Pharmacist Salaries

pharmacist salariesPharmacist salaries are always an important consideration when an R.Ph. is considering a job change. Although everyone agrees that it should not be the only consideration, salary is obviously a primary topic of discussion when it comes to the subjects of permanent placement or direct hire with both our clients and pharmacist candidates. It is a commonly known fact that pharmacy is one of the premiere professions in the nation in regards to the starting salary for graduates with degrees. According to the statistics provided in 2014 by the US Department of Labor there are approximately 300,000 pharmacist jobs in the United States with an annual median pay of $121,500. With a projected 10 year growth rate of roughly 3%, the pharmacy profession will continue to see a steady increase in regards to salaries. However, with HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing being a national leader in permanent placement, pharmacist recruitment and direct hire in all 50 states, we feel that it is important to note that a decision based solely on annual salary can be very misleading when candidates for pharmacist positions are evaluating their options and opportunities. Along with median pharmacist salaries, evaluation of job opportunities should also include various other considerations such as the regional cost of living, state licensure requirements, pharmacist demand, plus geography and location, to name just a few. Since HCC is headquartered in Central Florida, many of our pharmacists have stated that they would accept a reduction in salary as compared to their counterparts located in the Northeast or Midwestern states -where winter storms and extremely cold weather both present a challenge to their lifestyles.

Why Pharmacists Change Jobs

Interestingly enough, a lower salary and compensation are NOT the primary  reason that a pharmacist will switch employers. There is an old saying “that people don’t change jobs, they change bosses”, but even that doesn’t seem true any more these days. According to a research study on LinkedIn in 2015, here are the five (5) top reasons that employees change jobs and switch companies:
1. Lack of opportunities for advancement at current position (45%)
2. Dissatisfaction with leadership and/or upper management (41%)
3. Unsatisfied with the work culture and environment (36%)
4. Dissatisfied with the salary and compensation (34%)
5. Unsatisfied with the rewards and/or recognition of the employee’s contributions
The staggering conclusion is that only approximately one-third (34%) switched because of money and pay!

Pharmacist Salaries By City and State

Even though most will agree without the LinkedIn study referenced above,  salary alone is not perhaps the only consideration, yet it does help put things in perspective to take a look at pharmacist salary trends across the USA. As rated by Value Penguin (perhaps the national leader in economic data and industry trend evaluations), here are the best paying cities in the nation based on annual median salary for pharmacists (Value Penguin analyzed median salaries in 396 cities based on the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014):
1. Santa Cruz, California – $165,000
2. Gadsden, Alabama
3. Fresno, California
4. Chico, California
5. Oxford, Alabama
6. Santa Barbara, California
7. Modesto, California
8. Brownsville, Texas
9. Dalton, Georgia
10. San Jose, California
11. Lake Havasu City, Arizona
12. Redding, California
13. Odessa, Texas
14. San Francisco, California
15. Oakland, California
16. Bakersfield, California
17. Corcoran, California
18. Yuba City, California
19. Merced, California
20. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
21. Petaluma, California
22. Napa, California
23. El Centro, California
24. Laredo, Texas
25. Longview, Texas – $135,000

Again, as rated by Value Penguin, here are the lowest paying cities in the USA based on annual median salary for pharmacists:
1. Hot Springs, Arkansas – $105,500
2. Lafayette, Indiana
3. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4. Millville, New Jersey
5. Dubuque, Iowa
6. Little Rock, Arkansas
7. Sarasota, Florida
8. Ann Arbor, Michigan
9. Warner Robins, Georgia
10. Ames, Iowa
11. Iowa City, Iowa
12. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
13. Colombus, Indiana
14. Cdar Falls, Iowa
15. Gaunesville, Florida
16. Lima, Ohio
17. Misooula, Montana
18. Savannah, Georgia
19. Erie, Pennsylvania
20. Lincoln, Nebraska
21. Omaha, Nebraska
22. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
23. Des Moines, Iowa
24. San Jaun, Puerto Rico
25. San Sebastian, Puerto Rico – $46,500

There are obviously some interesting results that can be seen from the lists:
– Of the top 25 cities by annual salary for pharmacists, 17 are located in California. Perhaps the lack of license reciprocation by California plus the requirement of a PharmD degree in the state are leading to this increased salary.
– Georgia made both the highest and the lowest city lists.
– The only state in the north that made the list of top 25 cities by salary for pharmacists was New Hampshire. Otherwise the entire list was dominated by the sunbelt and southern states.

How Does a Pharmacist Find the “Perfect” Job Opportunity Available?

HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing has been a national leader in regards to pharmacy recruitment, placement and staffing services for over 28 years. HCC is nationally renowned for a history of matching the right pharmacist to the right employer and job in every type of situation. This includes permanent and long term placements in all 50 states. We also can help with temp-to-permanent situations.

