What Is the Employment Outlook for Pharmacists?

Pharmacists are responsible for dispensing prescribed medication to patients. Read on to learn about the job outlook and potential earnings for this career. Schools offering Pharmacy Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov, reports that pharmacists will have good job opportunities in the United States due to the growing demand of consumers for prescription medications that must be dispensed by pharmacists. Employment openings for pharmacists are projected to grow 6% between 2016 and 2026, which is about as fast as average, according to the BLS.

Increased job opportunities are also due to the wider availability of prescription medication and more health insurance companies covering a greater selection of prescription drugs in their healthcare plans, reports the BLS. In addition, clinics and hospitals will demand more of these professionals. According to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, www.aacp.org, studies predict a shortage of pharmacists by 2020.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
Licensure Required in all states
Key Skills Analytical, managerial, communication, and computer skills; attention to detail
Similar Occupations Medical scientist, physician, pharmacy technician, registered nurse

Improve Your Prospects

The BLS notes that pharmacists can expect more competition, since more people are graduating from pharmacy schools. Participating in a residency can help give you experience that will set you apart from other candidates. In addition, you could pursue certification in a specialty area, such as diabetes, oncology or nutrition. The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators and the Board of Pharmacy Specialties are two organizations offering certification exams.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, pharmacists averaged $123,670 annually in May 2018. Most made between $87,790 and $161,250 at that time. Salaries varied by industry, with health and personal care stores paying these professionals an average wage of $122,380. Hospitals paid an average wage of $125,660, while grocery stores paid $125,240. The highest-paid pharmacists worked in outpatient care centers and averaged $137,530.

Employment Opportunities

There were 309,550 people working as pharmacists in the U.S. in 2018, according to the BLS. The majority of them worked in health and personal care stores, while others worked in hospitals, grocery stores, department stores and other general merchandise stores. They can also find employment in the following settings:

  • Mail-order pharmacies
  • Physicians' offices
  • Outpatient care centers

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