Best Pharmacy Tech Career Opportunities in the US
With more opportunities than ever, there’s never been a better time to join the allied healthcare industry as a pharmacy technician. Most training programs prepare students to join the workforce in less than a year, which means less student debt for you, and a great way to jump into an entry-level position in a very short amount of time.
In a field that’s expected to grow by 12% over the next decade (faster than the average rate of all American occupations), how do the career prospects stack up throughout the United States? We’ve sifted through the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data to determine which city or state you can expect to find the best job outlooks and salaries over the coming ten years.
Job Outlook for Pharmacy Techs
Currently, half of the American pharmacy techs can be found in pharmacies and drug stores, but hospitals also employ a growing number of these workers. As we mentioned in the section above, the job growth rate for pharmacy techs is going to increase dramatically, but why exactly?
One of the largest reasons can be attributed to an aging Baby Boomer population. Over 80% of American seniors have at least one chronic condition, like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer.
With 20% of the U.S. population set to turn 65 or older by 2029 (a 6% increase from 2012), more pharmacists and pharmacy techs will be needed to assist senior citizens.
Over the last few years, pharmacists have been expected to implement more hands-on care (like giving flu shots), pharmacy techs will be expected to complete tasks once performed by pharmacists, like collecting personal information, preparing pharmaceuticals, and overseeing the work of others.
As of 2016, the average salary for a pharmacy technician at a drugstore came in around $29,000 per year, though those who find employment at hospitals enjoy a hefty increase to almost $36,000. The national per capita average income of American workers was $31,128. Therefore, this career path is a great opportunity for those pursuing a middle-class lifestyle.
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the Northeast
While the job market in New England isn’t as strong as, say, the West Coast, it does offer stable wages that reflect the national average. This northeastern region is overwhelmingly one of the safest areas of the country to live, especially Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
In Vermont, pharmacy techs can expect a yearly salary of just under $32,000, as well as a job growth rate just under the national average. Unfortunately, Vermont is one of the most expensive places you can live, and winters can be brutal.
New Hampshire and Maine are following in close pursuit. These two states are averaging a job market growth of 9% over the next decade.
In Massachusetts, there’s a great deal of competition out there, and pharmacy tech certification and experience will help workers find the best opportunities. You can expect over $15 per hour at a drugstore, but living in Boston city proper will prove to be impossible, thanks to exorbitant rental rates. The rest of the state is a much better bet if you’re keen on staying in The Bay State.
Rhode Islanders have one of the higher yearly salaries in the region, with pharmacy techs receiving an average of $33,120. Even better, there’s a job growth rate of 16.7%, ensuring that there are an abundance of opportunities for applicants.
Connecticut – likely the best average pharmacy tech salary in the region comes from here. Techs are expected to rake in over $34,000 per year. It’s one of the most expensive states in the country, but the standard of living is reflected in its excellent public education and health sectors.
Pennsylvanians have the lowest average salary and growth rate in the mid-Atlantic region at $29,340 and 4%.
Whereas, Delaware techs can expect just under $32,000 for a full-time job. “The First State” (as they call it) also has a 12% job growth rate, ensuring plenty of opportunities for trained individuals.
Who doesn’t love New York? Renters, probably. The monthly cost of living in New York City has become astronomical in recent years, with an expected price tag of $3,500 in Manhattan. When looking at the rest of the state, however, there’s a great deal of diversity regarding costs of living.
In Rochester, for instance, the average price of a home is $290,000 (compared to millions in NYC). An average income of over $32,000 can take you a long way outside the city, and there’s a great deal of opportunity should you move upstate.
Pharmacy techs in New Jersey seem to receive higher-than-average wages, with techs pulling in just under $32,000 and two out of 1,000 jobs going to people in this sector. Maryland has a similar average wage, but keep in mind that The Old Line State is one of the most expensive areas to live.
Career 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. It’s a great region in which to get your start, no matter whether you stick around or head toward a new state.
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the South
Pharmacy tech jobs in the Appalachian region are some of the lowest-paying, and their growth rates are among the lowest.
Tennessee is an affordable state to live in, and with pharm techs receiving an average salary of $30,200, it can certainly go a long way.
Average salaries for Kentucky and West Virginia pharmacy techs don’t break $28,000. While there are a multitude of opportunities for pharmacy techs in West Virginia, it’s been ranked as the unhappiest state to live in three years in a row. Plus, the rates of opioid abuse in this region are higher than anywhere else in the country.
If you’re looking for a high-paying position, the “Deep South” may not always provide the best job hunt results. But if you’re seeking warm weather, a more relaxed culture, and low cost of living, it might be a great area to look.
Mississippi is the most affordable state to live in the U.S., but it also has the lowest income per person in the country. For pharmacy techs, they can command just under $30,000 per year and – with a predicted 6% job growth rate – there are definitely opportunities to be had.
Georgia and Alabama are almost identical to Mississippi’s offers, but Louisiana reigns supreme in the Deep South, with the highest wages of $32,000 per year.
In Arkansas, salaries line up with the national salary averages. A climb in career demand isn’t expected, as the growth rate is projected to be one of the lowest in the region. Regardless, living in Arkansas costs about half of what it takes to live in Massachusetts.
