Pharmacist vs Pharmacy Technician |Which Job Is Right for You?

Do you want to work in a pharmacy? Are you wondering about what types of positions are available in the pharmacy or the level of education you will need to complete to work there? If that’s the case, then this blog is for you! Today we’re going to go over the two primary positions in the pharmacy and compare them. Here you will learn the main differences between a pharmacist vs pharmacy technician. This includes:

  • The difference in education requirements
  • The gap in their salaries
  • Their day to day job responsibilities and how they work together
  • Travel opportunities available for both pharmacists and pharmacy techs

Let’s get started!

Pharmacist vs Pharmacy Technician: Education

The biggest difference between a pharmacy tech and a pharmacist is the level of education they complete.

A pharmacy tech requires much less education. In fact, in some states you don’t need to attend school at all beyond a high school diploma. On-the-job training is enough to get you in the door of a pharmacy. In states that do require formal training for pharmacy technicians, the requirements vary. Typically, they have to pass a standardized test that they prepare for on their own or through a structured program.

A pharmacist, on the other hand, has to attend school for a very long time. At the end of the day, they also make significantly more money! Pharmacists are required to have their doctorate degree in pharmacology. This puts them in school for about six years or more. After that, they too need to pass an exam. Theirs is called the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination.

The bottom line is, if you are thinking about becoming a pharmacist, work as a tech first. This will give you hands on experience in the pharmacy and requires minimal investment in your education. If you like it, chances are you will enjoy the additional responsibilities of working as a pharmacist. At that point, you can commit to the schooling required to work as such.

With that said, let’s look at the differing responsibilities and pay between a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician.

pharmacist vs pharmacy technician

Pharmacist vs Pharmacy Technician: Pay

The investment in education for a pharmacist pays off. According to, the average salary of a pharmacist is $114,168. A pharmacy technician, on the other hand, makes just under $35,00 each year, or around $13 per hour.

Pharmacist vs Pharmacy Technician: Pharmacy responsibilities

Since pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have a drastic difference in education, it is not surprising that their roles in the pharmacy are different as well. Although both handle medications, the pharmacist oversees everything that happens in the pharmacy. They also are responsible for answering patient questions, counseling patients, and managing technicians.

Pharmacy techs, on the other hand, help the pharmacist with filling medications, help customers as they come to the register, verify insurance, and do whatever other odds and ends need taken care of day to day.  Despite the differences in their responsibilities, they do work hand in hand as a team and are both crucial in the success of a pharmacy.

Pharmacist vs Pharmacy Technician: Travel Opportunities

The good news is that there are travel opportunities for both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. Travel assignments allow both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to work at different pharmacies across the country. These pharmacies can be independent or within a larger health system. They typically take an assignment for 13 weeks or so, helping to fill in vacant positions. This helps pharmacies avoid all of the red tape that comes with hiring new full-time employees. For the pharmacist or the pharmacy tech, it gives them the chance to travel, to experience work in different parts of the country, and to build their resume.

Are you interested in a travel pharmacy tech or travel pharmacist position? Browse our available positions and apply today!

Author: Lenay Ruhl

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