PHARMACY

Solid job outlook for pharmacists

BY Jim Frederick

What factor, above all others, made you choose a career as a pharmacist?

Whatever the reason, if you’re enrolled in pharmacy school or are recently graduated, congratulations. You picked a good time to become a pharmacist.

In late February, U.S. News & World Report ranked the profession of pharmacy among the nation’s top three career choices on its “Best Jobs of 2012” list, both for its solid job prospects and its high starting salaries. The employment outlook is golden. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, another 69,700 jobs for pharmacists will open up between 2010 and 2020.

Among the powerful trends driving that need for more professionals, are “increases in average life span and the increased incidence of chronic diseases; the increased complexity, number, and sophistication of medications and related products and devices; increased emphasis on primary and preventive health services, home health care and long-term care; and concerns about improving patients’ access to health care, controlling its cost and assuring its quality,” the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy said.

Bottom line, said AACP, is that “pharmacists will play an important part in the future of health care.”
Pharmacy also ranks among the top jobs in starting salaries. Once you’ve earned your PharmD and passed your state license exam, the financial rewards can come quickly. The median hourly wage for the nation’s more than 268,000 practicing pharmacists was $53.64 in mid-2010, the Labor Department reported.

That equals a median annual salary of $111,570, ranging from a low of $82,090 for the bottom 10 percent of wage earners to a high of $138,620 for the top 10 percent. Retail pharmacists tend to earn slightly more working for drug stores than they do at a hospital or supermarket dispensary, but pay is generally good across the board. Median annual income ranges from more than $106,000 up to nearly $113,000, according to federal statistics.

All well and good, but let’s not sugarcoat the challenges. Most pharmacists spend long hours on their feet. They deal with a thicket of health and patient-privacy regulations, and must navigate sometimes-thorny reimbursement issues with public and private-plan payers.

Retail pharmacists must also juggle the sometimes-competing demands of a profit-driven business — which can bring the pressure of filling hundreds of scripts a day as quickly and efficiently as possible — with critical patient-safety and counseling issues. And the growth of medication therapy management and other patient-care initiatives is putting new demands on their time even as prescription volumes grow in the face of an aging population and a health reform law that will soon add millions more patients to the Medicaid rolls.

We’d love to hear from you about what it is that made you choose to become a pharmacist. Was it the high starting salary? The intangible rewards that come with helping people toward healthier, more active lives? The respect and status that come with being a health professional? The alignment of the job skills required of a pharmacist with your own interests? A combination of all of the above? Please share your thoughts about the challenges and rewards of pharmacy by commenting below, and here’s hoping your career is a rewarding and satisfying one.

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H.SMITH says:
May-30-2013 08:47 am

I guess health care jobs are in high demand these days, I also heard that nursing jobs are also demanded. I was lucky to choose a health care career, it's very rewarding and it looks like jobs aren't scarce either!

T.FALLEN says:
Sep-03-2012 03:20 am

...another 69,700 jobs for pharmacists will open up between 2010 and 2020 . I was going to do a lengthy reply to this statement, but I have decided to take the easy way out and use COMMON SENSE approach. We are going to do a little math. Let's round it up to 70,000 over 10 years. That adds up to 7000/year. (# of pharmacy graduates /year before doubling the # of schools :~7250 +&- 250). Estimated # of graduates by 2014, >= ~14,000 +&- 500. Let's take 14,000 and divide it by two 14,000/2=7,000. Also, ...said AACP, is that “pharmacists will play an important part in the future of health care.” Is that going to translate into another 7,000 jobs for surplus pharmacist graduating each year?

R.Suerte says:
Aug-13-2012 12:13 pm

Unfortunately,the sorry facts are simple: there are NO JOBS! If you want proof, just do a search for pharmacist jobs in, for example, New York, NY MONSTER.com lists 10 pharmacist positions in New York, NY, which is an area with a population of close to 12 million people. jobsearch.monster.com/search/Pharmacist_5?where=New-York__2C-NY So, think you will get a job? Good luck!

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PHARMACY

Mylan to move headquarters

BY Alaric DeArment

PITTSBURGH — Mylan is getting new headquarters, the company said.

The generic drug maker said it would build a new headquarters near its current one in Southpointe Office Park in Cecil Township, Pa., south of Pittsburgh.

"Mylan’s global operations have experienced transformational and phenomenal growth over the last five years, and we expect this growth will only continue in the years to come," Mylan executive chairman Robert Coury said. "In order to support our expanding business, we have more than doubled the number of employees located at our corporate headquarters in this same time frame, and we would expect hiring in the area to continue."

The new building, which the company expected to have finished next year, will be 280,000 sq. ft., five stories and located in a part of the office park called Southpointe II.

 


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PHARMACY

Proposed FDA policy could provide route for OTC statin sales, expand pharmacist role

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — One of the long-term goals of many drug companies has been to win Food and Drug Administration approval for cholesterol-lowering statins as over-the-counter drugs. But it’s a goal that has long eluded them due to the agency’s concerns about patient safety.

(THE NEWS: FDA mulls making some prescription drugs available over the counter. For the full story, click here.)

But the FDA’s recently proposed policy for selling certain prescription drugs over the counter under special supervision from the pharmacist and physician could offer a way around the difficulty drug makers have had so far persuading the agency to allow an OTC switch for statins.

Granted, the conditions the FDA outlined for selling statins and other drugs over the counter wouldn’t be the same as selling them at a lower dose directly from the store shelves like OTC proton-pump inhibitors or even behind-the-counter drugs — it still would require patients to have a diagnosis or to obtain an initial prescription from a physician, and regulations would be individually tailored to each drug.

At the same time, an important aspect of the proposed policy is that it would enhance the pharmacist’s role as an extension of the physician, while also allowing a greater role for technology in self-diagnosis. For example, while a patient could use a kiosk or other device to self-diagnose for some medical conditions or check for drug interactions, the pharmacist still would step in to confirm the diagnosis before allowing the drug’s purchase.

Physicians will always be needed to mend fractures or determine whether that mole is something to worry about, but allowing pharmacists to provide a greater share of services at the retail level with the aid of technology helps to take a lot of work off doctors’ hands, thereby helping to reduce healthcare costs for patients and payers alike.

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