Pharmacy Career Survey Confirms Expanding Pharmacist Roles


The Pharmacy Workforce Center's latest career survey suggests pharmacists are increasingly committed to the profession and expanding their role beyond drug dispensing.

The Pharmacy Workforce Center’s latest career survey suggests pharmacists are increasingly committed to the profession and expanding their role beyond drug dispensing.

In fact, pharmacists’ level of job commitment jumped from 50% in 2000 to 66% in 2014, according to an analysis of the National Pharmacist Workforce Survey’s 2446 responses from last year.

Expanding roles

Pharmacists focused more on patient care services and education in 2014, while time spent dealing with drug dispensing dropped from 2009. Full-time pharmacists in 2014 said they spent 49% of their time on services related to dispensing drugs and 21% on patient care services not related to dispensing. The rest of their time was spent on business/organization management (13%), education (7%), research (4%), and other tasks (6%).

In contrast, full-time pharmacists in 2009 reported spending 55% of their time on dispensing and only 16% on providing patient care services. The rest of their time was devoted to business/organization management (14%), education (5%), research (4%), and other tasks (5%).

An increasing number of pharmacists reported providing medication therapy management and immunizations, as well.

More women in management

While women reported greater levels of career commitment, men were more likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction and indicate feeling greater levels of control over their work environment.

Despite this, more women than men reported holding management positions for the first time since the survey was conducted in 2000. In 2014, about 55% of managers were female, and about 44% were male.

Men tended to be more present in independent community pharmacy settings, while women had more representation in industry and other non-patient care settings.

The scales have been tipping toward the female side in terms of actively practicing pharmacists. In 2014, 57.1% of pharmacists were women, compared with 44.8% in 2000.


Almost two-thirds of pharmacists reported an increase in income in the past year, most commonly based on merit. Less than 6% reported a pay cut. The average percentage increase in base pay was 2.3%. Owners received the biggest raises at 4%, while chain pharmacies awarded smaller raises at 1.8%.

Pharmacists had an average student loan debt of $18,131, down from $38,136 upon graduation, but the figures were not surprisingly worse for pharmacists who had ≤5 years of experience.

These students had an average student loan debt of $108,407 when they graduated and a current debt of $76,791. Women tended to have more student loan debt than men.


The average number of hours pharmacists worked per week in 2014 increased from the last 2 surveys conducted in 2009 and 2004. Pharmacists reported working 44.2 hours per week in 2014, compared with 43.8 in 2009 and 43.4 in 2004.

Stress seemed to be most associated with “having so much work to do that everything cannot be done well,” paperwork, quotas, and not enough technicians.

Two-thirds of pharmacists said their workload was high or excessively high, and 64% of full-time pharmacists said their workload had increased or greatly increased from the previous year. Meanwhile, 45% said their current workload had negative or very negative effects on mental or emotional health.

Those in chain or mass merchandiser settings were more likely to report that their workload had negative or very negative effects on the time they could spend with patients.

More than half of pharmacists in all practice settings, with the exception of those in other patient care or other non-patient care, reported high levels of work-home conflict.

Pharmacists with <5 years of work experience rated work-attitude items higher than those with more than 30 years of experience, with the exception of home-work conflict.

Since a little more than 30% of practicing pharmacists are 55 years or older, student pharmacists can expect more career opportunities to open up as the older generation starts to enter retirement age.

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