Jobs in Demand: Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy worker wearing a mask

If you’ve ever needed medicine, you’ve likely interacted with a Pharmacy Technician to pay for and receive it. Pharmacy Technicians prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. They measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders. There are approximately 8,050 Pharmacy Technicians in Minnesota, employed largely in pharmacies and drug stores, hospitals, and food and beverage stores. Pharmacy Technicians are expected to grow 7.2% from 2018 and 2028 for an increase of just over 600 jobs. Additionally, there is projected to be a need for over 2,500 such technicians to fill jobs left vacant due to labor market exits.

There are numerous tasks that Pharmacy Technicians do in their everyday work. Some of these tasks include verifying that prescription or refill requests are complete and accurate, maintaining proper storage and security conditions for drugs, assisting customers with questions in person and over the phone, operating cash registers, processing medical insurance forms and other necessary documentation, and cleaning and maintaining work areas. Technology skills are a must as many work tasks require the use of a PC and various software, such as pharmacy management or other medical software, label making software, sales software, and spreadsheet and word processing software. Essential qualities for Pharmacy Technicians also include detail oriented, organization skills, listening skills, and customer service.

Pharmacy Technicians are in very high demand in Minnesota, ranking 15th on DEED’s list of in-demand occupations. This list includes over 530 other occupations. DEED’s Job Vacancy Survey shows that there were over 770 job openings for Pharmacy Technicians in the fourth quarter of 2020. This occupation had a job vacancy rate at the time of 9.5%, much higher than the 4.5% rate for the total of all jobs. This rate reveals the percent of job vacancies relative to all filled jobs in the occupation, with Pharmacy Technician’s much higher vacancy rate reinforcing the occupation’s very high demand in the labor market.

In 2021, half of all Pharmacy Technicians in Minnesota earned hourly wages between $16.16 and $23.17. The median hourly wage was $19.08. Hourly wages for this occupation are very close throughout the different regions of Minnesota, although the highest median wages are in the Seven-County Metro Area ($19.78) and Southeast Minnesota ($19.11).

To become a Pharmacy Technician, one typically needs a high school diploma or equivalent. Most states also regulate pharmacy technicians, which may require taking an exam, completing a background check, and completing continuing education. Some may pursue this occupation after completing postsecondary education programs in pharmacy technology, which may conclude with a certificate or Associate Degree.

If you are interested in more information about opportunities as a Pharmacy Technician, check out Pharmacy Technician Occupation page here on the website for wage ranges, educational and training requirements, current open positions in Minnesota and more.  

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