Best Pharmacy Tech Career Opportunities in the US
There’s never been a better time to join the allied health sector as a pharmacy technician. With short, affordable training programs that get you into the workforce in less than a year, there are countless career options for trained pharmacy technicians.
So how do pharmacy technician job prospects stack up throughout the United States? We’ve sifted through the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data to determine the areas that are expected to provide the best job outlooks and salaries over the next decade.
Keep reading to discover more about your future as a certified pharmacy technician.
Where Is the Best Place to Be a Pharmacy Tech?
More than half of American pharmacy techs can be found in pharmacies and drug stores, but pharmacy technician hospital jobs are on the rise, too.
As of 2018, an average drugstore pharmacy technician earned around $32,700 per year. Workers who find employment at hospitals are the highest-paid pharmacy technicians out there, enjoying a substantial $38,900. Keep in mind that the 2017 median income for Americans was $31,786, which means that this career path is great for those pursuing a middle-class lifestyle.
So where exactly are the highest paying pharmacy technician jobs? Keep reading to find out!
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the East
While the job market in New England might not be as strong as Western states, you’ll find stable wages that reflect the national average. Additionally, the northeastern region is overwhelmingly one of the safest areas of the country to live.
Rhode Islanders provide the highest pharmacy tech salaries in the region, where they rake in an average of $37,400. Plus, with a job growth rate of 15%, aspiring applicants will be ensured great future opportunities. Following close on Rhode Island’s heels is Massachusetts, where the average pharmacy tech salary is $37,100 and a higher-than-average job growth rate of 8%. While living in Boston city proper will be next-to-impossible (thanks to exorbitant rental rates), the rest of the state is a much better bet.
Though Connecticut is one of the most expensive states, the standard of living is reflected in its excellent public education and health sectors. Here, pharmacy techs stand to pull in an average of $34,500 annually.
In Vermont, pharmacy techs can expect a yearly salary of just under $32,000 but has the second-highest job growth rate in the region. If you’re into skiing – and occasionally brutal winters – Vermont might be a great fit.
Pharmacy tech jobs in the Appalachian region offer some of the lowest growth rates and salaries in the country – although hopeful homeowners might appreciate how far their dollar goes towards realty prices.
At just $28,600, West Virginia techs have the lowest average income in the entire country, followed by Kentucky at just over $29,000. This region, however, consistently ranks as one of the unhappiest (owing to the opioid abuse crisis and high rate of unemployment).
Pennsylvanian techs earn an average of $30,000 per year, though the job creation rate of 3% means stiff competition in many cities. The winner in this region is Tennessee, a state with affordable housing and average incomes of just under $33,000.
Though Delaware techs can expect $34,400 for a full-time job, “The First State” estimates a 20% job growth rate – the highest in the country.
The monthly cost of living in New York City has gotten out of control in recent decades. If you check out the rest of the state, however, the costs of living go down dramatically. In Rochester, the average price of a New York home means that an average $34,600 can take you a long way. If you decide to move upstate, it’ll definitely help you avoid the “rat race.”
Pharmacy techs in NJ earned just over $33,000, and 2 out of 1,000 jobs went to people in this sector. For people searching for work in the New York City-Newark metropolitan area, they’ll be happy to know that it has the largest employment numbers in the US.
Maryland has a similar average offers, but most areas in “The Old Line State” are incredibly expensive.
Pharmacy Tech Job Opportunities in The American Northeast
The American Northeast invests heavily in their education sector, and currently boasts some of the best tech schools and colleges. So, no matter where you decide to pursue your pharmacy technician training, it’s a great region to get started.
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the South
Southeastern states along the Atlantic Ocean have recently rebounded from having some of the lowest job growth rates in the country. North Carolina pharmacy techs will likely have some trouble finding suitable work in the future, with an average rate of 3% and salaries just under the $31,000 mark.
South Carolina’s job economy reflects the national average, but in this region, job seekers will fare best in Virginia ($32,300).
The Deep South
If you’re looking for a high-paying position, job hunting in the “Deep South” likely won’t provide the results you’re hoping for. If you’re seeking warm weather, a more relaxed culture, and a low cost of living, however, it might be a great area to look.
Mississippi is the most affordable state to live in the US, and trained pharmacy techs can make just over $31,000 per year. Hopping across the border, Alabama has the lowest average salaries for pharm techs ($30,000) and Florida is the only job growth rate that ranks lower.
Surprisingly, Louisiana reigns supreme in the Deep South, with the highest annual wages ($32,700), then Florida and Georgia, which both offer around $32,000. Depending on the city you call home, these salaries can take you a long way.
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the Midwest
With four seasons and low housing costs, the American Midwest offers much more than meets the eye.
The Great Lakes Region
Indiana is famous for the Indy 500, Colts, and super affordable living. The state has a nearly 6% growth rate and an average of $31,200 for annual paycheck earners. Jumping across the border to Ohio, job searchers might be disappointed with the lowest average salary in the entire Midwest ($30,500).
