work in a hospital pharmacy. The main reason is due to the higher pharmacy technician hourly pay in a hospital. Hospitals typically offer the highest paid pharmacy technician jobs in the industry. A hospital pharmacy tech will typically earn about a 20% higher salary than a retail pharmacy tech.

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (4)

A hospital pharmacy tech will typically earn about a 20% higher salary than a retail pharmacy tech.

Many pharmacy techs will begin their career working in a retail pharmacy where the pharmacy technician salary per hour is significantly less, in order to gain training, experience, or become certified, prior to seeking work in a hospital. Hospital pharmacies will generally require a few years of experience, prior to being hired.

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (5)

In addition to the varying pharmacy technician hourly pay, between hospital and retail settings, the job duties will also vary. As a hospital pharmacy tech, you will not regularly work with patients, process insurance claims, or operate a register. Rather you will spend the majority of your time filling prescriptions. Hospital pharmacies will focus on individual patient doses of medications which are administered to patients, where as retail pharmacies will commonly fill short term antibiotics or pain medications, and maintenance medications for 30 or 90 days supplies.

Retail pharmacy technicians will have a more flexible schedule than hospital pharmacy techs, which is great for someone that is going to college or working around family life. Starting out in a retail pharmacy is a great way to gain training and experience, prior to working in a hospital pharmacy.

Entry Level Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (6)

Many states allow for pharmacy technicians to begin working without any training or prior experience. Typically, pharmacies in these states will only require a high school diploma prior to employment. Pharmacy technicians beginning work without any training or experience will be trained by a pharmacist or lead pharmacy technician. Larger retail chain stores, such as CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens, will offer in-house training for entry level pharmacy technicians. This provides a terrific opportunity to individuals with a high school diploma to enter a fulfilling career as a pharmacy technician.

Entry level pharmacy technician positions allow for individuals to begin working without any training or prior experience, but comes with a reduced pharmacy technician hourly pay. The pharmacy technician pay rate will be reduced for entry level positions. An entry level pharmacy technician, with no training or experience, will typically make between $9 to $11 per hour. These positions are mostly found in retail and privately owned pharmacy settings.

An entry level pharmacy technician, with no training or experience, will typically make between $9 to $11 per hour.

Many pharmacies will provide funding for entry level pharmacy technicians to become nationally certified, after gaining experience and knowledge to pass the pharmacy technician certification exam (PTCE), in order to become a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT). After becoming a CPhT, employers will usually increase the pharmacy technician hourly pay, now that they are certified.

Certified Pharmacy Technicians

Many employers will offer their pharmacy technicians pay raises for becoming certified and will usually pay for the PTCE. Additionally, you will become more marketable after gaining experience and becoming a CPhT. Most on-the-job training programs will prepare individuals with the necessary knowledge to pass the PTCE and become a CPhT.

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (7)

Large retail chain pharmacies will typically offer employer-based pharmacy technician programs and many times these trainings, along with some experience, will prepare a pharmacy technician for the PTCE. However, some large companies which do not have an employer-based training program will provide funding for employees to become a CPhT which can include educational and testing costs.

Certified pharmacy technicians will typically make between $12 to $16 per hour. Certified pharmacy technician hourly pay will depend on experience, education, and type of employer. Hospitals pharmacy technician pay rate is higher than retail pharmacies, however, they usually require individuals to be a CPhT with at least three (3) years of experience.

Certified pharmacy technicians will typically make between $12 to $16 per hour.

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (8)

There are two organizations that can provide pharmacy technician certification in order to become a certified pharmacy technician (CPhT); The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board PTCB) and National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The main difference between the certification from PTCB and the NHA is that PTCB certification only requires a high school diploma and a passing score on the exam. There are study guides to assist with preparing for the exam.

Experienced Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (9)

A CPhT with at least five (5) years of experience will earn the highest pharmacy technician pay hourly. Experienced pharmacy technicians can work as lead pharmacy technicians and train other entry level techs. Experienced pharmacy technicians will typically make between $18 to $22 per hour. The highest paid pharmacy technician jobs are held by lead pharmacy technicians working in a hospital pharmacy.

Experienced pharmacy technicians will typically make between $18 to $22 per hour.

In addition to the greater pay as a lead pharmacy tech, there will also be more responsibilities. This can include preparing work schedules for other technicians, ordering medications and supplies, and training newly hired pharmacy technicians.

Pharmacy Technician Salary Jobs By Employer

Pharmacy Technician Salary Retail

Pharmacy Technician Salary - (10)

Pharmacy technician pay at CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and other large pharmacy chains is often comparable to one another. The nation is covered with numerous retail pharmacies that offer entry level pharmacy tech job opportunities. The entry level positions may offer reduced pharmacy technician pay but the acquired skills and experience can be transferable to other pharmacy settings, including hospital, mail order, or long-term care facilities. Retail pharmacy technicians often have a more flexible schedule than hospital technicians, and most do not have to work night shifts.

Pharmacy Technician Salary Hospital

Pharmacy technician pay at hospital facilities is often greater than other pharmacy settings. Hospital pharmacy techs will often have a few years of experience in order to compound drugs and prepare IV’s where other pharmacy settings will typically fill prescriptions with pills and liquids. Hospitals often have the best vacation and insurance benefits as well.

Top Paying States for Pharmacy Technicians

StateEmploymentHourly Mean
Annual Mean
District of Columbia840$19.22$39,980

Pharmacy Technician Average Salary by State and Employment Numbers

StateEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
District of Columbia840$39,980
New Hampshire1,730$32,370
New Jersey9,570$33,070
New Mexico2,360$33,710
New York19,320$34,640
North Carolina13,680$30,890
North Dakota830$39,770
Rhode Island1,800$37,410
South Carolina7,500$31,530
South Dakota1,350$32,720
West Virginia2,980$28,650
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