All You Need To Know About A Pharmacist Career

You consider becoming a pharmacist but want to get some additional information before making your final career choice?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about being a pharmacist in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a pharmacist, but we will also talk a lot about job satisfaction, working hours, work-life balance, educational requirements, duties, responsibilities and much more.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what working as a pharmacist really looks like and whether you still want to pursue this career or rather want to work in a different field instead.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

Table of Contents

What does a Pharmacist do?

Pharmacists sell medications and drugs and make sure that customers get everything they need to get healthy as soon as possible.

They also advise clients on what drugs they should use to cure minor health issues and also give them additional information on possible complications and side effects related to prescription drugs.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Pharmacist

  • Selling drugs and medication to customers
  • Informing customers about possible side effects
  • Consulting clients on the use of prescription drugs
  • Making sure that clients get the right dose
  • Informing customers about potential health risks related to certain medications
  • Checking whether customers are suitable to take certain drugs
  • Conducting health screenings
  • Conducting fitness screenings
  • Overseeing medications
  • Giving people advice on how to live a healthier lifestyle
  • Providing immunizations
  • Meeting safety standards related to the prescription of drugs

What a Typical Day of a Pharmacist looks like?

Pharmacists usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m.

After getting to work, the first thing they do is to check that everything is in order and the pharmacy looks clean so that customers feel welcome and comfortable inside and are more likely to buy.

Apply for Jobs!

Pharmacists also make sure that high safety standards are met inside the drugstore so that people can’t steal drugs and other medications that could do significant harm to them in the long run.

After doing this organizational work, pharmacists open the pharmacy for their customers and advise them on what medications and doses they should take.

They also inform patients about possible side effects and complications that should be expected.

After working in this style for many hours, pharmacists finish their workday between 5 and 7 a.m.

Pharmacist Salary 2021

Pharmacist salary brackets 2021

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $169,000> $84.42
Top 25 %$134,000 – $148,000$66.88 – $73.91
Bottom 25 %$75,000 – $92,000$37.46 – $45.94
Bottom 10 %$63,000 – $68,000$31.39 – $33.97
Range$63,000 – $183,000$31.39 – $91.48
Average (Mean)$112,000$55.93
Median$108,000$53.95

Pharmacist salary 2021 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$63,000 – $78,000$31.39 – $38.93
Junior$76,000 – $89,000$37.92 – $44.38
Professional$87,000 – $102,000$43.96 – $50.88
Senior Professional$96,000 – $121,000$47.89 – $60.41
Expert$117,000 – $144,000$58.47 – $71.91
Top Expert$135,000 – $183,000$67.44 – $91.48

Pharmacist salary by state 2021 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$109,200$54.58
Alaska$112,800$56.33
Arizona$107,500$53.72
Arkansas$103,800$56.89
California$121,500$60.74
Colorado$108,600$54.28
Connecticut$104,900$52.42
Delaware$109,700$54.83
District of Columbia$112,100$56.04
Florida$110,600$55.27
Georgia$102,800$51.38
Guam$104,300$52.12
Hawaii$111,900$55.93
Idaho$102,300$51.13
Illinois$103,500$51.72
Indiana$108,200$54.09
Iowa$101,800$50.88
Kansas$104,900$52.44
Kentucky$103,500$51.73
Louisiana$105,500$52.71
Maine$112,300$56.12
Maryland$114,100$57.02
Massachusetts$108,700$54.33
Michigan$105,200$52.58
Minnesota$106,900$53.42
Mississippi$98,300$49.14
Missouri$96,500$48.23
Montana$99,200$49.58
Nebraska$101,600$50.78
Nevada$98,800$49.37
New Hampshire$106,700$53.32
New Jersey$112,100$56.04
New Mexico$98,400$49.18
New York$123,900$61.94
North Carolina$108,300$54.11
North Dakota$104,800$52.37
Ohio$112,700$56.32
Oklahoma$106,600$53.29
Oregon$102,900$51.43
Pennsylvania$108,400$54.18
Rhode Island$107,900$53.94
South Carolina$103,200$51.59
South Dakota$98,100$49.03
Tennessee$101,500$50.72
Texas$102,800$51.38
Utah$106,100$53.04
Vermont$104,300$52.12
Virginia$108,200$54.09
Washington$113,900$56.93
West Virginia$108,400$54.19
Wisconsin$106,300$53.12
Wyoming$102,700$51.34

Job Security of Pharmacists

Pharmacists enjoy pretty decent job security since barriers to entry to work in this field are pretty high and there is a huge demand for qualified pharmacists in many regions.