Southeastern states on the Atlantic Ocean (like Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) have some of the lowest job growth rates in the country, hovering at 3%.
Floridian pharmacy techs rake in $1,000 more each year than the national average. Depending on which city you call home, this salary 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 3.3% growth rate (one-quarter of the national average) and an average $29,800 for annual paycheck earners.
Jumping across the border to Ohio, job searchers won’t fare better, with at least $1,000 less per year than their Hoosier neighbors.
With their super-functional state government, great public schools, and a healthy economy, Minnesota has become a dominant player in the allied health industry. The pharmacy tech sector is competitive, but with average salaries surpassing $35,000, it’s not hard to see why.
Minnesota’s wide range of weather, however, is something to consider before moving there, but it’s been listed as the happiest state in the union.
Michigan has a great pharmacy tech sector, with nearly three positions available per 1,000 jobs. Salaries come in under the national average, however. Michigan is the third-cheapest state to live in. Even better, the auto industry rebound has helped to reinvigorate the local economy and boost job creation.
Illinois pharmacy techs will find that their $32k per year goes a long way. Especially considering the lower-than-average costs for healthcare and excellent state resources. Chicago is also a surprisingly affordable city to find housing in.
Wisconsin, Illinois’ neighbor to the north, has a virtually identical salary and growth rates. Madison is consistently voted one of the best areas to live in, and rents are 15% less than the national average.
Great Plains States
Iowa has average salary rates and high competition, but purchasing a home comes with a 36% lower median price than the rest of the country. Pharm techs with children will be happy to learn that SAT and ACT scores are some of the highest here.
The states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri hold nearly-equivalent growth rates and incomes, which fall between $30,000 and $31,000.
Nebraska is in the top 10 states for education development. That said, it is 47th on the equality index.
Missouri, the Show-Me State, offers some of the most affordable housing and taxes in the country. It also possesses one of the highest crime rates in the country.
Kansas lacks certain economic growth – owing to their recent, haphazard tax laws – but is still the most affordable state out of the three.
South Dakota has a 7% projected growth rate with more than $31k up for grabs. Residents appreciate the state’s unspoiled natural beauty, but economy stagnancy is a concern for the coming decades.
Not only does North Dakota have the lowest unemployment rate in the States, but it also has the highest income growth, thanks to the oil industry. These rates have driven up income statistics. Pharmacy techs are in high demand in North Dakota and can rely on an average $38,500 annual salary.
Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the West
It’s no secret that the Pacific Coast has the top-earning pharmacy techs in the country. In fact, four out of the top five American states are Washington, California, Alaska, and Oregon.
What’s more, the top 10 metropolitan areas in the United States are either in California (especially around the Bay Area), or Washington where an experienced pharmacy tech can command an average salary between $45,00 and $52,000. There, access to healthcare is one of the best rates in the country, and public education exceeds that of most states.
San Francisco has the most expensive rental prices in the entire country. And, out of the 10 most expensive metropolitan areas in the United States, seven are located in California. That said, out of the 25 happiest cities in America, California rings in with nine. Much of this has to do with warm weather, which will please a wide-variety of outdoor sports people.
Heading east, Nevada pharmacy techs can pull in a respectable $35k each year, though crime and education rates are some of the poorest in the country. That said, entrepreneurs find Nevada’s tax laws excellent for job creation.
Alaskan pharmacy techs can expect to pull in a staggering $39,600 per year with plentiful job opportunities. If you love the outdoors – and aren’t afraid of some serious winter temperatures – 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 food goods can be a deterrent for some.
Oregon may be enticing for some as the average income rates are around $38,000. Education rates rank 37th in the country, but with one of the strongest economies in the United States, liberal politics has set their sights on making considerable improvements.
Further east, Montana provides well for its allied healthcare professionals, offering upwards of $34,000 to experienced pharmacy techs (with a strong growth rate).
Idaho is similar, but with a lower crime rate and firmer economic development.
Wyoming offers over $1,000 more to trained pharmacy techs, as well as the best tuition rates in the country.
Best Pharmacy Tech Jobs in the Southwest
With its warm, arid climate, the American southwest has long been a destination for adventure seekers.
Utah and Colorado offer allied healthcare professionals the highest salaries in the region, around $35,000. Utah boasts the 2nd best job creation market, as well as one of the best public health systems around. Colorado is quick on its heels with the strongest economy and one of the lowest unemployment rates.
Texas has an unbelievable average salary for pharmacy techs of around $33,000 per year. Expect a lot of competition for the limited positions available, however, 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.
Arizona offers techs similar opportunities and a 3rd-best job growth rate, though the public education system is ranked the 3rd-lowest in the country.
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, and with an expected salary of just under $30k a year, it’s worth considering a move.
The pharmacy technician industry is booming, and techs can command nearly $32,000 in New Mexico, 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.
Get Started on Your Pharmacy Tech Career
Though pharmacy technicians don’t necessarily need certification to find work, you may find yourself in a highly-competitive market. Therefore, it’s recommend to attend a pharmacy tech training program, which will take less than one year to complete.
Wherever you go as a qualified pharmacy technician, one thing is clear: there are great job prospects and entry-level salaries almost everywhere.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, check out our Pharmacy Tech training program to get started on the next stage of your life.