According to the most recent US Census, the median salary for a US household was $63,179. On average, pharmacists make about $126,120 a year.
Explore this Guide:
- How Much Do Pharmacists Make a Year?
- How Much Do Pharmacists Make a Month?
- How Much Do Pharmacists Make a Week?
- How Much Do Pharmacists Make an Hour?
- Pharmacists Pay by State
- Pharmacists Pay by Pharmacy
- Pharmacists Pay by Experience
What Do Pharmacists Do?
The primary job of a pharmacist is to dispense prescribed medications to patients. They also might counsel patients on how to take the medication or answer any questions they might have. Pharmacists also help find discounts for patients to help make their medication purchases cheaper.
Pharmacists work in pharmacies, which can be located at doctor’s offices, hospitals, other medical facilities, and stores like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. They also handle patient files and sometimes will need to contact a patient’s doctor when requesting refills for prescriptions.
How to Become a Pharmacists
1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree
+2 to 4 years
Like many medical professions you will first want to get a bachelor’s degree. But you’ll want an undergraduate degree that will prepare you for your pharmacy degree program after college.
You can also find pre-pharmacy degree programs that are only 2 years. For your undergraduate degree you will want to be learning about topics like anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceutics, pharmacology, and toxicology.
2. Obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree (Pharm. D)
Now you can get into a pharmacy degree program. Pharmacists are Doctors of Pharmacy (Pharm. D). They need to go to school or attend a program to get this specific degree in order to be a pharmacist. Many applicants will have to pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT).
In your pharmacy degree program you will learn about natural sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacokinetics, pathology, and therapeutics. In the final stages of your pharmacy degree you will start obtaining clinical experience.
3. Get Licensed
Now that you have your Doctor of pharmacy degree it’s time to become a licensed pharmacist. In order to get licensed you have to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). Depending on your state you might also be required to pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE).
How long does it take to become a pharmacist?
The path to becoming a pharmacist can take between 6 to 8 years depending on how long you take to get a bachelor’s degree or complete a pre-pharmacy program.
Skills Pharmacists Need
Communication: pharmacists have to use good communication skills when counseling and instructing patients. They also have to use their communication skills to interpret orders from physicians and contact customer’s doctors when questions arise or changes are needed.
Customer Service: pharmacists deal with customers face to face as they help them get the prescriptions they need and learn how to safely administer their own medications. Pharmacists thus need the ability to handle all types of customers and provide a respectful and welcoming service.
Computer Skills: a lot of what pharmacists do have to do with filing and computer work. They work with computer systems to receive, fill, and organize the many prescriptions and doctor’s orders from all their customers. They also have to deal with customer files and their insurance plans.
Detail Oriented: since pharmacists work with medication and patients, they can’t make mistakes. They need to be professional and detail focused to fill out all their orders correctly and accurately counsel patients about their medications.
How Much Do Pharmacists Make a Year?
Pharmacists in general make a very decent wage. The median annual salary for pharmacists in the lower 10 percent is $87,790, pharmacists in the median range make about $126,120 a year, and pharmacists in the highest 10 percent pay range make up to $161,250 a year.
How Much Do Pharmacists Make a Month?
Taking into consideration how much pharmacists typically make in a year, the median monthly salary for pharmacists in the lower 10 percent is $7,315 a month, pharmacists in the median range make about $10,510 a month, and pharmacists in the highest 10 percent pay range make up to $13,437 a month.
How Much Do Pharmacists Make a Week?
How Much Do Pharmacists Make an Hour?
Pharmacists usually make about $60.64 per hour. So if they work a regular 40 hour work week, they can typically expect to make somewhere around $2,425 each week. But according to PayScale, pharmacists in the lower 10 percent make $48.08 an hour or $1,923 per week. Pharmacists in the median range make about $57.72 an hour or $2,308 per week. Pharmacists in the highest 10 percent pay range make up to $66.82 an hour or $2,672 per week.
Pharmacists Pay by State
How much pharmacists make also depends on what kind of facility they work in and what state they live and work in. Some of the top paying states for pharmacists are Alaska ($139,880), California ($139,690), Vermont ($135,420), Maine ($133,050), and Wisconsin ($132,400). But these aren’t the only states you should consider when planning where to live as a pharmacist.
How much do pharmacists make in Texas?
Texas is a great state to live in as a pharmacists because they have a higher employment rate than other states. Pharmacists in Texas can also make great annual salaries. Texas pharmacists tend to make a mean annual wage of about $126,800 per year.
How much do pharmacists make in California?
California is also a good place to live if you want to be a pharmacist. California is actually the second highest paying state for pharmacists in the US. Pharmacists in California make a mean annual wage of $139,690 per year.
How much do pharmacists make in Arizona?
Arizona might not make the top 5 list of best paying states for pharmacists, but they aren’t too far down that list. Pharmacists in Arizona enjoy living in a state with high employment rates for their career, and the average pharmacist in Arizona makes about $125,210 a year.
Pharmacists Pay by Pharmacy
Pharmacists also make different salaries depending on where they work, like CVS Pharmacy workers make $118,000 a year, Walgreen’s Pharmacy workers make $114,000 a year, WalMart Store Pharmacy workers make $120,000, Rite Aid pharmacists make $115,000 a year, and pharmacists who work for the Kroger Company make $126,000 a year.
How much do pharmacists make at CVS?
There are many pharmaceutical companies and store front locations that pharmacists can expect to work for, but CVS might be one of the most popular pharmacies a prospective pharmacist could work for. Pharmacists who work for CVS also tend to make a higher salary than other pharmacies like Walgreens or Rite Aid. On average, pharmacists at CVS make about $118,000 each year.
How much do pharmacists make at Walgreens?
Pharmacists at Walgreens actually make the least amount of income out of the top 5 most popular pharmacies. Walgreen pharmacists only make about $114,000 a year, but this is still much higher than what the average US household makes each year.
How much do pharmacists make at Walmart?
Walmart Pharmacies are actually one of the highest paying corporations that pharmacists can work for. Pharmacists at Walmart make what pharmacists in the higher 10% are making at $120,000 a year.
Pharmacists Pay by Experience
Pharmacists who have more experience also make more money than pharmacists with less experience. For example, pharmacists with less than 1 year of experience make $102,191 a year, pharmacists with 1 to 4 years of experience make $109,293 a year, pharmacists with 5 to 9 years of experience make $118,498 a year, pharmacists with 10 to 19 years of experience make $119,544 a year, and pharmacists with 20 years of experience or more make $121,034 a year.
Our “How Much Do Professions Make” article series covers a wide array of career paths that you can choose from. There are lots of other jobs within the medical field that might also interest you like becoming a registered nurse, a doctor, or even a surgeon.