Average Pharmacist Salary Expectations by Healthcare Setting

Brandi Glass
March 7, 20225 min read
Average Pharmacist Salary Expectations

A pharmacy would be meaningless without the efforts of a trained professional who knows the effects of medication and its chemical compounds. Although pharmacists have similar roles throughout the world, their setting determines their specific functions.

If you are a recent graduate ready to launch your career as a pharmacist, we’re here to help. This article will go over the primary duties, the average pharmacist salary, and how your resume makes a difference when seeking a new position.

What is the Role of a Pharmacist?

Your job is to preserve and provide prescription drugs safely. A pharmacist is a trained professional who understands the functions of medications and advises people on how to use them. Because you have thorough knowledge about these medications, you advise patients about when to take their medicine and the potential side effects of using them and filling their prescriptions.

As a pharmacist, you understand how medications work together and their impact on patient health.

Since many medications are dangerous if misused, you play a significant role in maintaining public health. Depending on your field, you may also help with emerging research and test new medications in the market.

Do I Need a Degree to Work As a Pharmacist?

Yes, you must have a degree to work as a pharmacist in the United States. Because you handle and come into contact with substances that can be dangerous, it is imperative that “you know your stuff.”

In addition to a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree, the institution you studied in must have full accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). You must also complete an internship as a student in a pharmacy or hospital to gain hands-on experience and know what to expect.

How Much Does a Pharmacist Make?

Pharmacists enjoy a high quality of life and earn high salaries after graduating. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pharmacist salary in the United States is $128,710 per year. Your average hourly wage amounts to $61.88.

As per Salary.com, the average pharmacist salary nationwide is $142,146, with the highest earners making up to $159,830 annually. It’s safe to say that you can expect lucrative earnings when you embark on this professional path.

What is the Best Pharmacy Setting to Work Within?

Not all pharmacies are alike. You have the choice to work in various settings, depending on what is accessible in your state. Below is a list of the most common locations and their advantages.

Community/Retail Pharmacy

Community pharmacies are small, local places established by a pharmacist. They are convenient in rural areas and communities that don’t have large retail pharmacies close enough for residents to get their medicine.

Retail pharmacies are part of large corporations. These places have most medications and drugs and often have multiple pharmacists. Examples of retail pharmacies include:

  • CVS: This popular retail pharmacy has 9,962 branches in 40 US States. You can make between $82,000 - $134,000 working as a pharmacist in CVS.
  • Walgreens: This retail pharmacy is one of CVS’s biggest competitors. Walgreens has 9,021 drugstores in 50 US states. The average pharmacist salary at Walgreens is $117,600 per year.
  • Walmart: Walmart is a popular retailer with 4,743 stores in the US. You can make roughly $101,000 - $145,000 working as a pharmacist at Walmart.
  • Costco: Costco has 572 branches in the US. Despite their much smaller presence, pharmacists make 23% above the national average working in their pharmacies, at $67.25 an hour.
  • Rite Aid: This retailer has 2,451 branches in the US. A pharmacist in this establishment makes an average of $104,350 per year.
  • Publix: Publix has 1,294 branches in the US. The average pharmacist salary at Publix is $120,968.
  • Kaiser: This organization collaborates with thousands of pharmacies across the US. You can make between $87,000 - $200,000 a year working as a Kaiser pharmacist.
  • Kroger: This company has 2,800 stores nationwide. You can make $127,997 working as a pharmacist at Kroger.

Hospital Pharmacy

These pharmacies exist within a hospital setting with licensing from the US Department of Health. Hospital pharmacists make $142,200 a year.

Industrial Pharmacy

Industrial pharmacists test, develop, and test the quality of new and emerging drugs. Industrial pharmacists average $127,460 a year.

Nuclear Pharmacy

Nuclear pharmacists prepare radioactive materials for specific patients or uses, such as oncology settings. Nuclear pharmacists make a median salary of $128,389 a year.

Assisted Living Pharmacy

Pharmacists working in these establishments prepare medications for patients of the facility. They make an average of $113,213 yearly.

What are the Benefits of Working as a Pharmacist?

Working as a pharmacist comes with many benefits. Primarily, you’re helping patients maintain their health and get better. Additionally, you can make a high salary and choose a setting that suits your skills. There’s also room for progress in this field.

With time and experience, you can receive a promotion and become a pharmacy manager. You’ll have different responsibilities, oversee staff and enjoy a higher wage.

Being a pharmacist is a highly-stable and autonomous career path with excellent growth potential if you’re seeking more responsibilities.

Are There Downsides to Working in a Pharmacy?

As with any position, being a pharmacist comes with some drawbacks. Besides the lengthy educational path and its cost, pharmacists work hard and face significant stress.

Your job comes with a high degree of responsibility, as giving someone the wrong medication has life-threatening consequences. You may also have to stand for long periods and work during weekends and holidays.

How Can I Apply for a Pharmacist Job?

Nowadays, applying to a pharmacist job is mainly done through a job site or using the pharmacy’s “hire us” tab. If you prefer to work at a small community pharmacy, you can apply there, but most ask you to email your resume.

Regardless of the portal, your resume must always clear Applicant Tracking Systems. If it’s in the wrong format, it will not do so, diminishing your chances of getting the position you want.

Avoid getting your resume rejected by creating a customized pharmacist resume from Rocket Resume. With thousands of templates and intuitive tools, you can build a resume quickly and effortlessly. The best part is that the CV clears ATS without a hitch, increasing the likelihood of reaching a hiring manager’s hands.

Build A Pharmacist Resume with Rocket Resume

Being a pharmacist comes with a great deal of responsibility towards the company and the patient. It allows you to enjoy a high quality of life. Although it is not for everyone, it certainly comes with many benefits and opportunities for future progress.

Now that you know the ins and outs of working as a pharmacist, your next step is to highlight your qualifications and look for placement opportunities.

One way to stand out among applicants is to have a solid resume highlighting your strengths and accomplishments. Rocket Resume’s customized resumes help you present in the best way possible before the hiring manager interviews you. Are you ready to launch a successful pharmacist career?

Sign up with Rocket Resume today.