When we’re looking at the job outlook for pharmacists, it’s important to see how many jobs are out there (demand) versus how many candidates are out there to fill the positions (supply).
If there are more open positions and fewer people to fill them, it’s easier to get a job. And, thus, pharmacists’ salaries would likely increase. But if there are fewer pharmacists job openings and a bunch of pharmacists looking for jobs, it will take longer to find employment. Income can stagnate and even go down.
Before the pandemic when we wrote this article, there was clearly an oversupply of new pharmacists. Many new PharmDs would only receive offers of part time employment in the most desirable places to live. Some felt that they had to live in a rural location simply to have a good full time opportunity.
Still others sought more education and residency training to insulate themselves from the difficult labor market trends in retail pharmacy.
But then COVID arrived and destroyed all of these trends. Will the huge need for pharmacists during the pandemic translate change the long term dynamics of the pharmacist labor market? We’ll explain our thoughts and show you why we expect strain in the profession going forward.
How to become a pharmacist
Pharmacists have critical jobs. It’s their responsibility to make sure that patients receive not only the right medications but also the appropriate dosages. They also discuss potential side effects with patients and any existing medical conditions that could react negatively to the medicine. With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that pharmacists have rigorous education requirements.
Most pharmacy schools require applicants to have completed at least two years of post-secondary education and many require a bachelor’s degree. At a minimum, most pharmacy programs will want their students to have completed undergraduate courses in chemistry, biology, and physics.
It typically takes four years to graduate from a Doctor of Pharmacy program. However, some schools offer an accelerated 3-year option. Completing a one-or two-year residency is not a licensing requirement. But it may be required to qualify for certain advanced positions.
After graduation or residency, prospective pharmacists must pass two exams to become licensed. The first is the NAPLEX. The second will either be the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or an alternative state-specific test. Graduates may also choose to pursue optional certifications to demonstrate advanced knowledge or skills.
Pharmacist job outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that were just released, here is the modest outlook for the pharmacist job market. While the expected average growth rate for all occupations over the next 10 years is 4%, pharmacist employment is actually expected to decline during that period.
- The median wage for pharmacists in 2021 was $128,570
- There were 323,500 pharmacist jobs in 2021
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 3% decline in pharmacist employment from now to 2029
- The number of pharmacist jobs will contract by 10,500 positions by 2029
- 14,000+ pharmacists graduate yearly when a projected zero new pharmacist jobs are being created
In my conversations with industry experts, perhaps the retirement rate of pharmacists will be a couple thousand each year.
At a minimum, it seems as if a net 10,000 pharmacists will be entering the labor force yearly. During the pandemic, this oversupply was absorbed due to the labor market shortage.
Older pharmacists have significant home equity and retirement account gains in the past two years. This could cause a higher retirement rate, but unless something drastic happens, an increasing number of retirees will not make up long term for the structural oversupply of new graduates.
Because of the earlier mention of supply and demand, long term, we would expect declining hours, reduced or flat lining pay, and less attractive working conditions for the future.
Where Could Pharmacy Job Growth Come From?
Baby boomers will age. And as they do, so will there need for prescriptions. The problem is that automation increases productivity per pharmacist and thus reduces the number needed.
The biggest growth in the pharmacy profession is likely to come from non-retail settings such as hospitals, physician offices, and outpatient care centers. These kinds of places are seeing more and more value in having clinical pharmacists on hand so they can dispense medicine and monitor patient responses. In some states, pharmacists can even administer vaccinations.
This does not bode well for pharmacists with student loan debt. That said, most hospitals would be qualifying employers to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), which could save PharmDs a lot of money paying back their student loans. That is, if you can get a job.
Retail pharmacies like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target and Express Scripts are still supplying a lot of those jobs at the moment. But they’re facing a lot of competition from online pharmacies, mail order, and specialty pharmacies. It may have been too quick because now they’re starting to reduce full-time pharmacist positions.
Additionally, the BLS says that pharmacy technicians are increasingly performing tasks that pharmacists use to do. These include things like collecting patient information and preparing certain types of medications.
Adding it all together, the projected growth rate means that compared to many other professions we advise, I would not recommend someone go to pharmacy school for financial reasons. You had better be passionate about the work and be the best in your class.
More schools of pharmacy enter the market to meet demand
More pharmacists are graduating than ever because there has been tremendous growth in the number of pharmacy schools. As of January 2021, there are 140 schools in the U.S. that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). That’s about 60 more than in 2000, or a 73% growth in Doctor of Pharmacy programs.