Hence, you will have an easy time finding a job in this field and don’t have to worry about becoming unemployed.

Future Outlook of Pharmacists

Not only current job prospects are great, but also the future outlook is pretty bright for pharmacists since due to an increasing number of people on our planet and an aging world population, an increasing number of people will need medical treatment and have to use drugs in the near future and pharmacists will therefore have more than enough job opportunities and will not have to worry about getting unemployed anytime soon.

Working Hours of Pharmacists

Most pharmacists start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 5 and 7 a.m.

Thus, you will work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will often come home from work while many other people like investment bankers have to work many extra hours and will not have time for their loved ones.

Job Satisfaction of Pharmacists

Most pharmacists are pretty happy with their jobs since they can make really good money while they still don’t have to work much overtime and also enjoy decent work-life balance.

Promotion Opportunities of Pharmacists

While you might start out as a pharmacy assistant or technician relatively soon, it will take you many years to become a qualified pharmacist.

However, once you are at this level, you will have lots of freedom regarding how you want to do your work and will also have assistants who can do many unpleasant tasks for you.

Career Levels of Pharmacists

  • Pharmacist intern
  • Pharmacy assistant
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Junior pharmacist
  • Senior pharmacist
  • Pharmacist with personnel responsibilities
  • Manager of a drugstore
  • Owner of a drugstore

Fields and Types of Pharmacists

  • Pharmacists specialized in prescription drugs
  • Pharmacists with expertise in alternative medical treatment
  • Hospital pharmacist
  • Ambulatory care pharmacist
  • Oncology pharmacist
  • Community pharmacist
  • Infusion pharmacist
  • Long-term care pharmacist
  • Pharmacist with emphasis on medications for children
  • Pharmacists advising older people

Educational Requirements for Pharmacists

Pharmacists need to spend many years in college before they are able to work in this field.

In fact, they have to get a doctor’s degree in pharmacy (PharmD) and also some practical experience until they are able to work as a pharmacist in an official manner.

How to become a Pharmacist

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a pharmacist
  2. Apply for degrees in pharmacy
  3. Get your bachelor’s degree with decent grades
  4. Apply for a doctor’s degree in pharmacy
  5. Get some working experience at a local pharmacy
  6. Study hard and get your doctor’s degree
  7. Apply for jobs as a pharmacist
  8. Master the job interview
  9. Sign your labor contract
  10. Open your own pharmacy

Character Traits you need as a Pharmacist

  • Passion for healing people
  • You should be a good listener
  • You should understand the needs of people
  • Empathy helps to deal with difficult customers
  • Patience for people having a bad day
  • You should be reliable
  • You need to know how to get people to trust you
  • Ability to deal with critical feedback in a healthy manner
  • You should be a good salesperson

Hard Skills for Pharmacists

  • Excellent knowledge of medications and drugs
  • Knowledge of how to live a healthy life
  • Ability to figure out whether people really need certain medications
  • Knowledge of rules and regulations related to the prescription of drugs
  • Ability to figure out people who just want to game the system
  • Good problem-solving skills help as well
  • Attention to detail is crucial
  • Good formal education (doctor in pharmacy)
  • Ability to get into the minds of people
  • Business skills help you operate your pharmacy in a profitable manner

Soft Skills for Pharmacists

  • Empathy for people who experience difficult moments in their lives
  • Patience for customers who have a bad day and try to bring you down
  • Persistence helps you push through difficult times
  • Good people skills help you lead a team
  • You should be customer-focused
  • Willingness to work hard for your customers
  • Passion for curing the diseases of people
  • You should be a good observer
  • Good communication skills help you make your customers happy

Exit Options for Pharmacists

While pharmacists will become really good at what they are doing, they are also pretty specialized and will not have many exit options apart from working as a pharmacy assistant or pharmacy technician.

If you want to switch from being a pharmacist to working as a doctor, you would have to get some additional education.

Pharmacist – Similar Careers

  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Nurse
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physiatrist
  • Medical assistant
  • Optician
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinary assistant

Pharmacist Career FAQs

Is working as a pharmacist physically demanding?

Being a pharmacist is not physically demanding.

You will just consult many customers per day and this means that you will mainly work with your brain instead of your muscles.

Is working as a pharmacist mentally demanding?

Working as a pharmacist can be mentally demanding since you will always need to stay focused to prescribe people proper medication and drugs since mistakes on your side could lead to serious outcomes for your customers.

Is it dangerous to work as a pharmacist?

Working as a pharmacist is not dangerous at all since you will work indoors in a protected environment and will not have to worry about serious accidents at work as other people who work with heavy machines have to do on a regular basis.

