Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists in retail outlets, hospitals, mail order pharmacies and other locations. In addition to waiting on customers, they may measure, count or mix medications, prepare labels and keep records, depending on state law. New York state does not yet regulate pharmacy technicians, although many states do. Pharmacy technicians in New York state average slightly more than $28,000 per year.
According to the website Career One Stop, the median yearly wage for pharmacy technicians working full-time in New York comes to $28,500, according to their 2009 survey. New York pharmacy techs at the 10th percentile earn $19,300 per year, while those at the 90th percentile earn $45,000 annually.
Wages in Metropolitan Areas
According to the 2009 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacy techs in the New York-Long Island greater metropolitan area have an average yearly income of $31,530, while those in the New York-White Plains area average $33,060 per year. In the Buffalo-Niagara Falls region, pharmacy techs receive an annual average income of $26,920. Technicians in Rochester take home annual wages of $33,430.
Comparison with Wages Nationwide
According to the BLS, 331,890 pharmacy technicians nationwide have an average an annual income of $28,940 for 40 hours every week. The median yearly earnings are $28,070, just $430 less than the median in New York of $28 500 per year. Nationally, pharmacy techs at the 10th percentile mark earn an average of $19,480 per year, while those at the 90th percentile earn $40,160 per year.
According to PharmacyTechnician.net, three-fourths of pharmacy techs work in retail outlets, such as drug and grocery stores or large chain super stores. Technicians in both hospitals and retail outlets frequently have to work on weekends and on holidays. Technicians in 24-hour pharmacies often have to work evenings or night shift. Some pharmacy techs work 40 hours per week, but others work part-time.
Job Outlook and Advancement
The number of openings for pharmacy techs has increased by 79 percent from June 2009 to 2011. PharmacyTechnician.net expects the number of jobs to increase by 25 percent more by 2018. Pharmacy technicians with certification or degrees will have the best chance of finding employment. Technicians can advance by specializing in an area such as nuclear pharmacy, by becoming supervisors or by continuing their education to qualify as pharmacists. They also can use their pharmacy experience as sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies.
Education and Certification
Pharmacy technicians can learn the profession in the military, in trade or technical schools, in colleges and in hospitals. Many learn on the job over a period of three to 12 months. They can secure optional certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board or the Institute for the Certification of Pharmacy Technicians, both of which give national tests. These programs require a minimum of a high school diploma plus a clear felony record.