Pharmacy Technician Employment & Salary Trends, and Career Opportunities in California

Pharmacy technician employment and salary trends, and career opportunities in California


California is home to nearly 30,000 pharmacy technicians. This means, around 9 percent of the nation’s 334,400 salaried technicians reside in the state. Aspiring pharmacy technicians choose California for:

• The opportunity to work for some of the largest hospital systems in the world including Kaiser and Adventist

• Access to 512 hospitals—the second largest collection of health care facilities in the country

• Access to hundreds of competitive health care and pharmacy technician training programs

• Employment: California has the nation’s highest employment level and the third highest average salary for this occupation.

Employment and Salary Trends for California Pharmacy Technicians

According to the 2012 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (, California is home to 28,670 salaried pharmacy technicians. They average $38,380 per year, which is the nation’s third highest average salary for pharmacy technicians. In 2006, they averaged $34,420. Overall, pharmacy technicians average around $28,400 per year, with the top ten percent averaging $41,880 and the bottom ten percent earning $20,310 per year.

In addition to salary growth, employment growth for California pharmacy technicians is promising. In 2006, the state was home to 23,360 pharmacy technicians. This means, the industry here added 5,310 new jobs between 2006 and 2012. As stated, California now has the nation’s highest employment level for this occupation. Overall, the pharmacy technician industry will experience tremendous growth between now and 2020. The industry expects to add 108,300 new jobs, which means, employment is expected to grow by 32 percent.

California’s bustling metropolitan areas dominate the list of top 20 metropolitan areas with the highest salaries for pharmacy technicians. Employment levels for the San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco metro areas are sizable as well. The top ten metro areas are:

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Salary: $45,760 per year Employment: 1,227

Madera-Chowchilla Salary: $43,780 per year Employment: 170

Oakland-Fremont-Hayward Salary: $42,650 per year Employment 1,980

San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City Salary: $42,150 per year Employment: 1,610

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles Salary: $41,740 per year Employment: 210

Vallejo-Fairfield Salary: $41,650 per year Employment: 310

Salinas Salary: $41,330 per year Employment 280

Napa Salary: $41,300 per year Employment: 70

Redding Salary: $41,040 per year Employment 160

Santa Rosa Salary: $40,350 Employment: 360

Although it did not make the top ten list for salaries, at an employment level of 6,570, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metro area has the nations fourth highest employment level in this occupation (among metro areas). In addition, at an average salary of $37,200 per year, pharmacy technicians living in the Los Angeles metro area still earn much more than the national average of $28,400 per year.

Pharmacy Technician Career Opportunities in California

Pharmacy technicians have more career options than you might think. According to, pharmacy technicians work in or at hospitals, health and personal care stores, outpatient care centers, independent drug stores, grocery stores, department stores, colleges, universities, and professional schools, computer systems design firms, management, scientific, and technical consulting services, electronic shopping and mail-order houses, and even government departments (federal executive branch). However, the largest employers of pharmacy technicians are health and personal care stores, and hospitals. Some of the biggest health and personal care chains in California are:


• Walgreens

• Longs (subsidiary of CVS Caremark)

• Savon

• Safeway

• Target

• Walmart

• Rite-Aid

• Ralph’s Pharmacy

• Costco

Some of California’s largest hospital systems include:

• Catholic Healthcare West

• Kaiser

• Sutter Health

• Tenet Healthcare

• University of California

• Adventist Health System

• St. Joseph Health System

Schools Offering Pharmacy Technician Training Programs Include: