People go into pharmacies because they need help. Help to have their prescription filled correctly or to find an over-the-counter remedy to assuage their ailment. Dispensary assistants -- professionally known as pharmacy technicians -- provide this assistance. They work under the direction of a pharmacist to prepare medications, check the validity of prescriptions, label bottles and provide advice to customers. Salary levels for the role reflect its auxiliary nature and may be influenced by factors such as geographical location and employer type.
During its May 2010 national employment survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics collated wage data from over 300,000 individual pharmacy technicians. It calculated the average annual salary for the occupation as £19,064. This translates into an hourly rate of £9.10 and a monthly income totalling £1,588. At the time of writing, pay analysis website Indeed.com reported that the average yearly wage for a dispensary assistant working in the United States was £21,450. Practitioners within the top 10 per cent bracket earned salaries of over £26,461, while those in the corresponding bottom bracket earned less than £12,896.
Salary by Industry
The bureau reported that the industry sector which employed the largest number of pharmacy technicians was "health and personal care stores," which effectively means pharmacies. It determined the average salary within this area of the industry to be £18,141. Technicians working for general medical and surgical hospitals earned an average wage of £21,554, while those employed in grocery stores received £18,772.
Salary by Location
At state level, the bureau listed Alaska and Washington as the most lucrative locations for pharmacy technicians, averaging £25,486 and £24,238, respectively. Hawaii and District of Columbia had almost identical rates -- £22,698 and £22,652, respectively -- while West Virginia was listed at just £15,613. Wage comparison website SalaryExpert.com analysed pay rates for the occupation in some major U.S. cities. At the time of writing it gave Los Angeles and New York City as the best-paying locales, at £28,211 and £26,864, respectively. In contrast, Orlando had an average of £21,175.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment market for pharmacy technicians will expand by as much as 31 per cent over the decade from 2008 to 2018. This far exceeds the growth predicted for the nation as a whole, posited at somewhere between 7 and 13 per cent for the same time-frame. The ageing of the American population, with an attendant rise in demand from prescription medications, will be the primary reason for this growth. As a result, pharmacy technicians should continue to be well-compensated for their services.