This increase in the number of schools is in large part driven by the change in PLUS loans in 2006. After that date, students could take out unlimited debt up to the cost of attendance. After 2007, they could pay it back as a percent of their income under an IBR plan. That change turned an uneconomic $300,000 pharmacy degree into a realistic option.
More pharmacy programs mean that more applicants are getting accepted to school and becoming PharmDs. All of these new schools need to fill their classrooms with students so they make money. This means it’s easier than ever to get into pharmacy school.
It used to be that only about 32% of applicants were accepted into a PharmD program, but acceptance rates have skyrocketed to over 80%.
Not surprisingly, there are more PharmDs graduating than ever. Between 13,000 and 15,000 people are graduating from pharmacy school each year, according to the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. Will 5% of the existing 314,300 pharmacists retire every year? Probably not.
There used to be a shortage of people to meet pharmacist job growth. And that’s when the pharmacist salary really started to rise. But the increase in schools has led to an upsurge in students and graduates. That could mean a leveling out of pay for pharmacists. Right now, the median entry-level pharmacist salary is $102,414 according to PayScale.
Keep in mind that’s for pharmacists who are fully employed.
The “real” job market for pharmacists
It may seem like the job market for pharmacists is growing rapidly. But we’ve heard from hundreds of pharmacists here at Student Loan Planner®. And many of them are having trouble finding full-time work.
Pharmacists often get the short end of the stick as these major pharmacy chains try to cut costs by hiring many part-time employees instead of paying for full-time benefits. Why can they do this? It’s because of all of the people now being accepted and graduating with a PharmD.
Companies like Kroger laid off pharmacists and moved weekly work hours down from 40 to 32. CVS, Walgreens and Target have been hiring part-time pharmacists rather than full time. We’ve heard from many pharmacists that they have to take on two part-time jobs because their employer isn’t giving them enough hours.
But it’s not only that. Residency is also now becoming a thing for pharmacists. Though this leads to much better training, it’s not great for salaries. It means hospitals can pay less for pharmacists right out of school.
Hospitals can do this because the pharmacist job market is becoming more and more competitive. Pharmacists are chasing the highly-coveted, full-time jobs at hospitals, where they get the hours they need and also qualify for PSLF.
Hopefully, the projected growth of pharmacist hospital jobs will come to fruition because they’re one of the better positions to get as a pharmacist compared to working in drug stores.
Pharmacist career growth
We are certainly at a crossroads.
What we can feel fairly sure about is that the demand for pharmacists is there and should continue to grow. The biggest question is what the job market will actually look like. The primary factor will be the number of new pharmacists graduating each year.
The growth of pharmacy schools and graduates has outpaced pharmacy job growth, and right now, it appears the supply of new PharmDs is meeting the job demand. But if the growth of pharmacy school graduates continues to outpace the actual job growth, we could see pharmacist salaries stagnate and the ability to find a full-time job become an even greater challenge.
Pharmacy School Applications Have Been Falling Precipitously
In a 2017 interview with Drug Topics, Lucinda Maine, the executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), said the number of applicants to pharmacy schools is shrinking.
Although the number of applications to pharmacy school has started to fall, the acceptance rate for pharmacy school as of the most recent data from 2021 shows an overall acceptance rate of 89% (!!!)
A smaller number of applications could theoretically help current pharmacists and their career prospects. But the applicant number needs to shrink 50% or more to bring back the “be a pharmacist, they make so much money!” environment. The only way that happens is if at least half of pharmacy schools close their doors. That will likely not happen as long as programs can access unlimited federal student loans.
If the pool of applicants to pharmacy school shrinks, some of the poorly-run or overly-expensive pharmacy schools won’t be able to fill their classrooms. This would cause those schools to lose money and eventually close down.
That could cause a chain reaction. Fewer schools mean fewer graduates, which would slow the supply of new pharmacists entering the market. This would then make the job market better for pharmacists.
But if the number of applications stays where it’s at, the pharmacist career outlook for the average graduate is very bleak. Hopefully, the first scenario plays out so that current pharmacists can have a brighter outlook.
Closing Chain Pharmacy Locations Put More Pharmacists in the Unemployment Line
Smaller stores going out of business have become a frequent happening. When Fred’s closed its 80 stores, that cost the profession about 80-160 jobs.
It’s not just retail locations. Campus pharmacies are also closing (see this example at Rutgers). This puts more pharmacists out of work.
These trends have been mostly paused due to the pandemic, but when more normal economic times resume, these long term dynamics show no signs of reversing.
With giant competitors fighting for survival, any inefficient location could easily be pushed out of business. The big employers gain further market share and thus even more leverage over the large number of graduates looking for work. Of course, one way to be competitive is to pay lower wages.
