Pharmacists Place Near Top of U.S. News & World Report Job Rankings

Daniel Weiss, Senior Editor
Published Online: Friday, February 14, 2014
Pharmacists slip to fifth place from third place in the U.S. News ranking of the country’s best professions, but continue to place highly thanks to relatively good pay and the promise of job growth due to the changing health care system.
In the latest rankings from U.S. News & World Report, pharmacist comes in the fifth on the list of best professions in the country. The profession earns its spot based on strong demand despite the tough job market, relatively high pay, and the promise of job growth due to structural changes in the health care system.
 
“With an aging population of baby boomers, more Americans expected to seek health services due to the Affordable Care Act, and increased demand for prescription medications, industry growth will likely remain high for years to come,” observes U.S. News, which has partnered with Pharmacy Times for the last 2 years to release a ranking of pharmacists’ top recommendations for more than 1000 OTC products.
 
The median salary for pharmacists in 2012 was $116,670, up from $113,390 in 2011. The 75th percentile of pharmacists in terms of salary made $133,700, while the 25th percentile in terms of salary made $103,350.
 
U.S. News rates upward mobility and stress level above average for pharmacists and flexibility below average. (Stress levels are particularly high when pharmacists must deal with a large number of customers or with difficult customers.) Approximately 40% of pharmacists work in pharmacies or drug stores, but an increasing number are going to work for mail-order or Internet pharmacies or wholesalers.
 
The professions that ranked higher than pharmacist were, in order, software developer, computer systems analyst, dentist, and nurse practitioner. This marks the first time that the top-ranked profession has not been in health care. Of the two health care professions ranked higher than pharmacist, dentists receive a higher median salary than pharmacists (by $46,570), but nurse practitioners receive a lower median salary (by $26,710).
 
The last time that U.S. News released job rankings, in July 2013, pharmacist ranked third, after dentist and registered nurse. Pharmacists also tend to rank highly in the annual Gallup poll measuring various professions’ reputation for honesty and integrity. In the most recent poll, 70% of respondents said that pharmacists have high or very high honesty and ethical standards. Of the 22 professions included in the poll, pharmacists tied with grade school teachers for the second highest honesty rating, behind only nurses.

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