How Much Do Pharmacists Make?


May 15, 2019

Interested in a rewarding career with the potential for six-figure earnings? With median annual wages topping $120,000, a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree from PCOM can be a pathway to a lucrative job.

In May 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for pharmacists was $126,120. This number represents the midpoint in pharmacist wages—half of all pharmacists earn more and half earn less. The highest 10 percent earned more than $161,250. 

Glassdoor, a job and recruiting site, reports an attractive average base pay for pharmacists of $127,516. This average was calculated from thousands of pharmacist salaries submitted anonymously to the site.  

According to Sonia Amin Thomas, PharmD, BCOP, an assistant professor at PCOM School of Pharmacy, salary is just one factor to consider in choosing a career path.

"The area in which you will practice, the job description of what you may or may not want to do, the type of patient population in the area and the general culture of the workplace are bigger decision factors in choosing a job," she said.

Where Are the Best Paying Pharmacy Jobs?

While industry plays a significant role in determining how much you will make as a pharmacist, location is also a major determining factor. BLS data shows that, in 2018, a pharmacist in Alaska could expect an annual mean wage of $139,880 while one in West Virginia could expect only $115,130. In Georgia, where PCOM School of Pharmacy is located, the annual mean wage for pharmacists last year was $118,710. Atlanta, GA—located less than an hour away from the PCOM School of Pharmacy—is listed as one of the “Hot Cities” for pharmacist jobs according to Glassdoor.

Nationwide, the BLS reports, the annual mean wage in 2018 was $123,670. The mean wage is an average calculated by multiplying the hourly mean wage by a year-round, full-time rate of 2,080 hours.

The top five highest paying states for pharmacists in 2018 according to the BLS were Alaska, California, Vermont, Maine and Wisconsin. The highest paying metropolitan area, however, was in Texas—a state with a mean annual wage for pharmacists of $126,800. In Tyler, Texas, a pharmacist can expect an annual mean wage of $174,870. California metropolitan areas hold five of the top 10 highest paying spots but Gadsden, Alabama—located approximately two and a half hours from Atlanta—took the number six position on the list with an average mean wage of $148,970.

What is the Job Outlook for Pharmacists?

A career in pharmacy promises to be lucrative, but are there enough high-paying jobs available? From 2016 to 2026, employment of pharmacists is expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations—6 percent (+17,400 jobs). Some sectors have higher expected growth. Pharmacist employment is expected to increase 20 percent (+1,000 jobs) in physician offices and nearly 40 percent (+1,700 jobs) in outpatient care centers.

The BLS predicts demand will increase due to a need for pharmacists in hospitals and clinics where they will oversee medications and provide patient care including tasks such as testing blood sugar or cholesterol. An aging U.S. population will further increase demand as chronic disease associated with an older population will require more prescription medications.

While competition for these jobs will likely be high, a solid educational foundation coupled with residency program experience or applicable certifications can give you an advantage as a job seeker. 

"Pharmacy has so many different areas in which someone can practice," Thomas added. "One thing in common is being able to educate and help patients to enhance patient care and further advance pharmacy as a profession."

Visit our Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program page to learn how PCOM School of Pharmacy can equip you with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in this rapidly changing profession.

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About PCOM School of Pharmacy

Established in 2010, PCOM School of Pharmacy, located in Suwanee, Georgia, offers the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree, a joint PharmD/MBA degree and several concentration options. For more information, visit pcom.edu/pharmacy or follow PCOM Georgia: