Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

2016 Pharmacist Salary Guide

APRIL 12, 2016
PharmacyWeek
Each year, PharmacyWeek teams with Mercer to conduct a national compensation survey of pharmacists. In 2015, pharmacists reported earning an average hourly wage of $60.88, representing an increase of slightly more than $1 compared with the average reported hourly wage in 2014. However, the pay rate varies widely depending on a pharmacist’s job title, setting, and specialty area.
 
Here’s the breakdown of average hourly pay for different job titles in the pharmacy industry, as reflected in Pharmacy Week’s 2015 survey:
 
Job Title Hourly Pay Rate +/- From 2014
Staff pharmacist – mail order $56.83 $0.14
Staff pharmacist – satellite $60.57 $3.50
Nuclear pharmacist $66.31 $8.29
Staff pharmacist – retail $58.35 -$0.46
Multiple average $60.88 $1.05
Staff pharmacist - hospital $60.75 $0.63
Clinical pharmacist $62.30 $1.02
Team manager $69.05 $1.76
 
According to this survey, hourly wages are down by 46 cents for retail pharmacists, but slightly up for mail-order pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, team managers, and clinical pharmacists. Satellite pharmacists and nuclear pharmacists saw significant increases in hourly wages, and nuclear pharmacists have surpassed clinical pharmacists as the highest-paid specialty.  
 
Pharmacists on the West Coast earn the most, making an average of $68.07 per hour, or $141,600 per year. Meanwhile, pharmacists in the Northeast earn the least at $56.75 per hour, or $118,000 per year.
 
Pharmacists in California earn the highest wage in the United States, pulling in an average of $70.61 per hour, or $146,900 per year. Pharmacists in Puerto Rico are the lowest paid, earning an average of $45.89 per hour, or $95,500 per year.
 
Here’s a breakdown of pharmacists’ average annual and hourly salaries by state:
 
State Average Annual Salary Average Hourly Salary
Alabama $121,300 $58.33
Alaska $132,000 $63.46
Arizona $125,500 $60.36
Arkansas $122,600 $58.92
California $146,900 $70.61
Colorado $117,900 $56.67
Connecticut $123,700 $59.48
Delaware $122,700 $59.00
Florida $117,600 $56.52
Georgia $118,500 $56.97
Hawaii $121,200 $58.27
Idaho $117,000 $56.23
Illinois $120,300 $57.84
Indiana $118,200 $56.83
Iowa $114,200 $54.93
Kansas $123,200 $59.22
Kentucky $126,900 $61.00
Louisiana $118,900 $57.18
Maine $129,500 $62.24
Maryland $117,500 $56.47
Massachusetts $119,100 $57.24
Michigan $115,400 $55.50
Minnesota $122,900 $59.09
Mississippi $120,300 $57.83
Missouri $119,400 $57.39
Montana $116,200 $55.84
Nebraska $112,000 $53.86
Nevada $131,700 $63.32
New Hampshire $123,200 $59.23
New Jersey $120,300 $57.82
New Mexico $124,700 $59.96
New York $124,500 $59.88
North Carolina $121,700 $58.49
North Dakota Data not available Data not available
Ohio $117,400 $56.43
Oklahoma $116,000 $55.76
Oregon $124,400 $59.82
Pennsylvania $114,200 $54.90
Puerto Rico $95,500 $45.89
Rhode Island $118,400 $56.92
South Carolina $125,800 $60.46
South Dakota $113,200 $54.40
Tennessee $119,800 $57.59
Texas $119,100 $57.25
Utah $120,700 $58.04
Vermont $123,200 $59.25
Virginia $122,900 $59.08
Washington $122,700 $59.01
Washington, D.C. $124,800 $60.00
West Virginia $124,200 $59.72
Wisconsin $123,400 $59.31
Wyoming $122,100 $58.69
 
Hospital/health system pharmacists are the highest paid at an average of $127,700 a year, or $61.41/hr. Supermarket pharmacists make an average of $125,200 a year ($60.21/hr), mass merchandiser pharmacists make an average of $123,000 a year ($59.12/hr), and chain drug store pharmacists earn an average of $122,500 a year ($58.91/hr). Mail-order pharmacists are the lowest paid at an average of $119,200 per year, or $57.31/hr.
 
BLS 2014 Report
In its 2014 report, BLS reported that there are 297,100 pharmacy jobs in the United States and the median pay for pharmacists is $120,950 per year, or $58.15 per hour. The pharmacy industry is expected to grow at a slower-than-average rate of 3%, adding 9100 jobs between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS report.
 
U.S. News & World Report 2014 Rankings
In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, U.S. News & World Report ranked “Pharmacist” as No. 18 on its list of best-paying jobs. The publication reported that the annual median salary was $120,950, or $58.15/hr, which is in accordance with the 2014 BLS report.
  • The best-paid 10% of pharmacists earn $150,550 a year
  • The lowest-paid 10% of pharmacists earn $89,320 a year
According to the publication, the best-paid pharmacists are employed by scientific research and development companies and work in the metropolitan areas of Santa Cruz, California; Gadsden, Alabama; Chico, California; Anniston, Alabama; and Fresno, California.
 
AACP
Although academics continue to earn the lowest salary among pharmacists, the average full-time faculty salary in 2015-2016 increased to $104,400, up from $103,100 in 2014-2015.
 
Conclusion
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably realized that pharmacy salary data varies depending on the source you use. Still, it’s safe to say that pharmacists across the United States have seen modest increases in their salaries this year, and that a career as a pharmacist continues to be a well-paying gig.
 
Little has changed from 2015 regarding salary variations by location. Pharmacists in California are still the top earners in the country because of their higher cost of living. Nuclear pharmacists are the highest paid, and hospital/health systems are the highest-paying settings.
 
So, whether you’re a pharmacy student trying to anticipate how quickly you can pay off your student loans after landing your first job, or a hard-working retail pharmacist looking for fodder to make a case for a raise, I hope that this information has given you some food for thought and proves useful as you start—or continue—your career.

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