There might be some growth in the hospital setting like we’ve mentioned, but it might not be enough to offset the challenges in other areas of the profession. Clearly pharmacy schools need to prepare students for jobs besides traditional positions graduates usually fill.
How to approach pharmacy student loan repayment
You might look at these number and think it’s a bunch of doom and gloom. Far from it. I simply want to share the numbers with you so that those passionate about pharmacy continue to pursue it. If you were planning to pursue it to get an easy path at professional earnings, you might want to look at additional options before committing.
If you already have debt though, there’s no need to be concerned about it because at worst, it’s a highly complex tax on your income.
A general rule of thumb on student loan repayment for pharmacists is that if someone owes less than 1.5 times their income in student loans (e.g., a pharmacist earning $100,000 who owes $150,000 or less in loans) should consider refinancing. Make sure you can afford to pay off your loans in 10 years or less. And confirm that you’re not eligible for PSLF or other loan forgiveness options.
Those with two times their income or more in student loans (e.g., PharmDs making $100,000 who owe more than $200,000) should explore income-driven repayment.
We are the experts for pharmacy school student loans
We’ve worked with a huge number of pharmacists who have an average student loan debt of $213,000 to prepare them for this future financially. Some of them didn’t know how to approach their loan repayment with a part-time job. Even the ones with full-time jobs weren’t sure what to do. Most have severe anxiety over their student debt.
If you’re looking to get help finding a solid plan to pay back your student loans, we’d be happy to help. Along with potential savings, most people say they just feel relieved to have a concrete plan they understand. When you realize how to optimize your loans, you’ll feel a lot better even in a tough pharmacist job market.
We’ve done over 10,000 individual consults and have advised on more than $2 billion in student loans. If you want to share the details of your situation and learn how we could help, simply click the “Get a Student Loan Plan” button below.
Travis Hornsby contributed to this report.
You’ve misread the BLS site, it’s 6% over the 10 years from 2016 to 2026. In other words, the entire growth is a bit more than the 2019 total graduating class. I would argue they aren’t going to hit that growth in a full-time market with the increase in forced mail-order/pharmacy consolidation. Additionally, as companies flip FT for part-time/on-demand the median salary will likely drop significantly.
Travis Hornsby says
Whatever the growth rate is it’s a projection right. So who knows what it’ll be but it’s clearly not roses like some schools portray.
Hi , In 1975, when I graduated with my B S , there were still opportunities for pharmacists from clinical, industry, to education/research , and to retail and private ownership. At that time the main concerns in retail were the lack of support personnel, low compensation, and excessive hours without breaks. Independents faced diminishing returns with invasion of chains. After years of Pharm D programs these are still primary concerns. In addition, any half wit could see the proliferation of Pharm D schools would flood the market. It is simple supply and demand. My point is since the advance of the Pharm D, I have seen no real improvement in Pharmacist well being. Rather than promoting Pharmacy , since the advance of the Pharm D, the profession has become diluted because schools can print money with graduate tuitions. Hospitals can hire residency students at half salary while demanding excessive hours of work. This is all done under Pharm D leadership. How about stepping up and holding off any new schools? While Pharm D leadership is grasping with this concept wouldn’t it be nice if someone would stop the profession from looking as if you work in a deli
Ronald Glenn Haines, Sr. B.Pharm,CPh. says
Oh hell yes!
Chuck Christopher says
Agree! All About the buck…
Got out before vaccine and eye exams. Moved to hospital, great benefits, 4 weeks vacation to start!
Corporations are laying off those making more money than others or have more PTO then hiring newbies or rehire those laid off at a pay decrease. Some decrease have been between 10 to 15 dollars less than current market rate and with 200k student loan, a job is better than no job. Thats the wave of the future for us rph. More laid off will happen in the near future because right now there is 1 job opening with 50 applicants in Las Vegas so corporations can offer you whatever they feel like. Some companies will not even hire interns for experience once they graduate. Walmart laid off all their interns in Vegas and non was offered a job after graduation. Until these overpriced pharmacy schools close their doors, all pharmacists and future graduates are expandable.
Travis Hornsby says
Cheese 1 job per 50 applicants? That’s pretty brutal.
potomac james says
The universities are not helping the 1 job 50 applicants. They need to start closing down schools. 142 colleges and universities generate 14,000 to 15,000 PharmDs a year, when US Bureau of labor sttistice predict job growth of only 1,700 a year over through 2026. The future for PharmD is bleak.
