Salaries for Pharmacists in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($110K) per year. Overall incomes of Pharmacists generally bottom out at around $83K and peak near $135K; the final number can, in exceptional cases, include upwards of $10K each for bonuses and profit sharing proceeds. Earnings for this group are mostly affected by location, followed by the company and experience level. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and the larger part earn dental coverage. Women make up a slight majority of Pharmacists (54 percent) survey respondents. Most Pharmacists like their work and job satisfaction is high. Participants in PayScale's salary questionnaire provided the particulars of this report.
Job Description for Pharmacist
Pharmacists work primarily for pharmacies and drugstores; however, hospitals and medical clinics may employ their own pharmacists to dispense drugs directly to patients. Pharmacists who work for hospitals must analyze both in-patient and out-patient medication, so close attention to detail is very important in this position to ensure the accuracy of filled prescriptions.Read More...
In addition to filling prescriptions from medical doctors, pharmacists must also be able to decide what medication is appropriate for each patient and identify any errors by physicians in prescribing medication to patients. They must also review other medications which patients are taking prior to filling new prescriptions to ensure there are no possible harmful drug interactions between medications. Pharmacists should also contact patients' physicians regarding any concerns about their medications.
Most employers require that candidates possess a doctorate degree in pharmacy and years of experience in a hospital or residency. Computer skills and interpersonal skills are important in this position, as well as excellent verbal and written communication skills to speak with patients politely, clearly and concisely. They must be able to work independently with minimal supervision, as well as in team settings. They are encouraged to read professional journals relevant to their job and stay up-to date with new drugs coming into the marketplace. Some may also train, coach, or mentor new pharmacists.
- Educate patient on medication use, storage and side effects.
- Solicit information from patients regarding past and current medication to prevent drug interactions.
- May collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review and evaluate patient effectiveness.
- Analyze prescribing trends to monitor patient compliance and to prevent excessive usage or harmful interactions.
- Dispense and review prescriptions to ensure accuracy, and compliance with professional, state and federal regulatory requirements.
Common Career Paths for Pharmacist
At the upper end, Pharmacists who move into a Pharmacy Director role may earn a little more as the latter position has a median salary of $128K per year. A Retail Pharmacist role is the most common promotion for Pharmacists moving up the ladder. Pay for this role tends to be $105K per year. Another typical, albeit less common, transition for Pharmacists is a Pharmacist in Charge position, where earnings are usually $116K.
Pharmacist Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Pharmacist
Many Pharmacists can be found at CVS / Pharmacy, Walgreen's Pharmacy, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Walgreen Co., and Rite Aid Pharmacy, firms that are at the top of the field. With a median salary of $127K, CVS Caremark Corporation offers Pharmacists the highest pay. However, earnings don't seem to live on a large spectrum; they generally peter out at $103K and are capped at $141K. Also paying near the top of the field are The Kroger Company at $124K, Target Corporation at $124K, and Safeway, Inc., where Pharmacists annually earn $123K.
Employees at Omnicare, Inc take home the smallest paychecks, and $115K is the median salary. Furthermore, range in pay is narrow, with salaries starting at $99K and quickly nearing the top at only $137K. Walmart.com, Walgreen Co. and Walgreen's Pharmacy are three other employers with a reputation for below-average pay, all showing salaries around $117K.
Popular Skills for Pharmacist
Pharmacists seem to require a rather large skill set. Most notably, skills in Immunization, Pediatrics, Add New: Hospital Pharmacy, and Retail Pharmacy are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 3 percent and 8 percent. Skills that are correlated to lower pay, on the other hand, include immunizations. It is often found that people who know Hospital Education are also skilled in Long Term Care and Oncology.
Pay by Experience Level for Pharmacist
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Pharmacists with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Large paychecks, which sit comfortably in the six-figure range, are handed out almost immediately; professionals who have less than five years' experience report earning a median of $109K per year. On average, Pharmacists make $120K following one to two decades on the job. Pharmacists with more than 20 years of experience report incomes that are only modestly higher; the median for these old hands hovers around $121K.
Pay Difference by Location
For Pharmacists, Los Angeles provides a pay rate that is 7 percent greater than the national average. Pharmacists will also find cushy salaries in Minneapolis (+6 percent), Phoenix (+6 percent), San Diego (+6 percent), and Philadelphia (+4 percent). With compensation 10 percent below the national average, New York is not known for hefty paychecks and actually represents the lowest-paying market. Employers pay around 7 percent less in Miami and 5 percent less in Boston, below-median salaries for those in this field.