What is the Salary of a Pharmacist?

PharmacistIn the United States, the median annual salary of a pharmacist is $116,670 or $56.09 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pharmacists are professionals with a doctoral degree that dispense prescribed medications to patients and counsel them about the safe use of these prescriptions. In addition to pharmacists who prescribe medication, those with this degree may choose to work as clinicians, consultants, or in medical research. Read on to learn more about salary expectations for pharmacists as well as how to become a pharmacist and job outlook for this career.

Salary Information for Pharmacists

As mentioned above, $116,670 is the median annual salary for those in this profession, meaning that half of pharmacists make more than this amount and half make less. The lowest paid ten percent of pharmacists earn less than $89,280 per year, and the highest paid ten percent earn more than $145,910 annually. The highest-paid pharmacists typically work in general merchandise stores, followed by department stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, and hospitals. In general, pharmacists on the West Coast, in Alaska, and in New England tend to earn higher than average pay; those in the Midwest, Iowa, and Montana tend to make lower than the national average.

Becoming a Pharmacist

Pharmacists must earn a doctor of pharmacy degree from an accredited pharmacy education program before becoming licensed to practice. A list ofo accredited programs is online at the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education website. While most pharmacy students must first earn a bachelor’s degree in order to enroll, alternate programs are available. For example, some programs offer accelerated study for those who have completed two years of undergraduate education. Others admit students straight from high school into a six year doctor of pharmacy program. Traditional pharmacy doctoral programs take four years to complete, although some three-year programs exist. Upon graduation, pharmacists must take exams on both pharmacy practice and pharmacy law to become licensed by the state in which they will practice.

Job Outlook for Pharmacists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is expected to grow by 14 percent over the next ten years, which is about the average growth for all professions. This means that about 41,400 new pharmacist jobs will be available by 2022. 43 percent of these jobs will continue to be in retail pharmacy, and 23 percent in hospital settings. This growth will largely be driven by the aging population of the United States, who require more prescription drugs to treat chronic conditions. However, competition for jobs will be strong as the number of pharmacy schools has increased in recent years. Many students consider completing a residency program or additional certifications to be more competitive in the job marketplace.

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While the salary of a pharmacist varies by industry, type of position, and location, overall this is a very high paying job without the stressful hours and on-call schedule of other professional-level positions in the medical field.