Top 10 US Cities for Pharmacy Technicians

FEBRUARY 14, 2016
If you’ve ever wondered where the best places are to work as a pharmacy technician, look no further.
 
Using a combination of datasets, I have ranked nearly 400 cities to find the best places for pharmacy technicians. Scores were calculated using weighted percentages of each city’s average annual salary, number of pharmacy technician jobs, cost of living index, and location quotient—a factor used to suggest the demand for workers in a particular region. Cities that made Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live were given a bonus score based on where they ranked on that list.

Here are the top 10 US cities for pharmacy technicians:

1. Memphis, Tennessee (89%)
The world-renowned “Home of the Blues” tops the list. Although Memphis has the second-lowest average annual pharmacy technician salary ($33,420) among the top 10 cities, it has as extremely low cost of living, high number of technician jobs, and above-average concentration of employed technicians.

2. Spokane, Washington (81.4%)
Spokane is the perfect combination of a city with a high technician salary ($39,280), low cost of living, and above-average demand for technicians.

3. Ogden-Clearfield, Utah (80.8%)
The metropolitan area of Ogden and Clearfield employs more than 700 technicians and provide a respectable salary ($33,970) and reasonable cost of living.

4. Burlington, North Carolina (80.7%)
Despite employing just 170 pharmacy technicians, Burlington offers an average technician salary just outside the top 50 in the country and has a low cost of living.

5. Yakima, Washington (78.9%)
As the second city in Washington State to make this list, Yakima employees 300 pharmacy technicians at a respectable salary and relatively low cost of living.

6. Iowa City, Iowa (78.6%)
Despite ranking in the bottom 5% on the best US cities for pharmacists, Iowa City’s high annual technician salary ($35,050) places it on this list for pharmacy technicians, and the city also slots at #9 on Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live.

7. Santa Cruz, California (77.6%)
Santa Cruz has the highest cost of living among the top 10 cities, but it also has the sixth-highest technician salary nationwide at $44,740. It is also the second city on this list to make Livability’s Top 100 Best Places to Live, coming in at #19.

8. Edison-New Brunswick, New Jersey (77.3%)
The cities of Edison and New Brunswick represent the lowest salary on this list at just $32,670, but they employ more than 2000 pharmacy technicians combined. The cities also have one of the lowest cost of living scores in the country.

9. Stockton, California (76.8%)
Stockton offers technicians an above-average salary of $38,990. The city also ranked as the 47th best US city for pharmacists, making it one of the more balanced places on this list.

10. Yuba City, California (76.4%)
As the third California city on this list, Yuba City offers a high average technician salary of $40,680 and above-average concentration of employed technicians.
 
Here’s how the top 10 cities for pharmacy technicians compared on all measures:
 
Rank City Jobs Location Quotient Salary Cost of Living Livability
Top 100
Score
1 Memphis, TN 2420 1.49 $33,420 73 - 89%
2 Spokane, WA 550 0.99 $39,280 91 - 81.4%
3 Ogden-Clearfield, UT 730 1.29 $33,970 87 - 80.8%
4 Burlington, NC 170 1.10 $34,610 84 - 80.7%
5 Yakima, WA 300 1.35 $35,340 92 - 78.9%
6 Iowa City, IA 310 1.28 $35,050 105 #9 78.6%
7 Santa Cruz, CA 260 1.10 $44,740 199 #19 77.6%
8 Edison-New Brunswick, NJ 2020 0.74 $32,670 80 - 77.3%
9 Stockton, CA 690 1.23 $38,990 106 - 76.8%
10 Yuba City, CA 150 1.43 $40,680 111 - 76.4%
 
Here’s how notable US cities ranked for pharmacy technicians:
 
