SAN FRANCISCO — Lender and student loan refinancing company SoFi this week conducted a rundown of which pharmacy schools provide students the best bang for their buck by comparing which schools have the highest average salaries relative to their student debt, on average. It also looked at the pharmacy schools’ graduates have the highest average salaries and schools whose graduates have the highest amount of debt relative to their income.
The pharmacy school with the highest average salary was the University of California, San Francisco, which had an average salary of $145,297, which was 1.3 times the average $109,394 in debt students depart with. The University of the Pacific’s pharmacy school came in second, with an average salary of $137,639 and salary-debt ratio of 0.8. It was followed by Midwestern University – Glendale, whose graduates earn $133,867 on average; University of Southern California, with its average graduate salary of $133,328; and Harding University, with its average salary of $132,748. However, all four schools that followed the top slot had students with debt higher than their average salary, and three were below the average of all pharmacy schools.
At the head of the pack of schools with the best salary-debt ratios was North Dakota State University’s Main Campus in Fargo, whose graduates make, on average, 1.7 times what they have in student debt. At the University of Montana, pharmacy grads make 1.6 times their debt, and an average student at Southwestern Oklahoma State university make 1.4 times their debt. The same is true of the University of Kansas’ and Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s pharmacy graduates.
“Ample employment opportunities, plus a lower cost of living, can certainly help when it comes to paying down student loans. NDSU might have earned the top ranking on our list because of the healthcare jobs that abound in the area: 81% of 53 counties in North Dakota are short on health professionals,” SoFi’s Barbara Bellesi wrote. “The numbers from University of Montana could tell a similar story: The need for healthcare workers in the state is growing, so the workforce must increase by 40% over the next decade to meet demand. Southwestern Oklahoma State ranks high likely because Oklahoma has seen a 26.56% increase in pharmacist jobs over the past decade
SoFi also ranked that it said are the least lucrative, whose students make less annually than they have accrued in debt. SoFi said that the two schools at the bottom of the list —Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Regis University — on average produce graduates with twice as much debt as their annual salaries.
“Pharmacy school is a big investment of both time and money, so to have a better shot at paying off student debt faster, it makes sense to apply to schools where employment opportunities abound and earning potential is high,” Bellesi writes. “Pharm.D. graduates are poised to be successful, so choose a school that will prepare you well for a career that fulfills your personal and financial goals.”
To see the full rankings, click here.