The term “pharmacologist” is often confused with that of a pharmacist, but the two occupations aren’t that much alike. Pharmacologists study the effects of drugs and medicines on the human body, while pharmacists dispense drugs and medicines to patients. Both must earn advanced degrees, yet a pharmacologist must hold a Ph.D., while a pharmacist must earn a doctor of pharmacy, or Pharm.D. Salaries for pharmacologists usually reach the six-figure mark.
In 2012, half of all medical scientists earned at least $76,980 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made in excess of $146,650 a year, while the bottom 10 percent made less than $41,340 a year. None of these figures, however, account for specialty -- a factor that has quite a bit of bearing on earnings.
Salary in Detail
To get a better idea of what a pharmacologist earns, look at industry numbers. Pharmacologists are often found working for pharmaceutical companies, which pay an average of $100,850 a year, according to 2012 BLS statistics. The Florida Area Health Education Centers Network provides a similar range, estimating that pharmacologists earned from $91,407 to $118,828 a year in 2009.
Not all pharmacologists end up working directly in the industry. Some choose to work in an academic setting. A survey by the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy found that assistant professors earned $98,204 a year for the 2012-2013 school year. Associate professors made a bit more, averaging almost $112,000 a year, while full professors can expect to earn almost $153,000 annually.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects pharmacologists -- as well as other medical scientists -- will face a 36 percent growth in job opportunities from 2010 to 2020. This is much faster than the average for all U.S. occupations -- a projected 14 percent. As more and more people live to an advanced age, the demand for new medicines and other pharmaceuticals increases and drives growth for the occupation.