If you are working as a pharmacy technician, then you have launched into a career that is becoming more and more valuable in our ever-changing profession. If you are a GOOD pharmacy technician, then you have a right to expect to be compensated appropriately for your efforts. Over the course of my 20+ years in the pharmacy profession, I have had the privilege of working with some very talented and capable pharmacy technicians. Many of them were worth far more than they were actually getting paid. At the same time, I have certainly worked with some duds for which minimum wage was way above what they should be earning.
This post is specifically written for those stellar, outstanding, pharmacy-saving technicians who really know how to make things happen and get the job done. You know who you are. You are the one who works hard and doesn’t gripe or complain about every little thing. You don’t get all caught up in the drama, gossip and petty stuff. You aren’t a constant bee in your boss’s bonnet. You are a professional. And therefore it is possible that you could be earning more, MUCH MORE, than what you are presently being paid. My goal here is not to breed discontent. Money is not the only thing that makes a job worthwhile. Good benefits, good hours and a pleasant working atmosphere can sometimes atone for less-than-ideal wages. But if you think you could be earning more than you presently make…it may be time to explore some of these ideas.
1) Get Certified. If you are not yet nationally certified, now is the time to do it. Some employers require certification and will even pay for the process. Once you become certified you should qualify for a pay increase with your employer. Most larger employers have different job codes for a certified technician, and the new job code will often come with an automatic adjustment to your hourly rate. If you need help studying for the certification exam, there is a great course available to help teach you everything you need to know. Find out more HERE.
2) Ask for additional responsibilities. Depending on the pharmacy setting you work in, there may be opportunities both at site-level, or possibly on a larger scale, for someone with your talents to contribute more and get paid more. You should make it clear to both your immediate supervisor and his/her supervisor that you are willing and eager to pursue any type of promotion that would help advance your career. If you are a good pharmacy technician, most employers will get the point that you are willing to do more to earn more, and that you are actively seeking such opportunities. If they like you, they won’t want to lose you. Watch and see what they come up with!
3) Research the pay scale in your area. Are you making at, below or above the average pay for pharmacy technicians in your area? There are lots of ways to find out. For example, ask your friends who may work at other employers. Or go on to Google and do a search for “pharmacy technician salaries.” Or why not interview for another job that maybe you wouldn’t really want…just to see if you get an offer and see what they pay. If you are at or below the average pay…but you are clearly an ABOVE average technician…it may be time to approach your boss about a raise. YES – you can do that! Most companies have the ability to offer a merit increase if they want. If you pay is just average…but your performance is ABOVE average, then they will want to keep you if they can.
4) Look for another technician job. Maybe hospitals in your area are paying more than retail? Maybe long-term-care (LTC) is paying more than at your hospital? If you don’t take the time to look and pursue some of these opportunities then you will never know if you could be worth significantly more than what you are presently making. Most people fear change. But studies confirm that typically the longer you stay with any one employer, the less you are going to make over the course of your career. A job search puts YOU in control and you have the chance to take control of your career and salary.
5) Pick up a side-job. Many pharmacy employers would be happy to have a reliable pharmacy tech to call upon in a pinch or to fill in certain gaps in their schedule. Do you currently get weekends off? Consider looking for a side-job where you pick up a couple weekends a month. Always have nights off? Could you work 1-2 nights per week for someone else? Always be sure that such jobs don’t violate any conflict of interest contracts or agreements. But this is often a great way to expand your skill portfolio and make your resume look even more attractive.
These are just a few ideas. If you are a good pharmacy technician, then you are a very valuable part of the health care team. You deserve to be compensated appropriately for your efforts. If you have any questions about how to look for a job or about how to get your resume ready, feel free to email me. I would be happy to help you.
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