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What is the Average Pharmacist Salary in the U.S.?
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.
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|
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|
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|
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!
By Mikhil Pathak
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