Pharmacist career growth trends

Before diving into discussions regarding how much do pharmacists make, it’s important to take a step back and look at the career growth trends in the pharmacy profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 10,000 pharmacist positions are expected to become available by 2024.

This is a 3% increase, which is slightly lower than average job growth. But don’t let the lower than average trends deter you! The country is aging, and with it, come increased medical needs. In addition to an aging population, health insurance is changing as well, and pharmacists are becoming more active in patient care than ever before. This will likely accelerate the job growth of a pharmacist position over the next decade.

Pharmacists are one of the highest paid health care professionals, with only doctors and dentists bringing in higher salaries. As the profession continues to evolve and incorporate more direct patient care, the salary is expected to rise accordingly.

infographic on how much do pharmacists make in the united states

Pharmacy practice settings

So just how much do pharmacists make? Well, that depends on the practice setting the professional chooses. Pharmacists are required to go through a doctorate level training program, and thus the salary they make after completion is very high.

Before being able to work as a pharmacist, you must pass a national pharmacy exam as well as a state law exam. Once you complete your pharmacy courses, the employment opportunities are endless. The top 3 industries that pharmacists work in are retail settings, hospitals, and ambulatory care clinics.

Retail pharmacists are the most well-known amongst pharmacy positions because these are the pharmacists working behind the counter at the local drug store. Pharmacists that work in a retail setting are tasked with safely and accurately filling prescriptions for members of the community.

In addition to filling prescriptions, retail pharmacists are a vital source of health information and provide their knowledge to customers free of charge. Pharmacists in this setting often help patients determine correct treatment plans based on a discussion of the patient’s ailments.

Hospital pharmacists work in pharmacies located within hospitals. The primary patient base that they serve are inpatients within the hospital. Therefore, pharmacists in this setting can expect to be dealing with very sick patients.

In the hospital, pharmacists are responsible for dosing and monitoring antibiotics and other important medications for patients. They are also responsible for preparing very potent narcotics. In addition to these tasks, pharmacists in the hospital often sit on several committees, such as medication safety committees.

Ambulatory care pharmacists work in the community, but not in dispensing pharmacies. Pharmacists in this setting meet with patients on an appointment basis to help manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

In some states, pharmacists in this setting are able to prescribe medications for these conditions under the direction of a physician. Pharmacists in this setting are often responsible for dosing and monitoring blood thinners, such as warfarin, which require the patient to get monthly laboratory tests.

Comparison of how much pharmacists make according to practice setting

How much do pharmacists make will depend on the practice setting in which they are employed. Pharmacist salaries can range anywhere from $95,000 to $145,000 per year. On average, a pharmacist earns a salary of $120,950 annually. Generally, hospital pharmacists are at the lower end of the spectrum earning an average salary of $105,000. Retail pharmacists are the highest paid pharmacy workers, and can expect to earn an average annual income of $126,310.

Keep in mind, however, that room for vertical growth in the pharmacy industry is extremely high, and pharmacists that continue to move up the chain can expect the salary to increase as well. In fact, some pharmacists that become top leaders in the industry can earn over $200,000 per year. The difference in salaries between these different settings can somewhat be attributed to the level of stress you will encounter on the job.

In conclusion, the answer to how much do pharmacists make is based on a lot of factors including job growth trends, practice settings, and educational requirements. No matter what field of pharmacy you decide to go into, the salary will be above average. The important thing is you spend time during your pharmacy courses choosing a setting that is the best fit for you.