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Pharmacists dispense drugs through prescriptions in many places, from chain-store pharmacies -- where they are hired to work on a salaried basis -- to hospitals -- where they work directly for the hospital -- to independent pharmacies, where they may own the pharmacy themselves. There are a number of requirements for pharmacists based on years of experience and location for them to get promotions in pay and title.
Pharmacists are required to have at least six years of education after they graduate from high school. This usually consists of a few years of undergraduate college experience and then a pharmaceutical and medical training program, which will result in a pharmacy degree. Once they have attained this level of education they are licensed to practice as pharmacists within their state. When this occurs, they may be hired as staff pharmacists at any pharmacy that will have them and their level of experience. Entry-level pharmacists earn around $80,000 per year, on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To be promoted to supervisor within a pharmacy, staff pharmacists usually must have at least two to three years of experience working at the pharmacy level and dealing with all types of prescriptions, customers and pharmaceutical situations. However, this rate of promotion may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy and be based on the type of work the staff pharmacist is doing. As 60 percent of pharmacists work in community drug stores, according to State University.com, most of these employees will only be promoted to manager or supervisor of their particular pharmacy. Most of these pharmacy supervisors or managers earn more than $100,000 per year, on average.
Pharmacy Owners or Directors
Pharmacy supervisors or managers who excel in their role managing other pharmacists can be promoted in a couple of ways, depending on where they work. If they work for a smaller pharmacy, they are sometimes given a share of the ownership of the pharmacy itself for their services. Some of these pharmacists will start their own pharmacies and hire their own staffs as small business owners. If a pharmacy supervisor works for a larger pharmacy chain or hospital, she can be promoted to director of pharmaceutical operations in that region of pharmacies or hospital. This level of pharmacist makes more than $131,000, on average.
2016 Salary Information for Pharmacists
Pharmacists earned a median annual salary of $122,230 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, pharmacists earned a 25th percentile salary of $109,400, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $138,920, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 312,500 people were employed in the U.S. as pharmacists.
Hailing from Austin, Texas, Daniel Westlake has written under pen names for a myriad of publications all over the nation, ranging from national magazines to local papers. He now lives in Los Angeles, Calif. but regularly travels around the country and abroad, exploring and experiencing everything he can.