How long do pharmacists stay in their jobs?

Pharmacists stay in their jobs for many years or even decades since most of them are pretty happy with their overall working conditions and their salaries and don’t have an incentive to quit their jobs anytime soon.

Is it easy for pharmacists to find a new job?

Since pharmacists are in high demand and educational barriers to entry are pretty high, pharmacists often have an easy time finding a new job and don’t have to worry about getting unemployed in the near future.

Is it hard to switch from being a pharmacist to another field of work?

While pharmacists have excellent job prospects in their industry, they are still pretty specialized and it is therefore hard for pharmacists to switch to a different field since they often lack the qualifications and don’t meet the formal requirements to do so.

Hence, make sure that working as a pharmacist is what you want to do for quite a long time to avoid any issues in this regard.

Do pharmacists have a high social status?

Pharmacists have a pretty decent social status.

While they don’t have the same high social status as dentists or doctors, they still have a much higher standing compared to carpenters, fallers or many other people out there.

Can you help out your family and friends as a pharmacist?

You can also help out your loved ones as a pharmacist since you can advise your family and friends on what drugs and medications they should use to get healthy as soon as possible.

Can pharmacists work remotely?

Pharmacists are not able to work remotely since they have to advise their customers in person.

Consequently, while many other people who work in the corporate world are able to work from home, you as a pharmacist will be less flexible to manage your private and professional life at the same time and you will also have to spend lots of money commuting to work and back.

Is it easy to find a partner as a pharmacist?

It is pretty easy to find a partner for a long-term relationship as a pharmacist since you will make really good money and will also enjoy high levels of job security.

In turn, you will be considered a good provider and will have a rather easy time in the dating market.

Do pharmacists have to work on weekends?

Pharmacists don’t have to work on weekends most of the time.

Instead you can enjoy those days with your family or friends or also spend them on your favorite hobbies.

Do pharmacists have to work on holidays?

Pharmacists also don’t have to work on holidays but can rather use those days to make nice trips with their loved ones while waiters, train drivers and many other people often have to work during those times.

Do pharmacists have to work at nighttime?

Pharmacists don’t have to work in the late evening or at nighttime.

Instead, they work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and will be able to get home from work pretty early to meet up with their favorite people after work.

Do you have to travel as a pharmacist?

You don’t need to travel as a pharmacist.

Apart from commuting to work and back, you will be able to stay at home with your loved ones while many other people who work in the corporate world are on business trips and therefore away from home quite often.

Are pharmacist pensions good?

Thanks to the good money pharmacists are able to make during their active careers, most pharmacists also receive pretty decent pensions and don’t have to worry about financial problems once they get older and quit their jobs to retire.

Are pharmacist salaries going up?

Pharmacist salaries have been going up significantly over the past years since there is a shortage of qualified pharmacists in many regions while the demand for medications and drugs increases.

Consequently, the salaries of pharmacists will likely also go up in the future.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a pharmacist?

You will also do a pretty important job for society as a pharmacist since it will be on you to sell people the right medications and drugs so that they can get healthy and enjoy a high quality of life.

How long does it take to become a pharmacist?

Since you will have to get a doctor’s degree in pharmacy before you are able to work in this field, it will take you between 6 and 8 years to finish your education.

Thus, make sure that working as a pharmacist is really your dream job since you might quit along the way otherwise.

Is it difficult to become a pharmacist?

Since you will need to get a doctor’s degree and also have to get lots of practical experience, becoming a pharmacist is not easy and you have to really work hard on your education to get all the necessary qualifications needed to work in this field.

Do you need to be smart to work as a pharmacist?

Since a doctor’s degree is needed to work as a pharmacist, you should have a certain minimum IQ to aspire to a career as a pharmacist.

However, you also don’t need to be a genius.

It is much more important that you are willing to work hard to achieve your dream.

Do pharmacists have a good work-life balance?

Pharmacists enjoy decent work-life balance since they often have free weekends and holidays and also don’t have to work at nighttime while they can still make really good money from what they are doing.

Do pharmacists have to work many extra hours?

Pharmacists don’t have to work much overtime.

You will have rather rigid shifts and once your shift is over, you will just finish your workday and get back to work the next morning without having any time pressure to meet strict timelines as many other people like consultants have to deal with.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a pharmacist?

The harder you work on your education and the more time you are willing to sacrifice for your degree, the higher your chances of making it as a pharmacist.

Thus, study as hard as possible to get all the necessary qualifications needed to work as a pharmacist.

Can pharmacists work part-time?

Pharmacists are also able to work part-time.

