What is the Average Pharmacist Salary in the U.S.?

What is the Average Pharmacist Salary in the U.S.? | Healthcare | Emeritus

The unprecedented impact of COVID-19 drove home the need for a robust healthcare industry. In consonance with that was the growth of the pharmaceutical industry. This growth trend is still continuing as the pharmaceutical market is projected to reach $861.67 billion by 2028, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.3%. As a result, the demand for qualified and experienced pharmacists is increasing and companies are offering lucrative salary packages to onboard top talent. For the uninitiated, the average pharmacist salary in the U.S. is $146,278 per year. In this article, we will explore some of the key factors that impact salary packages along with the learning opportunities available in this field to help aspiring pharmacists build rewarding careers. 

Pharmacist Salary

Is Becoming a Pharmacist a Good Career Option?

Besides its lucrative earning potential, becoming a pharmacist is a good career choice for some important reasons: 

1. Option of a Versatile Career Path

Although most people are only aware of a career in retail pharmacy, there are a number of avenues to pursue in this field:  

1.1 Clinical Pharmacists

Typically employed in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, or rehabilitation centers, clinical pharmacists collaborate with healthcare providers to treat patients.

1.2 Veterinary Pharmacists

Have similar duties as clinical pharmacists, only with animals as patients.

1.3 Geriatric Pharmacists 

They specialize in providing care to older patient populations.

1.4 Public Health Pharmacists

Public health pharmacists fulfill a range of responsibilities such as organizing vaccine drives for high-risk communities, or providing health advice to regional, state, and national public health authorities.

2. An Opportunity to Positively Impact Patients’ Lives

The epidemic brought attention to the healthcare industry and demonstrated why this sector is so crucial. As a pharmacist, you will have the chance of making a positive difference in patients’ lives and improving the overall health of communities. 

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Pharmacist

A pharmacist’s work typically includes the following:  

1. Prescription Dispensing

The absolute basic responsibility of a pharmacist involves tasks like counting out tablets, preparing a bottle label, and handling medications for patients.

2. Consulting with Doctors

This includes discussions with patients’ doctors regarding alternative medications or dosage adjustments. This helps to ensure that the drugs prescribed do not cause any side effects. 

3. Counseling Patients

A pharmacist’s role involves advising patients on when and how to take their medications. Additionally, pharmacists provide counseling to help patients understand their illness that will prompt them to make lifestyle modifications.

4. Ensuring Patient Safety

Another task involves examining each patient’s medication record whenever a new or refilled prescription is filled. This is the most effective way for a pharmacist to prevent potentially dangerous drug consumption.

5. Adhering to the Three Rs

Pharmacists in charge of managing staff are ultimately responsible for ensuring the ‘three Rs’—giving the right dosage of the right drug to the right patient. To fulfill this responsibility, they need to supervise and mentor pharmacy technicians and interns.

Entry-Level Pharmacist Salary

Pharmacists just starting out in the job often find work at drug stores and general retail establishments. They also work at healthcare institutions such as clinics and hospitals. The average yearly pharmacist salary for an entry-level position is $104,000. Factors like level of education, professional certifications, unique skills, and years of experience in the field may affect the average pharmacist’s salary.

Pharmacist Salary by Industry

There is a range of industries that hire pharmacists, including healthcare and personal care stores, general merchandise stores, general medical and surgical hospitals, and outpatient care centers. The respective salaries will depend on the set of duties, skills, knowledge, and location.

According to Zippia, pharmacist salaries are substantially higher in the retail, healthcare, agricultural, and government sectors. The industry-wise classification of the pharmacist salary is given below: 

Industry  Average Pharmacist Salary 
Retail  $122,179
Healthcare $111,068
Agriculture $98,320
Government  $78,448

Pharmacist Salary by Experience

Like any other profession, a pharmacist’s income fluctuates widely based on the experience they have. Salary Explorer looks at the pharmacist salary range in terms of experience. 

Years of Experience Average Annual Salary 
2 to 5 years  $102,000 
5 to 10 years  $136,000 
10 to 15 years  $162,000
15 to 20 years $175,000
More than 20 years $188,000

Pharmacist Salary by Qualification

If you’re interested in becoming a pharmacist, you need a bachelor’s degree in a science-related field of study or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate pre-pharmacy preparatory classes. To get better opportunities, take the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT); most pharmacy schools currently require the PCAT as part of their admissions process. 

You can also pursue a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, or Pharm.D, from a pharmacy program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). According to a survey by Salary Explorer, the average salary of a pharmacist with a bachelor’s degree is $110,000 per year, while a candidate with a master’s draws an average annual compensation of $173,000, about 58% higher earnings compared to an individual with a bachelor’s degree. 

ALSO READ: How Technology is Opening Career Opportunities in Health Care

Pharmacist Salary by Specialization

Pharmacists with a particular specialization tend to earn a better income than others. For example, a clinical specialty pharmacist can expect to earn a total pay of $138,966, which includes the base pay as well as the variable component. In the case of a staff pharmacist, the estimated total pay is around $131,5331 per year. Additionally, an industrial pharmacist working in medicine manufacturing can expect to draw a total pay of $129,087 annually. 

Best-Paying Countries for Pharmacists

In comparison to other countries, the average pharmacist salary is the highest in the U.S., followed by Switzerland. BScholarly claims the following salaries represent the best in the world for pharmacists:

Country Average Pharmacist Salary 
U.S. $133,014 
Switzerland $127,000 
Iceland $106,000
Canada $105,767

Highest-Paying Cities for Pharmacists in the U.S. 

Based on the data from Salary Explorer, Los Angeles is the highest-paying city for pharmacist jobs. The table below lists the top five highest-paying cities in the U.S. for pharmacists. 

City Average Pharmacist Salary
Los Angeles $150,000
Houston $146,000
New York  $145,000
Chicago $142,000
San Diego $141,000

Top Companies Hiring a Pharmacist

The average pharmacist salary provided by some of the top companies in the U.S. listed in the table below will provide a roadmap to aspiring pharmacists searching for high-paying jobs in the industry. 

Company Name Average Pharmacist Salary
Kroger $131,670 per year
Walmart $128,094 per year
CVS Health $127,995 per year
Walgreens $125,000 per year

Gear up for a Career in Pharmacy with Emeritus

This article should have made it clear that becoming a pharmacist is a challenging and important career choice, with good potential for growth. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector, Emeritus’ online healthcare courses are a great avenue to develop the right skills. Offered in association with top global universities, the programs equip professionals with the in-demand industry skills needed to work with patients. It’s your chance to make the most of the opportunity!

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

Pharmacist Salary

About the Author

Senior Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Gauri has found that the upside of being a writer and a scissor-happy copy editor is a rather constant, even paranoid, eye on her own work—and a healthy aversion to complacency. As a professional content creator for over a decade, she has spent time writing (and editing) design, architecture, and lifestyle stories, as well as corporate content, brochures, ads, and websites, among other genres. Her stint with Emeritus has opened an exciting and challenging avenue of education to explore and proves what she already knows—you’re really never done learning.
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