Registered pharmacy technicians work under a licensed pharmacist and usually have a high school diploma or its equivalent and state licensure. They usually must complete on-the-job training, but formal training may sometimes be required. These professionals can expect to earn around $34,000 a year.
Pharmacy technicians prepare and dispense prescriptions under the direction of a licensed pharmacist. Although a high school diploma plus on-the-job training are the minimum requirements for entering the career field, this can vary by state and employer; formal training may be necessary in some cases. Registration or licensure is required in most states, and certification may be needed. Pharmacy technicians' wages fluctuate based on experience and industry.
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent at minimum; formal training leading to a certificate or associate degree may be required or preferred|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training; state license or registration is typically required; certification is required by some states or employers|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||7% increase for all pharmacy technicians|
|Average Salary (2018)*||$34,020 for all pharmacy technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Registered Pharmacy Technician Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that around 420,400 pharmacy technicians were employed in the U.S. in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The average annual salary of these professionals was $34,020 in 2018, with the highest paid workers employed by federal agencies, outpatient care centers and the local governments. The majority of pharmacy techs worked in retail health and personal care stores, and they typically earned below the estimated standard, according to the BLS.
In 2016, pharmacy technicians working in hospitals disclosed to PayScale.com specific earnings ranges based on experience, showing that technicians with about 20 years of experience earned a median income approximately $10,000 more than did entry-level technicians. Several states regulate registration of pharmacy technicians, though professional certification is optional. Little difference in reported salaries existed between those with certification and those without.
Registered Pharmacy Technician Education Requirements
Only a high school diploma may be required to become a registered pharmacy technician. However, some states and many employers prefer or require those with formal training or professional certification. Certificate and degree programs may be found at community colleges and vocational schools, and they generally last between 6-24 months.
Academic Training Courses
Certificate and associate degree programs typically cover pharmaceutical terminology, prescription drug regulations, fundamental pharmacology practices and record keeping requirements. Students may also be required to complete an internship at a pharmacy. Some advanced course topics could include:
- Safety and sterilization practices
- Proper drug handling and measurements
- Pharmacy practice in specific industries
- Legal dispensary and labeling requirements
- Drug treatments for acute and chronic illnesses
- Inventory and documentation procedures
- Insurance, billing and medical coding
Most pharmacy technicians must obtain licensure or register with the state pharmacy board. The majority of states require professional training and renewal of state registration on an annual or biannual basis. In some cases, continuing education courses for pharmacy technicians is regulated by the state.
Training for Certification
Certification may be required by some states and employers, but is usually not mandatory. Organizations that offer certification for pharmacy technicians, such as the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians and the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board, typically only require applicants to be high school graduates with no criminal or drug-related history. To maintain credentials, pharmacy technicians must provide proof of at least 20 hours of continuing education courses every two years.
Pharmacy technicians prepare and dispense prescriptions and are required to obtain licensure or register with their state pharmacy board to prove their qualifications. While a high school diploma or the equivalent is the minimum education requirement for this career, some states or employers may prefer or require a formal certificate or associate degree program. Optional certification is available.