Who Benefits from the Pharmacy School Bubble?


The pitfalls of a pharmacist surplus have been clearly outlined, but several types of individuals and institutions may benefit from having more pharmacists in the marketplace.

The pitfalls of a pharmacist surplus have been clearly outlined, but several types of individuals and institutions may benefit from having more pharmacists in the marketplace.

I want to make clear my wife and I are pharmacists, so we wouldn’t gain anything from a pharmacist surplus. However, the following groups have the potential to reap benefit from additional pharmacy school openings.

1. Pharmacist Employers

In the ASHP Foundation’s “Pharmacy Forecast 2016-2020,” respondents agreed with 2 statements about future earnings: one said pharmacists’ salaries will decline by 10% by 2020, while the other said pharmacy technician salaries will increase by 25%.

Therefore, pharmacist employers may see declines in pharmacist salaries, though they may pay technicians higher wages, especially those in states with higher minimum wages.

2. Pharmacy Customers

Back when pharmacists were scarce, floaters often covered open shifts. I remember seeing my pharmacy supervisor calling through phone lists and the scheduler sending out e-mails to get multiple shifts covered at multiple stores.

Now, pharmacy customers are more likely to see the same pharmacist consistently. As Alex Barker noted in his “2016 Pharmacist Salary Guide,” 74% of pharmacists plan to stay in their current positions

3. Pharmacy Organizations

More pharmacy students and more pharmacists in the market means more potential members for industry organizations. The increase in pharmacy students may increase the likelihood of meeting diverse members of the national pharmacy community through fraternal organizations. Meanwhile, national pharmacy organizations may see a spike in their membership as pharmacy students and pharmacists look to connect and find avenues for employment opportunities.

4. Residency Programs

With more potential applicants, residency programs can increase their selectivity or expand their numbers. In a saturated job market, students who wouldn’t otherwise consider a residency may pursue it as an alternative.

5. Preceptor Sites

More pharmacy students mean more P4s on rotation. I’ve worked in stores with student pharmacists and without them. Aside from the support they provide, students bring the latest news from the pharmacy schools and give preceptors great reasons to keep abreast of the latest clinical data.

6. Pharmacy Schools

As the number of colleges expands, so does the likelihood of a pharmacy school better meeting an applicant’s list of desirable qualifications. A branch of my alma mater opened 5 miles from my parent’s home in 2007, a decade after I graduated from the urban main campus. As newer pharmacy schools open, they will most likely meet prospective students’ needs through more convenient locations, double degree programs, accelerated curricula, and a focus on admitting underrepresented groups.

Recent Videos
Image credit:  Gorodenkoff | stock.adobe.com
Sun Screen, Photosensitivity, Pharmacy | Image Credit: sosiukin - stock.adobe.com
Catalyst Trial, Diabetes, Hypertension | Image Credit: grinny - stock.adobe.com
Various healthy foods -- Image credit: New Africa | stock.adobe.com
LGBTQIA+ pride -- Image credit: lazyllama | stock.adobe.com
Modern pharmacy building facade with large window showcasing the interior, as seen from the street view, promoting a welcoming atmosphere for customers. Frontal view. Generative AI - Image credit: Karrrtinki | stock.adobe.com