What are the employment opportunities and pathways in this field?
Employment opportunities are excellent. As the population ages, the need for prescription medicine increases. Along with that comes the increasing need for professionals (both Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians) to service the population and their prescription drugs. At the same time, insurers, pharmacies, and health care providers continue to emphasize cost containment, thus increasing the need for skilled Pharmacy Technicians. Technological advances are also fueling the demand for Pharmacy Technicians through the elderly, who often require continued care as they battle chronic conditions. In addition, our population as a whole has seen an increase in medication use due to stunning pharmaceutical advances in recent years for a multitude of health-related issues. An increase in the demand for medication is ultimately leading to an increase in the demand for Pharmaceutical workers.
In fact, job demand for Pharmacy Technicians is projected to remain strong through the foreseeable future. The most recent Occupational Outlook handbook published by the Department of Labor states that employment for Pharmacy Techs will increase by 32% from 1996-2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Projections data from the National Employment Matrix are as follows:
|Occupational title||SOC Code||Employment, 2006||Projected employment, 2016||Change, 2006-16||Detailed statistics|
In addition, there are various opportunities for students in this area of study. Students may pursue further education and become Pharmacists, or they may work as Pharmacy Technicians in a variety of settings including: community pharmacies, hospitals, home health care, military, long term care facilities, managed health care facilities, and educational/training programs to name a few. There are always opportunities for advancement as well. Pharmacy Technicians can become Supervisors, and can move into specialty positions, or into sales.
What is the pay range from Entry level pay to high end with experience in this career?
Factors that affect salaries include supply & demand, employer type and size, geographic location, certified or non-certified status, experience, and schedule flexibility. Higher pay is awarded to those who know how to prepare IV medications and/or work with Chemotherapy drugs. Pharmacy technicians achieve the highest salaries in hospitals, followed by grocery stores, and typically earn the least in drug stores per salary.com. This website lists the 2007 US average as $27,641 with the lowest 10 percent making less than $21,663 and the highest 10% earning more than $34,544 a year. For California residents, Los Angeles and San Diego is where you can expect to earn the most salary. The following is a table listing the cities across the states with the highest pay as of May 18, 2008 according to payscale.com:
However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2007 figures, the highest paying metropolitan area was San Francisco- San Mateo, Redwood City, CA. The following table lists the other top-paying metropolitan areas in the state of California for Pharmacy Technicians:
|MSA||Employment||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage||Percent of MSA employment|
|San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division||1,500||$20.91||$43,490||0.151%|
|Santa Barbara-Santa Maria, CA||250||$19.48||$40,530||0.142%|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||1,300||$19.36||$40,270||0.143%|
|Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division||1,580||$18.70||$38,890||0.154%|
In addition, as with any career, you can expect to see an increase in your salary with the years you invest in your career. Here is a table that shows what your median hourly rate would be as you progress through the years: (data current as of May 23, 2008)
What are some of the online job boards where Pharmacy Tech jobs are posted on a regular basis?
Pharmacy Technician jobs are numerous and there are a variety of websites that provide search engines for Pharmacy Technician jobs across the US. Here is a listing of a few websites:
There are also some general job search engines that can be used to find Pharmacy Tech jobs. They include the following websites: