A doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree prepares graduates for potentially lucrative careers as pharmacists, who earned a median annual salary of $128,710 in May 2020. Pharmacy professionals work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and retail pharmacies. Pharmacists need a PharmD degree from an accredited program and a license to practice, and moving to another state may require reapplying for licensure.
CBS MoneyWatch reports an increase in job prospects for pharmacists, due to the strong demand for pharmacists to give the COVID-19 vaccine. Some employers are even giving sign-on bonuses to pharmacy students before graduation.
This page outlines work environments for pharmacists with a PharmD degree. We describe typical work places, job duties, and salaries for retail pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, consultant pharmacists, and managed care pharmacists. We also cover long-term care pharmacists, nuclear pharmacists, oncology pharmacists, and specialty and infusion therapy pharmacists.
Retail pharmacists, sometimes called community pharmacists, need a PharmD degree. Typical job duties include giving medications to patients and providing customer education. Retail pharmacists also offer some primary care, like administering flu or COVID-19 vaccines.
Typical workplaces for retail pharmacists include standalone pharmacies, chain drug stores, and pharmacies inside grocery stores. Some retail pharmacists own their own pharmacies.
PayScale reports that retail pharmacists earned an average annual base salary of $105,701 as of May 2021. However, bonuses can add up to $15,000 to a retail pharmacist’s earnings, and some employers offer profit sharing.
Hospital pharmacists need a PharmD degree to work in state, local, and private hospitals. Rather than dispensing medications, hospital pharmacists usually participate in direct patient care. They make medication recommendations, offer patient advice, and go on rounds with physicians.
The BLS reports that hospital pharmacists made a median annual salary of $131,290 as of May 2020, a little more than the median pay for all pharmacists of $128,710.
Consultant pharmacists give expert clinical advice about using medication appropriately in healthcare settings. They work in hospitals, long-term care, corrections, and assisted living facilities.
Consultant pharmacists help healthcare providers comply with federal laws and regulations regarding patient medications. Typical duties include reviewing and providing guidance on patients’ medical records, laboratory reports, and medications.
PayScale reports that consultant pharmacists earned an average annual base salary of $118,369 as of May 2021. Bonuses can add an additional $20,000 to consultant pharmacists’ yearly earnings.
Managed Care Pharmacist
Managed care pharmacists typically work for drugstores and pharmacies, but some medical clinics and hospitals employ their own pharmacist. A PharmD degree fosters the communication, interpersonal, and computer skills necessary for this career.
Managed care pharmacists handle in-patient and out-patient medications. Job duties include filling prescriptions for physicians, looking for medication mistakes, and reviewing patients’ other medications for potentially harmful drug interactions.
PayScale reports that managed care pharmacists made an average annual base salary of $120,340 as of May 2021.
Long-term Care Pharmacist
Long-term care pharmacists need a PharmD degree to work in long-term care facilities like nursing homes, assisted living, and hospice.
Instead of working in a customer service setting dispensing medications, their main job duties include filling and refilling prescriptions for patients in long-term care. They check patient records for drug interactions and discuss patient medications with physicians.
PayScale found that long-term care pharmacists made an average annual base salary of $110,196 as of May 2021.
Graduates with a PharmD degree can become nuclear pharmacists, a specialization created in 1978 by the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties.
Nuclear pharmacists prepare and combine hazardous materials used to treat cancer. They typically work with physicians, pharmacy techs, and other healthcare professionals, rather than interacting directly with patients.
PayScale reports that nuclear pharmacists made an average annual base salary of $120,953 as of April 2021. Nuclear pharmacists usually work for nuclear medicine departments and outpatient clinics.
Oncology pharmacists create and dispense medications for treating cancer patients. They conduct cancer research, provide cancer patient education, and work with physicians to develop medication treatment plans for oncology patients. Unlike nuclear pharmacists, oncology pharmacists can at times interact directly with patients.
Typical workplaces for oncology pharmacists include hospitals and pharmacies. PayScale reports that oncology pharmacists made an average annual base salary of $121,010 as of May 2021.
Specialty and Infusion Therapy Pharmacist
Specialty and infusion therapy pharmacists specialize in medicines for patients with intravenous or subcutaneous treatment, such as chemotherapy. They prepare infusion medications, keep track of patient medication plans, and work directly with patients as needed.
Typical workplaces for specialty and infusion therapy pharmacists include hospitals and clinic pharmacies. Sometimes specialty and infusion therapy pharmacists provide home infusion therapy to patients.
ZipRecruitor found that specialty and infusion therapy pharmacists earned an average annual base salary of $122,648 as of June 2021.