With their super-functional state government, great public schools, and a healthy economy, Minnesota’s allied health industry has become a dominant player. The pharmacy tech sector might be competitive, but with average salaries surpassing $37,670, it’s not hard to see why.
Though it’s consistently listed as one of the happiest states in the union, Minnesota’s wide range of weather shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Next in line are Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, whose average incomes hover around the $33,000 mark. Considering the lower-than-average costs for healthcare and excellent state resources, Chicago is also a surprisingly affordable city to find housing in.
Wisconsin has a virtually identical salary and growth rates, and as one of the best areas to live in, Madison is worth checking out. Michigan is the third-cheapest state to live in, and since the auto industry has begun to rebound, local economies have started to flourish.
Great Plains States
Not only does North Dakota have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but it also has the highest income growth (thanks to the oil industry). North Dakotan pharmacy techs are in major demand (11% growth rate) and can rely on an average salary of $39,800 – the best in the entire Midwest.
Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, Iowa, and Missouri follow similar trends, with pharmacy techs averaging between $32,000 and just over $33,000.
Nebraska is in the top 10 states for education development. That said, it is 47th on the equality index. Kansas lacks certain economic growth – owing to their recent, haphazard tax laws – but is still an incredibly affordable state to own a home. South Dakota has an 8% projected growth rate, and residents will appreciate the state’s unspoiled natural beauty (but economic stagnancy is a concern in the coming decades).
Iowa provides some of the lowest median home prices in the US. Pharm techs with children will be happy to learn that SAT and ACT scores are the highest in the region, meaning better-than-average public education. Missouri homeowners enjoy some of the most affordable housing and taxes in the country, but the “Show Me State” has one of the highest crime rates in the country.
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the West
It’s no secret that the Pacific Coast has high-paying pharmacy tech jobs. In fact, four out of the five best-paying states are Alaska, California, Washington, and Oregon.
Alaskan pharmacy techs can expect to secure a staggering $43,100 per year, and the state also has a resilient projected growth rate. If you love the outdoors – and aren’t afraid of inclement weather – this might be a great move for you. Tax rebates for residents provide recompense for living in The Last Frontier, but the price of imported goods can be a deterrent for some.
California comes in in second place, with average pay for pharmacy techs hovering just under $43,000. As if that’s not impressive enough, 8 of the 10 top-paying metropolitan areas are in California (the remaining 2 are in Washington). That’s not to say that California doesn’t have a downside: Out of the 10 most expensive metropolitan areas in the United States, seven are located in California. If you’re into warm, Mediterranean climates, you’ll always have a wide variety of outdoor activities to choose from.
Washington and Oregon techs can count on an average $42,500 and $41,000 income, respectively, but might find stiffer competition with lower projected job creation.
Nevada pharmacy techs can pull in a respectable $37,600 each year (though crime and education rates are some of the poorest in the country). That said, many entrepreneurs find Nevada’s tax laws favorable for job creation.
Best Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the Southwest
With its warm, arid climate, the American southwest has long been a destination for adventure seekers.
Utah boasts the 2nd best job creation market in the country, as well as one of the best public health systems. Techs there can command a substantial $37,200 each year. A pharmacy technician salary in Colorado falls just behind its neighbor to the west with $36,900. While Colorado has one of the strongest economies – and one of the lowest unemployment rates – it ranks 12th for the highest median income, meaning high housing costs.
Texas has an unbelievable average salary for pharmacy techs ($34,300 per year), but you can expect a lot of competition for the limited positions available throughout the state. The Lone Star State boasts some of the best job creation in the country, but many communities are severely underserved by medical resources. Job seekers will find the most opportunity in the Houston and Dallas metro areas.
Oklahoma is a laidback state that’s known for affordable homes and healthcare, though it has the reputation of being medically underserved. Over three jobs in 1,000 people go to pharmacy techs, but with an expected salary of just over $30k a year, it’s worth doing your research before moving there.
Pharmacy techs in New Mexico can receive around $33,700, but the state has the highest rate of violent crimes and unemployment. With solid job creation in the works, there’s hope that the economy will develop over the next decade.
Why Is The Pharmacy Tech Sector Growing so Quickly?
One of the biggest reasons for the rising demand for pharmacy techs comes down to an aging Baby Boomer population. Around 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65 by 2029 (a 6% rise from 2012). What’s more, over 80% of American seniors have at least one chronic condition, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Obviously, these health conditions require regular prescriptions, meaning that more pharmacy techs will be needed to provide assistance.
Over the last decade, pharmacists have started providing more hands-on care (like giving flu shots). This means that pharmacy tech duties have expanded to tasks like collecting personal information, preparing pharmaceuticals, and overseeing the work of others in the pharmacy.
Get Started on Your Pharmacy Tech Career Today!
Though pharmacy technicians don’t necessarily need certification to start in entry-level positions, you may find yourself in a highly-competitive market. Therefore, it’s recommended to attend a pharmacy tech training program that takes less than one year to complete.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, check out our Pharmacy Tech training program to get started on the next stage of your career.