Pharmacists fill prescriptions ordered by physicians and other medical professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the demand for pharmacists in the United States will increase by 17 percent from 2008 through 2018. To gain the licensing necessary to work in the field, pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy or PharmD degree, which typically requires two years of undergraduate education followed by four years of pharmacy school. As of May 2009, pharmacists earned an average of $106,630 per year, according to the BLS.
A pharmacist's work experience helped determine her rate of pay as of November 2010, reports Payscale. Pharmacists with one to four years of experience earned an average of $69,826 to $101,441 per year. Those with five to nine years of experience averaged $83,552 to $112,168 annually, while those with 10 to 19 years of experience made an average of $91,066 to $113,689. With 20 years experience or more in the field, pharmacists received an average of $94,363 to $117,452 yearly.
Pharmacist salaries differed based on employer type and industry as of May 2009, explains the BLS. Employing more than 119,000 pharmacists, health and personal care stores served as the largest employer in the field; professionals working in these types of businesses earned an average of $107,810 per year. Mental health and substance abuse hospitals paid an average of $114,580 annually, making them among the highest-paying employers. General hospitals featured average annual salaries of $106,210 for pharmacists. Pharmacists employed by grocery or department stores averaged annual salaries of $105,640 and $105,120, respectively.
Pharmacists average annual salaries varied based on geographic location in the United States as of May 2009, reports the BLS. New Hampshire had the highest concentration of professionals in the field; pharmacists working in the state averaged salaries of $112,500 per year. In California, pharmacists enjoyed the highest average annual salaries at $117,080. The states of Alaska, Minnesota, Alabama and Maine also featured high pay rates for pharmacists with professionals in these states averaging $113,460 to $115,760 per year.
Many pharmacists received additional benefits that increased their overall compensation packages, according to Payscale. As of November 2010, pharmacists received an average of between 1.7 and 2.8 weeks of paid vacation as well as paid holidays and sick time. They also earned annual bonuses with a median range of $2,011 and $3,500. Other common benefits for pharmacists included 401k retirement plans, life or disability insurance, stock options and purchase plans and malpractice and liability insurance.
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.