True or False: There Are No Pharmacist Jobs

JANUARY 28, 2016

The truth is, there plenty of pharmacist jobs out there, but many of them are taken and the competition for open positions has increased.
The fact that there are fewer available pharmacist jobs is the result of several factors, including:

  • Projected pharmacist job growth did not fully materialize.
  • More individuals are opting to train as pharmacists based on projected job growth, hence more pharmacy school graduates.
  • There have been Medicare budget cuts and multiple states are opting out of Medicaid expansion.
  • Health insurance costs are higher.
A report presented to Congress in 2000 projected a need for a minimum of 157,000 new pharmacist positions by 2020, which translates to an expected growth rate of 7850 new pharmacist jobs per year. However, the actual need for pharmacists never reached these expectations and even began to decline 10 years earlier than projected.
Pharmacy schools responded to the expected demand for more pharmacists by increasing the number of accredited pharmacy programs by 58% between 2000 and 2014. New pharmacy schools are scheduled to open in 2016.
The schools have graduated over 85% more pharmacists each year since 2010 and have exceeded expected high levels of pharmacist employment by 65% in the last 3 years.
The fact that the average salary for pharmacists grew 49% over the last 12 years is another factor contributing to the decline in pharmacist jobs. Money is an incentive to future pharmacists, and high salaries mean graduates with high student debt (which currently averages $114,000) expect to be able to pay off their debt quickly.
The surplus of pharmacy graduates has influenced pharmacist employers to hire more part-time staff, reduce wages, drop benefits, and eliminate bonuses. These actions are simply a result of supply and demand.

However, this isn’t the end of job opportunities for pharmacists. There are plenty of ways to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.
The technology niche of pharmacy is booming with job opportunities for entrepreneur-minded pharmacists. However, you are sadly mistaken if you approach the pharmacist job market with the attitude that securing a job is easy.


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.