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Busting Myths about Pharmacists: Average Salary of Online Pharmacy Jobs and More

by Bigmountaindrugs - April 6 , 2020


Photo Credit by: 401(K)2012, Flickr.com
Photo Credit by: 401(K)2012, Flickr.com

If you’re considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry, you should know that now is as good a time as ever. Opportunities are open to pharmacists and many organizations are understaffed and in need of pharmacists to fill their vacant roles.

Some may think that a career in pharmacy may be too demanding, boring, or challenging, but these are all simply misconceptions that stem from a lack of accurate information. In reality, a pharmacy career can take a lot of different directions, and job satisfaction and salary may depend on you and which path you choose to take for your pharmacy career.

So, what does a career in pharmacy look like? What kind of jobs are available in the industry, what will your day to day responsibilities look like, how much will you make, and will you be happy in your career? These are all important considerations before moving forward in this line of work. In this article, we’ll provide a brief introduction to pharmacy careers to assist you on your path.

Related pharmacy jobs in the pharmacy field and their responsibilities

What sort of jobs are out there for those who wish to work in the pharmacy field? To name a few, some options include pharmacist, pharmacy manager, pharmacy technician, and a pharmacy assistant or clerk. These positions can often be found as temporary or part-time offers.

There are a wide variety of roles that relate to pharmacy or jobs you can take with experience or a degree in pharmacy related fields. Generally, though, your responsibilities will include things like managing prescriptions, working with physicians and health care providers, helping patients, and the like.

For example, some of the general tasks listed that are expected of a pharmacy assistant include:

• “Packing pharmaceutical products as per seasonal protocols;

• Working with each vendor’s shipping software to create waybills for specific locations;

• Verifying shipments are sent to the correct location and as per the expected delivery schedule;

• Assist with inventory activities, such as receiving orders and counting inventory weekly;

• Working with external stakeholders in our delivery process, from route drivers to account managers;

• Ordering and stocking necessary shipping supplies;

• Unpacking and packing various shipments, including lifting boxes (15-20 lbs)”

Serving in a role like this requires a variety of skills and experiences, but it seems that many tend to find this to be a satisfying and engaging line of work.

Pharmacist salaries

Of course, no matter how satisfying a line of work may be, people also want to be compensated fairly for what they contribute. Fortunately, pharmacists tend to be very well paid.

It’s important to note that salaries for pharmacists are unique in that pharmacists often walk directly into a six-figure income immediately after they graduate. While this may sound like a great deal--and it is--it’s important to realize that this sometimes results in less room for salary growth throughout the entirety of their career.

According to The Happy PharmD, “In 2017, the median annual salary for pharmacists, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, was $124,170 annually in May of 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $87,420 and the top 10 percent earned $159,410. In terms of hourly pay, the median was $59.70 per hour.

The ranges, of course, depend largely on factors like location (state, rural vs urban), years of experience, level of education, and other variables. California, for example, has the highest paying ranges, but that's due to the extremely high cost of living.”

And, for somewhere like Walgreens, according to Indeed: “Average Walgreens hourly pay ranges from approximately $9.59 per hour for Pharmacy Assistant to $52.28 per hour for Pharmacist. The average Walgreens salary ranges from approximately $17,800 per year for Pharmacy Clerk to $127,899 per year for Pharmacist in Charge.”

Online pharmacist position are also an option. According to Salary.com, “The average online pharmacist salary in the United States is $125,066 as of January 31, 2019, but the range typically falls between $120,747 and $131,468. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.”

Some states require certified pharmacy technicians. Even in states that do not require certification, most employers will only hire pharmacy techs who are certified by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The Median annual pay for a Pharmacy Technician was around $31,750 in 2017. The salary of a typical Walgreens Pharmacy Technician is $11.00. Pharmacy Technician salaries at Walgreens may range from $8.00 - $21.00.

The chart below compares salaries for online pharmacy positions in the US as well as typical Walgreens pharmacy salaries.

The high salary range can mean that an online pharmacy career may be the perfect fit for those who prefer to work in a non-traditional setting and still do quite well financially.

Job satisfaction for pharmacists

Times are changing for those involved in pharmacy. While job satisfaction can vary from person to person, most tend to agree that they are happy with how much they’re being paid, according to Pharmacy Times.

Although many pharmacists are divided when it comes to their job satisfaction, most of them are happy with their compensation, according to a recent Pharmacy Times® Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey. The first article in this 3-part series provided a general overview of the survey and its respondents. … When asked on a scale of 1 to 7 (with 1 being “not at all” and 7 being “extremely”) how satisfied they are with their current annual total compensation, about 62% of 290 pharmacists gave a favorable answer of 5, 6, or 7. Comparatively, about 24% of respondents gave a more lukewarm answer of 3 or 4, while about 14% rated their salary satisfaction as 1 or 2.”

Of course, not all of the pharmacist survey respondents were positive when it came to their salary. The article shares the experience of one community pharmacist in particular, Katherine Cheng, who has 17 years of experience. The article reads, “Specifically, she voiced concern about the fact that the evolving roles and responsibilities of pharmacists are quickly outgrowing both salary levels and regulations meant to protect pharmacists and the patients they serve. … Cheng also said that current salary levels are not adequately keeping pace with inflation and tuition rates, placing an excessive burden on the growing number of recent pharmacy school graduates.”

So, while most pharmacists do express general job satisfaction, it’s important to be aware that this industry faces changes just like any other. Ensuring that you arrange a salary and work conditions that serve your career and future is essential!

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While the above article is based on thorough research, we do not claim to offer a substitute for medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. We aim to provide helpful information to our readers, but cannot provide a treatment, diagnosis, or consultation of any sort, not even for pets, and we are in no way indicating that any particular drug is safe or appropriate for you and your individual needs. To receive professional medical attention, you must see a doctor.
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