However, if you want to operate your own pharmacy, you will still have to work full-time to get all the work done and to make as much money as possible from what you are doing.

Do pharmacists work indoors or outdoors?

Pharmacists work indoors and don’t have to care about climatic conditions outdoors while garbage collectors and many other people who work outdoors have to deal with adverse weather conditions on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a pharmacist look like?

Pharmacists often work in drugstores.

Hence, you will be surrounded by many customers who will frequently ask you for advice and you should therefore be an open and outgoing person to stay happy with what you are doing in the long run.

Do you have to look good for working as a pharmacist?

You don’t have to look good as a pharmacist.

However, you should still care about your appearance so that customers will trust you and will come back to your drugstore many times in the future.

Is a pharmacist career beneficial for your private life?

Being a pharmacist can be greatly beneficial for your private life since you will be able to make really good money while you will also have enough time to spend with your family.

Consequently, you will be able to afford many nice things and don’t have to worry about financial issues while you will still have enough leisure to spend with your loved ones and on your hobbies.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a pharmacist?

You need to get a doctor’s degree in pharmacy (PharmD) before you are officially able to work as a pharmacist.

Thus, you have to spend lots of time and money on education and you should therefore make sure that working as a pharmacist is what you want to do for quite a long time to make it worth the initial investment.

Do you need to be certified to work as a pharmacist?

You also need to be certified to be able to work as a pharmacist in an official manner.

However, once you get your doctor’s degree in pharmacy, this will rather be a formality instead of an actual hurdle most of the time.

How much does it cost to become a pharmacist?

Since you will have to spend many years in college to get your doctor’s degree in pharmacy, you will also have to spend lots of money on your education.

In fact, it is not uncommon for pharmacists to take on six-figure student loans that they have to pay back later in their lives.

Is being a pharmacist a good career?

Since pharmacists are able to make really good money, have decent job security and also don’t have to work many extra hours, being a pharmacist can be considered a pretty good career when all relevant factors are taken into account.

Is it easy to start your own business as a pharmacist?

You can also start your own pharmacy.

However, you would still have to invest lots of money upfront and you would also have to meet pretty strict rules and regulations and would also have to do lots of organizational and bureaucratic stuff.

Can pharmacists teach themselves?

Pharmacists are not able to teach themselves and have to spend many years on education to get their doctor’s degree before they are finally able to work in this field.

Do pharmacists make good money?

Pharmacists can make really good money from what they are doing.

While they will not make as much as doctors or dentists, pharmacists can still make much more than the average person out there and you will be able to make a six-figure income sooner or later.

Is it ever too late to become a pharmacist?

Since you will have to spend many years on education to become a pharmacist, you should start your pharmacist career at a rather young age to make it worth the initial investment.

Do pharmacists have to quit their careers early?

Since pharmacists don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner, most of them also don’t have to quit their careers early and can work until they reach official retirement age.

What is the hardest thing about working as a pharmacist?

The hardest part about being a pharmacist is that you will have to deal with so many different people and it will be almost impossible to make everyone happy.

Moreover, you will always need to stay focused at work to avoid mistakes that may translate into serious adverse outcomes for your patients.

Can you provide for your family by working as a pharmacist?

Since pharmacists make really good money, they have an easy time providing for their families.

In fact, you will make enough money as a pharmacist so that your spouse will be able to stay at home and care for the kids.

Will pharmacists suffer from old-age poverty?

Pharmacists usually don’t suffer from old-age poverty since they receive pretty decent pensions while they are also able to save and invest enough money during their active careers that they can use later on once they quit their careers and retire.

Can pharmacists retire early?

If you save and invest enough money and don’t spend much on unnecessary consumption, you may also be able to retire early as a pharmacist in your 50s or even 40s while most other people still have to work in their 60s.

Do pharmacists get a fixed or variable salary?

While employed pharmacists mainly get a fixed salary, your income may greatly vary in case you work self-employed and have your own drugstore.

Can you get rich as a pharmacist?

While you can make really good money as a pharmacist, it is still hard to get rich as an employed pharmacist.

Hence, if your goal is to get rich, you should start your own business in this field or rather become a doctor or judge instead.

Do pharmacists need a second job?

Most pharmacists don’t need a second job since they are able to make more than enough money from their pharmacy career and don’t have to worry about financial problems at all.

Do you get continuous training as a pharmacist?

Since there are always need medications and research insights, you will also get continuous training as a pharmacist to keep up with all new developments so that you can offer your customers the best medical advice possible.

Do you get sick pay as a pharmacist?

You will often get sick pay as a pharmacist.

