Although pharmacists are trained to answer questions about medications and help patients avoid harmful drug interactions, a large portion of the work in a pharmacy doesn’t require that level of training. Pharmacy technicians handle different tasks, such as filling routine prescriptions and basic customer service. The state of New Jersey licenses pharmacy technicians to work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates 6,640 licensed pharmacy technicians worked in New Jersey as of May 2009, and they earn a median annual salary of $28,420. Half of all pharmacy technicians in the Garden State earn between $24,260 and $33,860. As with many positions in the health care industry, pharmacy technicians are frequently employed as hourly employees; when they are, those in New Jersey earn an average wage of $14.17 per hour.
Average Advertised Salary
The average advertised annual salary for open positions in New Jersey is close to the BLS’ statewide median wage, with Jobs-Salary.com reporting an average salary of $29,206 as of January 2011. Despite that, advertised salaries range from $18,491 to $52,000, although only three listed positions were advertised paying more than $30,000 per year.
Comparison to National Average Salaries
Nationwide, the median annual salary for an entry-level pharmacy technicians is $32,405 as of January 2011, according to Salary.com, with half of all pharmacy technicians earning between $29,257 and $35,650. The median income reported by the BLS for New Jersey’s pharmacy technicians is below the 25th percentile for nationwide earnings, and is 88 percent of the prevailing national salary for the position. This discrepancy may be due to an abundance of licensed technicians in New Jersey, or easier licensing requirements in the state than average nationwide.
State Licensing Requirements
New Jersey doesn’t require pharmacy technicians to obtain any occupational training before licensure as a pharmacy technician. To be licensed, a pharmacy technician must be at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma, GED or the equivalent and submit to a criminal background check. A criminal record may not disqualify an applicant outright, although additional documentation and explanation to the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy may be required.