Employment of pharmacy technicians with formal degree training from an accredited educational institution is expected to grow faster than the average on a national level for all occupations through 2014 due to increased needs for pharmaceutical care services and products.
Washington state has slightly more than 6000 current pharmacy technician positions. This number is expected to increase by more than 28% between now and 2019 if current projections hold. The median hourly wage for pharmacy technicians in Washington state is currently $17.20, nearly four dollars higher than the national average.
With a larger and older population, advances in science, and increases in medication availability and usage, the demand for pharmacy technicians in all practice settings will increase, and their role will be expanded.
As health care becomes more technically complex, the need for well educated, skilled and competent support personnel becomes increasingly important. More states, which includes Washington state, and more employers are requiring certification as reliance on pharmacy technicians grows. The availability of more degreed pharmacy technicians enables employers to increase the quality of the services that are provided and to decrease medication errors and problems.
Advancement opportunities are advantageous, particularly in large pharmacies and health systems, for pharmacy technicians with formal degree training who can be promoted to supervisory positions.
With a Pharmacy Technology associate degree, other career pathways also exist. Some technicians may choose to advance by acquiring a four-year degree in Pharmacy to become a licensed pharmacist. Others may enter into specialty positions such as chemotherapy technician or nuclear pharmacy technician.