However, if you are not sure in this regard, you should ask a local pharmacist in your region to get more information on this topic.

Do pharmacists have a high level of responsibility?

Pharmacists have a high level of responsibility at work since mistakes on their side could lead to serious adverse outcomes for customers and you therefore always need to stay focused to give proper advice to your clients.

Can pharmacists work abroad?

Pharmacists are needed all over the world.

However, since working conditions and salaries might be quite different from your home country, you should inform yourself about those things carefully before you decide on moving to a foreign country.

Is it stressful to work as a pharmacist?

Being a pharmacist is not that stressful since you will not have to deal with lots of time pressure but can rather do your work in a pretty relaxed manner.

Is it boring to work as a pharmacist?

Working as a pharmacist will not become boring if you are really passionate about helping people and giving them proper advice on how they can cure their problems.

Is being a pharmacist hard?

While becoming a pharmacist is pretty hard since you have to get lots of formal education, working as a pharmacist is not that hard since you will not have to deal with lots of stress at work and also don’t have to work in a hard physical manner.

Are pharmacists at risk of burnout?

Since pharmacists don’t have to deal with high stress levels at work, they are also not at great risk of burnout or other mental issues and will have a rather relaxed time in this regard on average.

Is there a dress code for pharmacists?

While there is no official dress code for pharmacists, most of them will still wear white clothing and you will often get workwear from the pharmacy you work for to represent the pharmacy in the best possible manner.

What kind of pharmacists are paid the most?

The more experience and the more responsibility you have, the more you can make as a pharmacist and you should therefore strive for managing a pharmacy or even own your own pharmacy if you want to make as much money as possible.

What percentage of pharmacists are women?

While around 58% of all pharmacists are women, 42% of them are men.

Thus, the ratio between men and women in this field is pretty balanced.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a pharmacist?

While you don’t necessarily need a mentor to succeed as a pharmacist, it can still help to have an experienced colleague on your side who can help you push through difficult times.

Do pharmacists have a high life expectancy?

Pharmacists have pretty decent life expectancy since they are not at great risk of suffering from accidents at work and also make enough money to get the best possible medical treatment in case they get sick.

Do pharmacists suffer from sleeping problems?

Since pharmacists don’t have to work at nighttime, they can maintain a healthy sleeping pattern and therefore don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs in most cases.

What states are best for working as a pharmacist?

Since you will be able to make good money across states as a pharmacist, you should rather choose the state you want to live in according to your personal preferences instead of just going for the states like New York or California where you could make the most money.

Who do pharmacists work with?

Pharmacists work with many different customers per day and it is therefore crucial that you are a friendly and open person to give proper advice to your customers so that they come back to your pharmacy in the long run.

Is working as a pharmacist cool?

Being a pharmacist is considered decently cool by the general public.

However, you should still not care about the coolness factor of your job but you should rather ask yourself what working in this job will implicate for your future.

Can you start a side hustle as a pharmacist?

Since you will be pretty specialized as a pharmacist, it will be pretty hard for you to start a side hustle outside of the medical industry.

However, you could still start a blog or a YouTube channel to become an influencer and build a large audience which you could monetize later on.

Do you have to be creative as a pharmacist?

You don’t need to be overly creative to succeed as a pharmacist.

What’s much more important is that you have excellent knowledge regarding what drugs to sell for various purposes to assure the safety of your customers.

Do pharmacists suffer from being overweight?

Since pharmacists don’t get sufficient exercise at work and don’t burn enough calories, many of them suffer from being overweight sooner or later.

How employable are pharmacists?

Pharmacists are pretty employable and in high demand right now.

In fact, there is a lack of qualified pharmacists in many regions and you will therefore be able to enjoy pretty high job security and will also be able to make really good money from what you are doing.

Are pharmacists happy with their jobs?

Most pharmacists are pretty happy with their jobs since they can make really good money while they still don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work and also have enough time to spend with their families.

Is working as a pharmacist exciting?

Working as a pharmacist is not that exciting since you will do many things over and over again and you will also develop a certain routine in the long run.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a pharmacist?

As a pharmacist, you will not have a positive impact on our environment since you will mainly focus on selling drugs to customers and don’t work in a position where you could make a positive impact on our planet.

What are the pros and cons of working as a pharmacist?

If you still consider becoming a pharmacist, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a pharmacist career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/statistics/185723/number-of-pharmacists-in-the-us-since-2001/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/197635/annual-pharmacies-and-drug-store-sales-in-the-us-since-1992/

https://www.statista.com/topics/1412/drug-store-pharmacy-market-in-the-us/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

Wanna support my blog? Share it!

Pin It on Pinterest