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Medicinal Relief: The Best Pharmacist Salary and Employment in the USA

Updated on December 28, 2011

Pharmacist salary and employment in the USA depends almost entirely on the employer and location. It is a job that involves dispensing prescription drugs to consumers, advising patients and doctors on drug dosages and interaction, and tracking drug purchases and health concerns. The career requires a Pharm.D. degree from an accredited college or university as well as a state license to practice.

© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin

Pharmacist Salary Basics

The country’s 268,030 pharmacists make a mean $52.59 per hour or $109,380 per year.

  • The lowest-earning 10 percent earn $39.47 per hour or $82,090 per year, while the best-paid 10 percent get $66.64 hourly or $138,620 annually.
  • This compares to an average $34.27 per hour or $71,280 per year made by all 7.3 million U.S. healthcare practitioners. This job category includes optometrists, who make $106,750 a year; family doctors, who earn $173,860 annually; and registered nurses who receive $67,720 yearly.
  • This is over 40 percent more than the mean $21.35 per hour or $44,410 per year made by the 127 million workers in the country.


The biggest employers of pharmacists are as follows:

  • Health and personal care stores employ almost 44 percent of the profession and pay a mean $53.37 per hour or $111,000 per year.
  • General medical and surgical hospitals have over 21 percent of the jobs averaging $52.13 hourly and $108,430 annually.
  • Grocery stores show 8 percent of the position with means at $51.70 per hour or $107,530 per year.

The best pharmacist salary is found in the following industries:

  • Residential mental retardation, mental health and substance abuse facilities offer a mean $58.84 per hour or $122,380 per year.
  • Close behind are management, scientific and technical consulting services averaging $58.19 hourly or $121,040 annually.
  • Doctors’ offices have mean wages of $54.54 per hour or $113,450 per year.


The states with the most pharmacist jobs also have the highest populations:

  • California is the biggest state in terms of population. It has 23,540 pharmacist jobs averaging a mean $57.12 per hour or $118,810 per year.
  • Texas ranks number two for population and jobs, with 20,320 positions averaging $53.57 hourly or $111,420 yearly.
  • Florida, which is fourth for population, has 17,080 pharmacists making a mean $52.38 per hour or $108,950 per year.

The best pharmacist salary is located in the following states:

  • Maine averages $58.40 per hour or $121,470 per year.
  • California has mean wages of $57.12 per hour or $118,810 per year.
  • Alaska, where the high cost of living increases all average salaries, has mean pay at $56.76 per hour or $118,060 per year.


City employment of pharmacists also follows population.

  • New York City, the most populated urban area, has 9,680 jobs averaging $50.86 per hour or $105,800 per year.
  • Los Angeles, the second biggest city, shows 6,040 positions with means at $54.87 per hour or $114,120 per year.
  • Chicago, ranking third for population, has 5,990 pharmacists making mean incomes of $48.42 per hour or $100,700 per year.

The following cities, all located in California, have the best pharmacist salary.

  • Modesto has mean wages of $68.67 per hour or $142,840 per year.
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville is close at a mean $68.63 per hour or $142,750 per year.
  • Napa averages $64.79 per hour or $134,760 per year.

All pharmacist salary information a comes form the U.S. Department of Labor.


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    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      People will always need their medicines....a great and secure job to get into.

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 

      6 years ago from USA

      Great hub Alocsin. It amazes me how much money is made in pharmaceuticals.


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