There are many factors that can affect a pharmacy technician’s salary, $37,790, on average. Whether it be level of experience, location, type of job, education or certifications, every pharmacy will have a slightly different way of calculating final wages.
As far as experience is concerned, most companies have a pay scale with different tiers. A technician will be placed depending on how many years they have been working in the industry.
After a base rate has been set, there are things like shift differentials and employment status that can add to the hourly wages. For example, if a person is per diem status, they may receive an additional percentage of their base rate in lieu of benefits. In many institutions, shift differentials are provided for weekends, swing shift and night shift.
These differentials are typically a set dollar amount per hour in addition to the base pay.
If a technician works in an area with a lower cost of living, the hourly wage will reflect that. However, the pay rate will still be several dollars above the state’s minimum wage. If a person was able and willing to commute to an area that is more costly to live in, it may prove profitable to work there.
The state of California has the highest average pharmacy technician wage. Larger metropolitan areas have more people, thus generating more revenue to go towards compensating employees.
Please also note that cost of living in such areas is usually above national average, so before accepting an offer for what it seems is a high amount, please also check the local price for rent, utilities, transportation, as well as local tax.
The type of job a technician has can have quite an impact on salary. In most cases, a retail technician will start on the lower end of the pay spectrum. Hospital technicians typically start at a higher wage, but there is a catch: It can take more time for a hospital technician to reach the maximum hourly rate for their position than a retail technician. This is because raises are determined differently in each environment, and hospitals generally require more years of experience per pay level.
Expanding further on types of pharmacy jobs, a person could go to work for a healthcare staffing company. These organizations send technicians and pharmacists to fill in at short-staffed pharmacies or to cover the regular employees’ time off. Since these companies cannot always provide consistent work, positions come without health benefits. However, if an individual has a spouse or parent that provides benefits, a pharmacy staffing job can prove to be quite lucrative. Many companies will pay for mileage. Others will pay for hotel fees on extended travel assignments, as well as a daily allowance for food and gas. The amount will vary based on the per diem rate of the county in which the assignment resides.
In some instances, certifications can certainly help with salary, but more so the likelihood of obtaining a position. CPR and first aid certifications are quite attractive to a potential employer, not to mention certifications related to the field. The National Pharmacy Technician Association offers three certification courses: Sterile Products, Chemotherapy and Compounding, all of which would be excellent certifications for a hospital technician to obtain. Moreover, an individual that has passed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s national exam will often make more than a technician without that particular certification. Employers typically favor nationally certified candidates.
Education plays a larger role in wages than most people think. A technician with formal training, such as that from a technical school, is more likely to make higher wages than those without. Not to say that a technician without formal training is inferior; Their skills just tend not to be as well-rounded.
The key to getting the most from a pharmacy technician certification is researching potential employers. Look into different locations, what they pay and any additional compensation that could be obtained.