How to Advance (Advancement)
Advancement opportunities generally are limited, but in large pharmacies and health systems pharmacy technicians and aides with significant training or experience can be promoted to supervisory positions. Some may advance into specialty positions such as chemotherapy technician or nuclear pharmacy technician. Others may move into sales. With a substantial amount of formal training, some technicians and aides go on to become pharmacists.
Pharmacy technicians and aides held about 381,200 jobs in 2008. Of these, about 326,300 were pharmacy technicians and about 54,900 were pharmacy aides. About 75 percent of jobs were in a retail setting, and about 16 percent were in hospitals.
Employment is expected to increase much faster than the average, and job opportunities are expected to be good.
Employment of pharmacy technicians and aides is expected to increase by 25 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The increased number of middle-aged and elderly people—who use more prescription drugs than younger people—will spur demand for pharmacy workers throughout the projection period. In addition, as scientific advances lead to new drugs, and as more people obtain prescription drug coverage, pharmacy workers will be needed in growing numbers.
Employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to increase by 31 percent. As cost-conscious insurers begin to use pharmacies as patient-care centers and pharmacists become more involved in patient care, pharmacy technicians will continue to see an expansion of their role in the pharmacy. In addition, they will increasingly adopt some of the administrative duties that were previously performed by pharmacy aides, such as answering phones and stocking shelves. As a result of this development, demand for pharmacy aides should decrease, and employment is expected to decline moderately, decreasing by 6 percent over the projection period.
Job opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to be good, especially for those with previous experience, formal training, or certification. Job openings will result from employment growth, as well as the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.
Despite declining employment, job prospects for pharmacy aides also are expected to be good. As people leave this occupation, new applicants will be needed to fill the positions that remain.
Median hourly wages of wage and salary pharmacy technicians in May 2008 were $13.32. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.95 and $15.88. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.27, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.98.
Median hourly wages of wage and salary pharmacy aides were $9.66 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.47 and $11.62. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.69, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $14.26.
Certified technicians may earn more than non-certified technicians. Some technicians and aides belong to unions representing hospital or grocery store workers.
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