According to Salary.com, the average pharmacist salary was $147,490 in March 2023. However, the pharmacist job outlook hasn't been promising in recent years. Therefore, many graduates are looking for ways to make extra money as a pharmacist.
Pharmacists generally have a fixed income, leading them to look for additional income streams to reach financial goals.
To better understand opportunities that exist for pharmacists, I reached out to Dr. Tony Guerra, pharmacist, entrepreneur, and author of the audiobook Finding Your Unicorn Job for Pharmacists. He's been a pharmacist for 23 years and is currently a professor of pharmacology at Des Moines Area Community College.
Tony is a jack of all trades when it comes to side hustles, especially after writing the audiobook. He’s produced many valuable resources for pharmacology students and was kind enough to share several ideas mentioned throughout this list.
Unlike other guides, these side hustles are specific to the knowledge and skills pharmacists already have. Here are industry-specific opportunities and lesser known ways to make extra money as a pharmacist.
How to make extra money as a pharmacist: Industry-specific opportunities
1. Pick up extra shifts
Particularly in hospitals and health systems, you may be able to pick up extra shifts during shortages. Unfortunately, this option may not be available if you work in a community pharmacy.
2 Sign up for special projects or assignments
Special projects, such as educating patients on medication changes, can lead to additional overtime. However, these types of opportunities may not be advertised. So, it's best to reach out to your manager to let them know you’re interested when these openings arise.
3. Snag a moonlighting position
If your employer doesn't offer overtime, look into moonlighting positions at local hospitals or pharmacies. Working as a PRN pharmacist a few days a month can help cover grocery bills or make extra payments on your student loans.
4. Add to your credentials
You can increase your pay by adding qualifications and specializations. There are a lot of board certifications and special credentials to explore, including:
- Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist (BCOP)
- Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
- Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist (BCNSP)
- Board Certified Pediatric Pharmacy Specialist (BCPPS)
- Certified Pain Education (CPE)
Your current employer may even agree to foot the bill. So, be sure to ask about possible financial aid first.
5. Serve on an advisory board
Pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare organizations use advisory boards to make educated and informed decisions. As a member of an advisory board, you can provide expert guidance and earn extra cash in the process.
6. Complete comprehensive medication reviews (CMR)
New tech companies allow you to gather patient data and medication reviews from the comfort of your own home. Aspen RxHealth is an app-based platform that connects patients with pharmacists conducting CMR. It provides medication therapy management (MTM) directly through the app.
Aspen RxHealth allows pharmacists to work as much as their schedule allows. They are paid as independent contractors and are responsible for a $75 background fee. Pharmacists must also provide their own computer or laptop.
7. Look into telepharmacy gigs
Pharmacists can remotely manage prescription orders, review dosage information and provide virtual patient services through telepharmacy services. Check out sites such as PipelineRx and FlexJobs for available positions.
Side hustles to make extra money as a pharmacist
8. Write an eBook
It's now easier than ever to write and publish eBooks by self-publishing on Amazon or other marketplaces. You can write nonfiction resources for other medical professionals or focus on topics that resonate with patients.
Keep in mind it takes more than just an idea and hard work to make money from an eBook. You’ll need targeted marketing efforts to see a return. Combine this with other side hustles (such as blogs or social media platforms) to help promote and increase sales.
9. Publish audiobooks
Tony has had great success in publishing audiobooks. His books help pharmacology students and professionals throughout their careers. He currently has 23 audiobooks and has given free audiobook codes for Student Loan Planner® readers.
10. Get into medical writing
Healthcare companies need content to educate their clients. So, there’s a lot of potential income to gain from online medical writing. Medical companies need qualified writers to turn scientific and clinical data into digestible content for patients.
Join medical writing social media groups to network and find potential clients. Additionally, consider joining the American Medical Writers Association for writing resources and job opportunities.
11. Start a consulting business
If you’re a seasoned pharmacist, share your knowledge and experience with others who are just starting or need assistance. Consulting can easily be done on the side, while still maintaining your full-time job.
Online programs, like Pharmapreneur Academy, are designed to help pharmacists get their consulting business up and running. It also ironically shows you how to turn your consulting business into another side hustle — teaching others how to get into pharmaceutical consulting.
12. Become a professor or lecturer
If you have pharmacy and teaching experience under your belt, you may be able to score a teaching position at a local pharmacy school or online program. However, you shouldn’t limit your job pool to only pharmacy schools. Other healthcare programs teach pharmacy topics. So, be sure to look at other professional opportunities as well.
But if you don’t have teaching experience, you can offer free lectures or discussion sessions to gain teaching skills.
13. Fill out pharmacy surveys for money
You can make extra money as a pharmacist by filling out paid medical surveys. A quick online search for medical surveys shows many companies to choose from. MD Analytics’s market research panel, for example, asks pharmacists to participate in online surveys, phone interviews and focus groups.
