Pharmacy Tech Salary & Career Opportunities in NJ
Researching schools and finding average salaries can be time-consuming, which is why we’ve collected the most useful, up-to-date information to help you on your journey towards a rewarding Pharmacy Tech career.
Learn how one of these technicians assists pharmacists and patients before enrolling in a pharmacy tech training program.
What Does a Pharmacy Technician Do?
A pharmacy tech performs a variety of duties to support the pharmacist and their patients. They can find work in hospitals, clinics, specialty pharmacies, and community pharmacies. Every workday requires a diverse set of customer service and medication-related tasks.
Some of the duties a pharmacy tech can expect to perform on a daily basis are:
- Counting pills
- Mixing medications
- Distributing medications to customers and taking payments
- Answering phones and providing general customer service
- Speaking with insurance companies regarding prescription coverage
- Taking prescription orders via phone, fax, and in person
- Labeling medications
National Job Outlook for Pharmacy Techs
If you’re looking for an in-demand career, you’ll be excited to know that there’s a growing demand for pharmacy technicians. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs are expected to grow 12% over the next decade, which is excellent news for those seeking employment in this field.
How Much Does a Pharmacy Technician Make?
In the U.S., the median salary for a pharmacy tech is about $33,000 – fabulous for a career that doesn’t require long, expensive schooling. While this is the national average, you’ll find that wages can vary greatly throughout the country.
Pharmacy Technician Pay in New Jersey
In New Jersey, pharmacy techs can expect to make slightly less than the national average ($32,750). People working in Jersey City have an average salary of about $35,000, making this a great place to kickstart a career. This amount certainly isn’t a bad start for a position that gets you trained and into the workforce within one year.
Job Opportunities in New Jersey
When looking for employment, you’ll find ample opportunities across New Jersey. Because of the high urban population and its close proximity to NYC, the areas around Newark and Jersey City offer some of the best job opportunities in the state. This metro area actually boasts one of the highest levels of employment in the field.
States with the Highest Paid Pharmacy Technicians
The West Coast has surfing, hiking, and fantastic salaries for pharm techs. Washington leads with the top pharmacy tech pay in the country, at just over $42,000 a year. California is runner-up at nearly $41,000, and Oregon places third at around $40,000. Overall, pharmacy technician hourly salaries along the Pacific are roughly $20 per hour.
States with the Lowest Pharmacy Technician Salaries
As we all know, wages generally match the cost of living. In states where the cost of living is lower, the pay is typically lower. Kentucky is home to creature comforts such as wide open spaces and bourbon.
However, these amenities and the lower cost of living come with the lowest pay in the country at about $29,000 per year. It also has the highest concentration of job opportunities for anywhere in the country.
Alabama has the second lowest wage at just over $29,000, but that isn’t much of an issue with the beautiful beaches and temperate winters.
Georgia may have an average annual salary of only $29,500, but southern states are much more affordable when it comes to housing and other needs.
Metro Areas with the Best Job Opportunities
States may have an average pay or employment availability, but metro areas tend to be their own microcosm. Looking for a high paying metro area and have a penchant for wine or skiing?
The Bay Area might be an excellent option for you, with this metro area averaging more than $53,000 a year. Not far behind is the Santa Rosa metro at $49,540, as well as the San Rafael area at just over $47,000.
Salary is just one component of a solid job market. The concentration of jobs and number of open positions are also factors to consider. The easiest places to find a job are the greater Huntington-Ashland, (WV, KY, OH) metropolitan area, El Paso, TX, and Muncie, IN.
The mean wage can run from about $29,000 to $33,000, which isn’t bad, as the cost of living is far lower in these regions than, say, San Francisco.
How to Become a Pharmacy Technician
Are you wondering how to become a pharmacy technician? It’s a simple process that starts with choosing a school. Pharmacy tech training usually takes place at a vocational school or college. Gaining a certificate from a training program is the best way to make your application more competitive in an ever-growing field.
Most pharmacy technician training programs take less than 1 year to complete, but you may also encounter associate degree programs which can run up to 2 years. The short training time of a shorter training program allows pharmacy techs get a job quickly and without accumulating lots of debt.
There are a few requirements you’ll need to meet before you can apply. Most schools require a high school diploma and you may also be required to complete a criminal background check.
Training is usually comprised of two parts. As a pharmacy technician in training, you’ll start with classroom training by attending courses like medical terminology, drug administration, drug regulation and control, sterile and non-sterile compounding, and pharmaceutical formulation.
After completing the classroom education, students will often do a clinical internship. Students are paired with a pharmacy tech mentor in a hospital or retail pharmacy. These internships give future pharmacy techs the hands-on experience they need to get ahead of other applicants.
Should I Become a Certified Pharmacy Tech?
Not all states require certification, but many do. Obtaining your Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) is advantageous, regardless of whether or not your state requires it to start working.
Certification shows prospective employers that you’ve mastered the skills to be an outstanding pharmacy tech, and that you’ll be ready to do your job from Day One.
How to Advance Your Career as a Pharmacy Tech
Pharmacy techs can count on satisfying careers that help patients stay healthy. It also offers flexible hours and a fast-paced, demanding environment. Over time, you’re likely to want to advance in your career.
There are several ways to increase your earnings and your status within this industry. Firstly – if you work in a retail pharmacy – you can make a move to a compounding pharmacy.
In this type of pharmacy, you’ll exercise your skills by creating custom medication mixes based on the individual patient’s needs, which isn’t something that is generally done in a regular retail pharmacy. You’ll be able to make a more significant impact on patients’ lives by working here.
Another avenue is working in a clinical setting like a hospital or surgicenter. Experienced pharmacy techs typically make more to begin with, and are afforded a wider variety of opportunities to hone their skills.
In addition to the usual tasks (like customer service and filling prescriptions), you might also learn about things like aseptic and clean room techniques. These workplaces give suitable candidates room to advance via supervisory and management positions as they gain experience.
Some pharmacy techs later go back to school to become a pharmacist. It’s a seamless transition to apply the skills you’ve learned as a tech into a career as a pharmacist.
Get Started with Your Pharmacy Technician Career
Are you ready for an exciting, fast-paced career? Training to be a pharmacy technician gives you the chance to learn about medicine, and utilize your people skills by keeping customers healthy. There’s never been a better time to take advantage of this growing field.
If you’re in the New Jersey area, check out the AIMS pharmacy technician program and contact us today to jump-start your future career.