regarding the state of the current job market for pharmacists that were released in the most recent report by the US Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) on February 4th, 2022 show some interesting results when one is considering pharmacy as a career. For those already practicing in the pharmacy profession, it also may help to clarify what segment of the industry a pharmacist should consider practicing in as a future career path. For many this means getting the required training and experience now that may help them get the best position for a job or position in the future.
The first thing to note is that there continues to be an annual increase in the number of pharmacist jobs and positions across the entire nation as we’ve previously been seeing over the past two decades. However, the annual percentage increase of new jobs available for pharmacists has definitely slowed down each year. As a point of reference, comparing the total number of positions for pharmacists available nationally in 2014 (297,100) versus 2016 (305,510) shows just a gain of 8,410 new jobs available over the two-year period (or slightly less than a 3% increase). The statistics just released by the US Department of Labor show that in 2022 the total number of positions for pharmacists rose to a new record high of 315,470. Once again, if we compare the two-year period of 2020 versus 2022, we see a very modest gain of only 2970 new jobs available over the two-year period (or approximately just under a modest 1% increase). So, while we still are seeing a steady annual increase in the number of new jobs and total positions available to pharmacists nationally, there is a “slowing down” of the growth.
In fact, the US Labor Bureau projects that employment of pharmacists will actually decline over the next decade. This decrease will be a projected decline of around 2% by 2030. Yet, despite declining employment numbers, an estimated 13,000 new openings for pharmacists are still being projected each year over the next decade. These openings result from the expectation that a certain percentage will either be retired, or transfer to other occupations.
This increase has been going on for well over a decade now and according to the US Department of Labor (USDL) will continue until 2030. Based on the continuing increase in life expectancy and the growing geriatric population in the United States, the increased demand for prescription drugs will obviously lead to an increase in the demand for pharmacists and thus more jobs.
Too Many Pharmacists Graduating?
Although these statistics indicate a slight decline in the total number of jobs for pharmacists over the next decade in the United States, many are sharing their concern that the number of new pharmacy graduates will at some point outpace any job growth. In the USA, the number of pharmacy graduates has “exploded” due to the significant increase in the number of Pharmacy schools that offer a degree in Pharmacy. In 1987 there were a total of only 72 accredited pharmacy schools in the US. In 2014, according to the AACP (American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy) there were 130 accredited pharmacy colleges across the nation. As of January of 2020, there’s now a total of 141 accredited pharmacy colleges in the USA. Many experts predict that due to the laws of supply and demand, salaries for pharmacists in certain settings and/or regions of the country will at some point have to adjust and begin to decline.
Regional US Pharmacist Job Statistics
Looking at the USDL numbers on a regional basis reveals some very interesting statistics. As expected, the more populous states such as California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania have the most pharmacist jobs. Here are the totals for these highly populated states:
– California 32,520
– Texas 23,150
– Florida 20,200
– New York 19,460
– Pennsylvania 14,900
What is interesting to note is what the USDL calls a “Location Quotient” relative to jobs in a profession. The USDL location quotient (LQ) is basically a way of quantifying how concentrated a particular occupation is in a region when compared to the US as a whole. It can reveal what makes a particular state or region of the country unique or lucrative when compared to the national average. When looking at the “concentration” of pharmacy jobs available by state using the USDL location quotient, some interesting results are seen. Perhaps unexpectedly, the following states show the highest concentration and number of pharmacist jobs per capita:
– North Dakota
– West Virginia
– Rhode Island
The results indicate that, although perhaps the numbers of total jobs are higher in the more populated states and regions of the country, the “concentration” of pharmacy jobs available are greater in the less populous states. The conclusion can be drawn by some that perhaps pharmacists are “more in demand” and jobs more obtainable in these areas and states.
Comparing Pharmacist Salaries by State
Of interest to many also is comparing the average hourly wages for a pharmacist in these different states and geographical areas and regions of the nation. From the USDL statistics one can see that, excluding California, there is actually very little difference in the average hourly wages between all of these states:
– California: $70.22
– Texas: $60.32
– Florida: $58.32
– New York: $58.24
– Pennsylvania: $55.86
– North Dakota: $49.73
– Rhode Island: $55.31
– West Virginia: $62.23
– Montana: $56.11
– Louisiana: $59.31
Pharmacy Jobs in Retail Versus Hospital Settings
From the USDL statistics, one can perhaps get a clear picture of the retail job vs. the hospital job opportunities projected for pharmacists over the next decade. Currently, an estimated 60% of all pharmacists in the US work in what is considered a retail setting. Of those retail positions, approximately seven and a half percent (7.5%) work in grocery or supermarket chain stores. The USDL numbers predict that these supermarket and grocery store positions will grow by an estimated four to five percent (4-5%) over the next ten years.
The bad news is that the USDL estimates indicate that a drop in the total number of retail pharmacy jobs available will be seen over the next decade. Although it is minimal (less than 1%), retail jobs for pharmacists will be stagnant. The good news is that the number of hospital jobs will increase by well over ten percent (10%) during the next ten or so years. Some medical staffing experts predict that a thirteen to fifteen percent (13-15%) increase is not to be unexpected. Currently an estimated thirty-one percent (31%) of all pharmacy jobs are in the hospital, clinical and home health settings, but this will dramatically rise due to several factors. The continuing increase in our country’s population life expectancy and the growing geriatric population in the United States, plus the exponential increase in new medication therapies, all lead to the need of more hospital pharmacists. Additionally, as roles such as Medication Therapy Management (MTM) are expanding, so will the demand for specialized clinical pharmacists increase during the next decade.
About Healthcare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing
Whatever setting or market segment that a pharmacist is looking to work in, we here at HCC can help. Our pharmacy positions and staffing availability cover all aspects of job types: retail, mail-order, hospital, clinical and specialty pharmacies. We offer direct hire, permanent placement and temporary and part-time job solutions in almost every type of pharmacy setting that you may be looking to work in.
Let HCC do the work for you! Healthcare Consultants Pharmacy Staffing is one of the leading pharmacy staffing agencies in the United States. Established in 1989 and owned and operated by pharmacists, we serve all 50 states and have vast experience in relocation, direct hire, and permanent placement. We attribute our 33+ years of success to always placing the right pharmacist in the right job.
If you are a pharmacist looking for opportunities to switch jobs or relocate, we urge you to talk with us. With positions immediately available, contact us today online or call us at 800-642-1652 to get started now.