14. Become a public speaker
If you have a specialization, you can teach others and leverage your expertise to score speaking gigs. Reach out to your network and medical professionals to see if they're interested in learning about your specialized topic.
You can also look to present unique topics related to the medical world. For example, Tim Ulbrich, founder of Your Financial Pharmacist, speaks to pharmacy schools and organizations about personal finance and his journey to get out of debt.
15. Lead Continuing Education (CE) presentations
Pharmacists and other healthcare professionals typically need CE credits to maintain credentials. Therefore, there may be opportunities to instruct courses locally or in an online setting.
Keep in mind that CE requirements vary by state and profession. As a starting point, explore the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education’s continuing pharmacy education provider list to find programs that may need additional instructors.
16. Explore business or life coaching
Use your pharmaceutical experience to become a business or life coach. Coaching provides a one-on-one relationship to motivate others to reach their goals. Unlike consulting, coaching encourages and guides clients to become more self-aware.
Check out RxAshlee, a coaching business developed by a third-generation pharmacist, for some inspiration.
17. Start a podcast
As a pharmacist, you can use your knowledge to start a podcast. For example, podcasts like The Burnout Doctor and Rx Radio cater to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. But podcasts can focus on a variety of subjects that mesh personal and professional experiences.
18. Become a grant writer
Grant writing can be a lucrative side business since it takes specific writing skills. Companies will pay knowledgeable and experienced healthcare providers to assist them in grant-seeking efforts.
Be sure to look into grant writing opportunities that showcase your medical knowledge. As a result of your training, pharmacy proposals, health policies and medical research opportunities may come naturally.
19. Serve as an expert witness
Law firms use pharmacists as expert witnesses for criminal and civil cases. They provide expert testimony related to medications, toxicology and quality of care during trials.
SEAK is an expert witness directory company. They provide training and other resources that will help you get started. Additionally, reach out to your family and friends who practice law to start networking. You can also look into connecting with the American Society for Pharmacy Law.
20. Create a resource blog
Once you start a blog that provides resources for pharmacists or students, you can monetize it. By using affiliate marketing and ads, your blog can help bring in passive income.
Subsequently, you can create and sell other products through your blog. For instance, study guides, eBooks and courses are easy to advertise and remain relevant to the pharmaceutical content.
That’s what Brandon Dyson, co-founder of tl;dr pharmacy, did with his website that offers blogs and pharmaceutical cheat sheets. Dyson created this resource while teaching and working as an oncology pharmacist.
21. Provide test prep resources and services
Creating test prep resources or offering one-on-one services for healthcare students can help generate extra income. Eric Chistianson, founder of the blog Med Ed 101, did this by creating numerous test prep resources. His prep materials can be used for pharmacist board certifications, the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and many others.
22. Become a virtual assistant for a medical office or healthcare company
You can work for online clients by becoming a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants have a variety of roles, such as helping with social media management, scheduling, billing, course development and more.
It also doesn’t take much to get started. Begin by networking online and using LinkedIn or social media groups to start finding clients.
23. Create a support group
Social media and other online platforms can be used to create support groups for demographics in the pharmacy world. Once you’ve gained a solid following, you can monetize the group by selling tailored products and services. You can also charge membership fees.
For example, Dr. Suzanne Soliman created the Pharmacist Moms Group to advocate for women in pharmacy. Since then, the group has grown to over 35,000 members and offers a variety of services and resources.
24. Look into proofreading opportunities
Proofreading can be done anytime or anywhere. Considering you’ve written plenty of academic papers, you’d be a great candidate to review academic assignments and research proposals. Depending on specializations and experience, you can also earn higher rates.
25. Tutor pharmacy students
I’m sure the challenges of pharmacy school are still fresh in your mind. Therefore, you can become a tutor for pharmacy students in your area or use video conferencing to access a wider range of students.
For example, companies like BrainMass provide online platforms for tutors and offer a range of other teaching opportunities.
26. Become a medical transcriptionist
Medical transcription gigs are pretty straightforward since all you need is a laptop and the ability to write quickly. Though the pay isn’t great (PayScale states the average pay is about $15 per hour), it can be an easy job once you get the hang of it.
27. Consider real estate investing
Real estate can be a great way to grow wealth over time. But it requires time and additional financial investment.
For example, founder of Real Estate RPH, Nate Hedrick, has carved a path for himself as a full-time pharmacist within the real estate industry. He also helps other pharmacists achieve their real estate goals, and specializes in topics such as “house-hacking your way through residency” and first-time home buying.
Start making more money as a pharmacist
These are just some examples of how to make extra money as a pharmacist. Especially with today’s gig economy, there are endless ways to boost your finances as a pharmacist in your spare time.
Whether you want to pay down your pharmacy student loans or start saving for retirement, a side hustle can help you make more money, explore new interests and gain useful skills.