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Career Profile: Pharmacists

Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 322,200 people employed as pharmacists in the United States. The median annual salary is $128,700. Entry level employees earn approximately $85,210 per year and senior employees earn approximately $164,980 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Contact insurance companies to resolve billing issues.
  • Teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for their graduation or licensure.
  • Refer patients to other health professionals or agencies when appropriate.
  • Work in hospitals or clinics or for Health Management Organizations (HMOs), dispensing prescriptions, serving as a medical team consultant, or specializing in specific drug therapy areas, such as oncology or nuclear pharmacotherapy.
  • Prepare sterile solutions or infusions for use in surgical procedures, emergency rooms, or patients' homes.
  • Update or troubleshoot pharmacy information databases.
  • Publish educational information for other pharmacists, doctors, or patients.
  • Manage pharmacy operations, hiring or supervising staff, performing administrative duties, or buying or selling non-pharmaceutical merchandise.
  • Provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure.
  • Offer health promotion or prevention activities, such as training people to use blood pressure devices or diabetes monitors.
  • Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to evaluate their suitability.
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.
  • Maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, or registries of poisons, narcotics, or controlled drugs.
  • Plan, implement, or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal.
  • Assess the identity, strength, or purity of medications.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics.
  • Order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies, medical supplies, or drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly.
  • Analyze prescribing trends to monitor patient compliance and to prevent excessive usage or harmful interactions.
  • Advise customers on the selection of medication brands, medical equipment, or healthcare supplies.
  • Compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or oversee these activities.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
322,200
Annual Openings:
11,300
Increase in Openings by 2030:
-2%
Annual Salary Range:
$85,210 - $164,980
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher