Difference Between Pharmacy Technicians and Pharmacists

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If you are wondering what the difference is between these two careers, we are here to offer you a short guide that might help you determine which one is the best choice for you.

As you probably already know, both pharmacists and pharmacy techs work in a pharmacy, and these can be excellent career choices.

However, they are quite distinctive when it comes to education requirements, responsibilities, and salaries.

By knowing the difference between the two pharmacy positions – a pharmacy technician or a pharmacist will help you understand which of these positions would suit you better.

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Career Level and Pay

It is worth mentioning that pharmacy techs and pharmacists are at different career levels, as they have different education requirements, so gaining a pharmacist position requires extensive training.

On the other hand, to become a pharmacy tech, you only need a high school diploma and certification in some states.

A pharmacist’s job is to supervise a pharmacy tech and pharmacy aides.

Being that there is a huge difference in training and responsibilities, a pharmacist earns a higher income than a pharmacy tech.

The average annual salary for a pharmacist is $126,120, and it can range from $87,790 to 161,250 depending on the location where a person works, number of daily duties, and level of experience, while a pharmacy tech’s median annual salary is $32,700, ranging from $22,740 to $48,010.


Now, if you wish to become a pharmacist, you are required to get a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree.

This can be achieved if you attend two to four years of undergraduate study.

In the majority of cases, a Doctor of Pharmacy degree is generally a four-year program and upon its completion, you would need to pass two exams to get licensed.

Then, you will need to work as an intern, who is also known as a pharmacist in training.

Specializations require additional qualifications.

When a pharmacy technician’s required qualifications are in question, he/she needs only a high school diploma and on-the-job training.

In some states, they will need to acquire certification, and we suggest that you look into the regulations for your state to make sure you know whether you need a certificate or not.

These state regulations may oblige future pharmacy techs to complete a training program or pass an exam.

Medication Duties

The differences between these two careers exist when duties are in question, and a pharmacy tech has a lower level of responsibility than a pharmacist.

It is true that both positions work with prescription medications and have some similar duties, but we have to emphasize the fact that a pharmacist is a trained medical professional who has the knowledge related to the way medications work.

He/she will be in charge of checking prescriptions and confirming the amount.

Plus, he/she can advise customers whether the medication could interact with other medications.

They will need to fill the prescription, meaning that they will need to mix ingredients for customized medications.

There are cases when pharmacists administer flu shots and other types of vaccinations.

The technician can also prepare some prescriptions, and package and label prescriptions but under the supervision of a pharmacist.

His/her role will be to organize medications and supplies and inform the pharmacist about low inventory.

Administrative and Customer Service Duties

When administrative and customer service duties are in question, a pharmacist’s role is to supervise pharmacy technicians and aides.

Then, the pharmacist will carry out administrative duties, including filling out insurance forms and keeping records.

In the majority of cases, the tech is the one who performs administrative tasks, such as entering information into a computer and processing insurance claims.

Now, you may say that these are the same roles, but they are not.

The tech is not allowed to answer customer questions about medications directly, while the pharmacist is able to answer these questions related to instructions and possible side effects of medication.

The pharmacist can give health advice, while the tech helps customers in terms of collecting prescription information, accepting payments, answering phone calls, and organizing a conversation with the pharmacist.

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