Pharmacists: Salary Overview
Pharmacists dispense prescription medication to patients and advise them on how to safely use these prescriptions.
They are also qualified to conduct health and wellness screenings, conduct immunization, oversee the medication given to patients, and advise them on healthy lifestyle changes.
A pharmacist’s job description typically includes filling prescriptions, checking if the prescriptions will interact negatively with other drugs the patients take, instructing patients on how and when to take the medication, giving flu shots, completing insurance forms, and oversee the work of pharmacy technicians.
They are also responsible for keeping records and completing other administrative tasks, and teaching other healthcare professionals about the medication they should administer to patients.
Some pharmacists also create customized medication by compounding the ingredients themselves.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists held approximately 314,300 jobs in 2019 and were paid between less than $90,000 and more than $160,000 a year.
The median annual wage for this profession was $128,090 in May 2019 which means that half the workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
Salaries vary based on a wide range of factors, including the pharmacist’s specialty, education, experience, industry, and region of employment.
Pharmacists can have different specialties.
Community pharmacists work in drug stores or independently owned pharmacies while clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.
Consultant pharmacists provide advice to healthcare facilities or insurance providers on how to improve pharmacy services.
Other pharmacists work in the pharmaceutical industry in areas such as marketing, sales, revenue, and development.
Pharmacist Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43% of all pharmacists were employed in pharmacies and drug stores in 2019.
Hospitals hired approximately 26% of all pharmacists while food and beverage stores hired 8% of pharmacists.
Approximately 6 percent of all pharmacists worked in general merchandise stores.
Pharmacists who worked for general merchandise stores earned, a median of $136,320 a year while those employed by food and beverage stores earned around $132,750 a year.
Hospitals paid pharmacists, a median salary of $129,740 a year while pharmacists who worked for pharmacies and drug stores earned around $125,910 per year.
The highest average annual salary was reported by pharmacists who worked in outpatient care centers, a field that hired 6,640 pharmacists as of May 2019.
Pharmacists employed in this sector earned, on average, $143,150 a year.
Finding employment in a higher-paying position can be tough and having a few years of experience or holding a certificate in a specific area of expertise, such as infectious diseases pharmacy, nutrition support pharmacy, pharmacotherapy, psychiatric pharmacy, or pediatric pharmacy offered by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties can increase your payment prospects.
Bonuses and Other Benefits
Many employers try to motivate pharmacists by offering bonuses, commission, and profit-sharing.
According to a report published by payscale.com in May 2020, on average, pharmacists earned $2,390 a year in bonuses, $997 in commission, and $3,435 in profit sharing.
These numbers vary depending upon the pharmacist’s level of skills, education, experience, and the company’s performance.
The same report shows that pharmacists can earn up to $5,000 a year in commission, between $862-$8,000 in profit sharing, and between $506-$10,000 in bonuses.
Job Prospects for Pharmacists
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for pharmacists is projected to show little or no change in the following decade.
Job opportunities, however, vary depending upon the industry and the region.
Demand for pharmacists is projected to increase in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings where they will oversee the medication patients receive.
Employment for pharmacists in pharmacies and drug stores is projected to decline because many patients prefer to order their medication online and pharmacy technicians begin to have a more important role in pharmacy operations.
* Based on information from the May 2019 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Pharmacists. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.