The job outlook for pharmacy technicians continues to be one of the more flourishing careers within the health care industry. It’s an occupation that’s constantly enduring changes within the field, ranging from the emergence of new medications to adhering to the latest label restrictions, which means more employees are needed to keep up with the latest prescription-related trends. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent within the year 2020.1 Current students who are enrolled in pharmacy technician schools will soon need to start plotting the future of their careers. Much of this will entail having to decide which market within the U.S. has the most potential for a thriving career in the pharmaceutical industry. For those students who are currently faced with this pressing dilemma, here are the best states in the country for pharmacy technicians to live in:
It’s hard to argue that the Golden State is the epicenter for the pharmacy technician job market right now. Across the board, California leads the way in a number of career statistics for this profession, ranging from overall employment to hourly wage. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, California has the highest overall employment level in the country, with more than 33,000 pharmacy technicians currently working in the state.2 In addition, Salarybystate.org reports that pharmacy technician jobs in California pay on average 10 percent more than the national average for the position.3 U.S. News and World Report has also done a study on the highest paying cities for pharmacy technicians, finding that the top five all reside in California, with Oakland being placed at No. 1 with just under $50,000 as the average pay for the job.4 There are no signs of slowing down for California, which continues to make it one of the most alluring destinations for newly graduated pharmacy technician students.
In recent years, Tennessee has emerged as one of the more attractive states for recent pharmacy technician graduates, due to its larger concentration of jobs compared to other states. The U.S. Department of Labor lists Tennessee as the No. 1 state for highest total concentration of technician employment rates, with more than 12,000 jobs compared to its total population. The state also has the highest location quotient for pharmacy technicians in the country, which is a method of measuring the largest quantity of a particular industry in a region. While the average salary for a pharmacy technician in Tennessee is slightly below the national average, hanging right around $30,000 a year, it’s still safe to say that the state is one of the easiest places to be hired right out of school.
The old notion that everything is bigger in Texas certainly rings true in reference to jobs for pharmacy technicians. Aside from California, Texas has the highest total of pharmacy technician employees, coming in at just over 30,000. Texas does beat California in employment per thousand jobs, with a score of 2.68 compared to California’s 2.21, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The state also provides relatively competitive wages for technicians, with the average hourly mean wage projected at $15.30 per hour, and it should be noted that Texas has no state income tax, so employees will keep more of their paycheck.
From the Big Apple to Upstate, New York is constantly attracting thousands of aspiring pharmacy technicians, especially due to its competitive wages. While total employment is significantly less than Texas or California, coming in at just above 16,500, New York has the second highest hourly mean wage of all states with at least 16,000 employed technicians, with an average of $15.40. The annual mean wage is also high for states with bigger markets, with a projected $32,030 salary per year for pharmacy technicians, estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor.
If you’re looking for the state with the highest average yearly salary for pharmacy technicians, look no further than Washington. The U.S. Department of Labor lists Washington as the No. 1 state overall in both hourly mean wage as well as annual mean wage, with $19.38 and $40,300 respectively. The total employment for the state is 7,180, and with bigger cities such as Seattle and Olympia always needing new technicians, Washington remains one of the more enticing and lucrative markets for recent graduates.
4 “Pharmacy Technician: Salary,” Stephanie Steinberg, http://money.usnews.com/careers/best-jobs/pharmacy-technician/salary