Whatever setting a pharmacist is looking to work in and whatever special needs a pharmacy may be searching for, HCC can help. Our pharmacy positions and staffing availability cover all aspects of job types: retail, hospital, clinical and specialty pharmacies. We offer solutions for almost every type of pharmacy job you may be looking for, or every type of pharmacist you may require:
– Compounding pharmacy and pharmacist
– Nursing Home & Long Term Care pharmacy and pharmacist
– Institutional (prisons and jails) pharmacy and pharmacist
– Hospice pharmacy and pharmacist
– Mail-order pharmacy and pharmacist
– Home health pharmacy and pharmacist
– Respiratory pharmacy and pharmacist
– IV pharmacy and pharmacist
– Nuclear pharmacy and pharmacist
– Home infusion pharmacy and pharmacist

If you are a pharmacy requiring permanent staffing help or a pharmacist looking for a new position, HCC Pharmacy Staffing can help. We have a professional in-house staff of consultants who can find you the right pharmacist or job to match your needs, whether it be in a retail, hospital or a specialty pharmacy area. Contact us today online or call us at 800-642-1652 to get started.


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Pharmacist Salary Trends

Pharmacist Salary Trends Impacting Pharmacy Staffing:

Being in the Pharmacy staffing business for over 27 years now as the owner and President of HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing has obviously lead to the topic of a pharmacist’s salary during discussions with clients and pharmacists. In a recent blog post regarding pharmacist salaries, we listed the top and bottom 25 US cities as rated by their average annual pharmacist salary. However, a recent article in the Australian Pharmacy News regrading pharmacists’ salary trends in Australia leads to some interesting observations worthy of further discussion. Although our focus on pharmacy staffing is concentrated geographically on the Southeastern United States (primarily Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina), our pharmacy recruitment and permanent placement division is nationally renowned for placing pharmacists in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico.

The trends seen in Australia regarding pharmacist salaries –

Before comparing statistical information between pharmacists in Australia and the United States, we must first point out that it will never be “apples to apples” due to numerous statistical factors (who remembers studying statistics in their college days?). The point is that the trends noted may be very similar when drawing any conclusions as they may relate to the future of pharmacy salaries and how they translate into the future of pharmacy staffing opportunities. We must always keep in mind that not only is Australia roughly 9,500 miles away, but it’s population is less than a tenth of that of the USA (in 2015 there were approximately 321 million people in the US versus 24 million residents of Australia).
In the United States according to statistics provided in 2014 by the US Department of Labor there were approximately 300,000 pharmacist jobs with an annual median pay of $121,500. In Australia in 2016 according to the Pharmacy Board of Australia, there were a total of 30,364 pharmacist jobs. The average pay for a pharmacist was $84,000 annually. The disparity in annual salaries is not the important point. What is important to note is the fact that the annual salary for a pharmacist in Australia was 0.8% higher than it was in mid-2015. Compare that to the annual average salary for a pharmacist in the US where the salary growth rate was actually stagnant nationally (a “paltry” increase of 0.1%). This finding is being disputed however by a recent article in the Australian Pharmacy Times. According to their findings, the average pharmacist’s pay actually decreased by 1.7% in 2015 when compared to 2014 (using ATO figures based on the average annual taxable income for 10,556 female and 5799 male pharmacists).
Regardless of the actual numbers, compare this to what was happening over the previous ten year period. A decade ago pharmacist salaries were increasing at a rate estimated to be over 10% (and up to 14% if you believe some sources).

The Cause of the “Salary Slow-Down” –

The primary cause is obviously “supply and demand”. In both the United States and Australia the number of new pharmacy graduates has “exploded” due to the significant increase in the number of Pharmacy schools that offer a degree in Pharmacy. In 1987 a total of 72 pharmacy schools existed in the US. In 2014, according to the AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy) there were 130 accredited pharmacy colleges. In the case of Australia it is even more dramatic as related to the increase in schools of pharmacy and pharmacy graduates. The number of pharmacy degree programs in Australia has increased from 6 in 1997 to 25 in 2015. Pharmacy graduate numbers have increased by a “staggering” 250%.

The Solution –

The result of all of the above discussion is the fact that by 2020 it is estimated that the number of pharmacists will outnumber the total number of pharmacy jobs available in the United States. Additionally, the result will be a period of salary “stagnation and reductions” that many experts predict will last for 3 – 5 years (until growth and expansion once again catch up to tip the balance of supply and demand back in the pharmacist’s favor).
One other factor that is coming into play is the national shift in the demand from retail pharmacy jobs to hospital pharmacist positions. Although the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) predicts a 3% growth by 2024 in the number of pharmacist jobs, the outlook in retail pharmacist positions in not very encouraging. In fact, the BLS actually is forecasting that retail pharmacy jobs will decrease by roughly 1% (with a projected decrease of up to 7,000 fewer retail positions for pharmacists nationally).
The solution is to take action now. Plan for the future by talking to some experts in the pharmacy staffing industry who have the experience to advise and coach you regarding the changes in the pharmacy job market as they may relate to YOU. Keep up with your “competition” and be prepared for the future situation of more pharmacists than jobs and the shift away from retail positions.
In our next blog post we will share some tips to assist you if you decide that a change in your “career game plan” is perhaps necessary.

In the meantime, feel free to contact us here at HCC. Take a few minutes to introduce yourself and meet us. No matter the setting a pharmacist is looking to work in, HCC is nationally renowned for a history of matching the right pharmacist to the right employer and job in every type of situation. Owned and operated by pharmacists for over 27 years now, HealthCare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing is recognized as a national leader in the pharmacy staffing, recruiting and placement arena. Call us today at 800.642.1652, or contact us online to meet us and start a discussion on how we may be able to help you.


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