City Rank Jobs Location Quotient Salary Cost of Living Livability
Top 100
Score
Rochester, MN 15 410 1.45 $32,570 101 #1 75.7%
Phoenix, AZ 25 6100 1.22 $33,940 99 - 73.8%
Sacramento, CA 27 2290 0.98 $40,280 113 - 73.6%
San Antonio, TX 33 2650 1.06 $32,880 92 - 72.5%
Oakland, CA 38 2360 0.84 $50,030 156 - 71.7%
Seattle, WA 45 4120 0.86 $41,510 154 - 71%
Portland, OR 49 2910 1.01 $37,570 123 - 70.1%
Anchorage, AK 55 440 0.91 $40,500 143 - 69.7%
Honolulu, HI 56 1190 0.97 $35,980 199 #37 69.7%
San Francisco, CA 58 4060 0.70 $48,490 243 - 69.6%
St. Louis, MO 60 4300 1.21 $30,510 84 - 69.5%
Las Vegas, NV 70 2010 0.85 $33,670 99 - 68.3%
Houston, TX 80 6160 0.79 $33,030 98 - 67.4%
Salt Lake City, UT 82 1600 0.88 $34,200 115 #55 67.2%
Baltimore, MD 84 2910 0.82 $31,730 88 - 67%
Los Angeles, CA 85 11760 0.78 $38,070 164 - 66.9%
Dallas, TX 101 8500 0.98 $32,680 106 - 64.9%
Oklahoma City, OK 106 2660 1.62 $30,200 89 - 64%
San Diego, CA 108 2720 0.75 $36,020 164 - 63.9%
Denver, CO 110 2440 0.67 $34,530 115 - 63.6%
Philadelphia, PA 120 6740 0.91 $31,560 96 - 62.7%
Milwaukee, WI 123 2500 1.12 $30,050 85 - 62.2%
Detroit, MI 124 5450 1.07 $29,410 73 - 62.1%
Indianapolis, IN 132 2900 1.13 $30,180 89 - 60.6%
New York, NY 134 9340 0.63 $34,290 168 - 60.3%
Newark, NJ 138 2720 1.04 $32,320 122 - 59.1%
Little Rock AR 147 1140 1.25 $29,690 88 - 58%
Minneapolis, MN 152 4080 0.82 $31,880 108 - 57.6%
Cleveland, OH 167 2640 0.95 $29,130 79 - 56.1%
Providence, RI 170 1500 0.99 $31,160 106 - 55.9%
Pittsburgh, PA 174 2790 0.90 $29,530 84 - 55.8%
Washington D.C, VA 183 5070 0.63 $32,480 154 - 54.8%
Boston, MA 188 5990 0.85 $31,850 161 - 53.8%
Miami, FL 199 7530 1.17 $30,320 119 - 52.9%
Nashville, TN 216 3670 1.64 $29,320 99 - 50.8%
New Orleans, LA 217 1750 1.18 $29,650 99 - 50.5%
Cincinnati, OH 222 2660 0.96 $28,830 83 - 50%
Tampa, FL 246 4570 1.42 $28,460 90 - 46.1%
Chicago, IL 267 12890 1.07 $29,260 103 - 43.6%
Kansas City, MO 282 3260 1.19 $28,420 94 - 41.3%
Orlando, FL 301 3370 1.14 $27,970 92 - 38.3%
Atlanta, GA 305 6640 1.02 $28,410 97 - 37.6%
 
Methodology
Scores were calculated using weighted percentages from the following categories: mean annual salary, number of jobs, cost of living, location quotient, and placement in Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live.

Annual salary from 391 cities was collected from US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2014 data. This category was weighted most to reflect the importance of salary when searching for employment.

Cost of living scores collected from Sperling’s Best Places compare each city’s cost of food, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care with national averages. The lower the cost of living score, the lower the cost to live in that particular city versus the national average.

Location quotient was included to measure the concentration of pharmacy technicians in one particular city compared with the national average. Thus, a smaller location quotient may suggest a lower demand for pharmacy technicians in a region, while a higher number may correlate with a higher demand.

The number of pharmacy technician jobs per city was weighted least but included to reward cities that employed a higher number of pharmacy technicians.

Finally, cities that made Livability’s 2016 Top 100 Best Places to Live were given an up to 10% multiplier bonus, depending on where they ranked on that list. Livability’s rankings were created from 45 data points across 8 categories.
 
It’s important to note that BLS groups some of its datasets into multiple cities. For example the “Los Angeles” grouping also includes data from Long Beach and Santa Ana; for simplicity’s sake, however, it was included in the table as just “Los Angeles.”

Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD, is a Clinical Pharmacist working at a large health insurance plan on the east coast. Additionally he works per diem at a retail pharmacy chain. He graduated from MCPHS University - Boston in 2015 and subsequently completed a PGY-1 Managed Care Pharmacy Residency. His professional interests include pharmacy legislation and managed care pharmacy. He can be followed on Twitter at @toshea125.
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