Peter Hilsenrath says
BLS projected 6 percent growth of pharmacist employment from 2016 to 2026, not 6 percent annual growth. A new estimate should be out soon.
Travis Hornsby says
Interesting got a source we can check that with? Like BLS data?
Joseph Anon says
The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook page for pharmacists has a tab for “Job Outlook” where they give a projected employment increase of 17,400 over the period 2016-2026 (link above). So it’s 6% over the 10-year period, not 6% annually. It’s vital to compare this to the number of graduates, which is currently 14,905 annually (as of 2018) per the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Extrapolating, that’s 140,000+ new pharmacists over the 10-year period applying for a projected 17,400 jobs. Metaphorically, we ordered one pizza for 40 people.
Maybe the old pharmacists will retire? The class of 1976, which is generally 66 years old today, numbered 7464 (link below). That’s roughly 70,000 retirees over the next 10 years. So about half of new grads may claim those spots.
Travis Hornsby says
Thank you for this we’ll update the article. But if there’s a recession few of those older grads will want to leave employment security, which would make for a really ugly situation.
I’m a graduate of class 2018. It has been more than a year since I graduated I am still unemployed. I applied to numerous places but still no luck. They require 2-6 years experience as “a pharmacist” (I worked for 2 years during pharmacy school as pharmacy intern) and they pay only $30/hr with no benefits and retirement plans. I have 210,000+ student loans debt and $6,000 credit cards debt…My life is a mess right now. I enjoy the pharmacy field and it has been my dream and goal since little but now I regret it so much….
Travis Hornsby says
There’s always hope even if you don’t end up as a pharmacist. Remember you can always pay your loans as a tax (under a PAYE or REPAYE plan). Get out of that credit card debt and there’s a lot of hope I promise.
I am sorry to hear your story. I am praying for you. Keep trying, maybe even in a different field plus part-time pharmacist. Move to income-contingent loan plan (if you have not already). There is hope even when things are hard, read the gospel of John in the Bible.
Kedar G says
I graduated in 2010 and I was literally the last graduating class in the Washington DC area to get guaranteed job placement through CVS. Half of interns for class of 2011 got the axe by November and the remaining had to Still apply. I always wondered what the current condition was for new grads and sadly it’s what I expected. I’m with Kroger in Colorado now and I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time til my life is over as well. I’m starting to try to figure out other alternative ways to make money or how to live in the future. I feel very sorry for you. Where do you currently live? Have you found a job yet?
Sorry to hear your story, LT. It’s so sad that everyone who has gotten through pharmacy school has to face this reality. Try to see if you have any relief temp agencies for pharmacists or maybe drive out farther or perhaps think about relocating. I had to drive out 1-1.5 hours to cover part time. Relief temp agencies actually helped out a little when I first started out as a pharmacist. Like Travis said try to get PAYE or REPAYE because you still have a long way to save up for the tax bomb. Don’t give up, I was once in your state of mind before.
I have been a pharmacist for 20 years. Seen several others pushed out of their jobs to be replaced by new graduates. Retail companies do not care. They helped fund pharmacy schools to be built so the salaries would go down and figured out they would save more money pushing out long term higher payed pharmacist to hire new graduates for less money. I have not found a Pharmacist position for over 2.5 years. I seen it coming. Now I day trade stocks and get by. Clinical or research is the best route if you can find a position as a Rph with a PharmD. The first 10 years was great helped so many patients in retail pharmacy. I do not see a big future in pharmacy. Good Luck…
Travis Hornsby says
Sorry to hear about what happened to you. Do you have evidence that the retail chains funded the pharmacy schools? I see the funding mostly coming from uncapped borrowing under the Grad PLUS program.
I know that my COP had a pretty picture hanging on the wall in one of the conference rooms showing a million dollar check to the COP from CVS. Now when I try and find any new info about it online (it was a number of years ago maybe as far back as 2010 or 2012ish) I can find nothing. That would be a very interesting article to write. Looking into the donations of major pharmacy retail chains (Walgreens, CVS, Walmart) to pharmacy schools in order to grow schools, increase pharmacist counts, in the name of lowering overall pharmacist compensation and flooding the market with pharmacists. If you just do a little mental math and say that one chain probably handed out $20,000,000 in total. In return the schools increased and pumped out double the number of pharmacists. If you just look at CVS and say that their 30,000 pharmacists (stated number as of 2018 article) each took some kind of pay cut whether they started new grad pharmacists at a lower rate $55/hour vs. $65/hour or you say that they let go of older more highly compensated pharmacists being paid $70+/hr and hired in lower paid new grads at $55/hr. So if you just say that CVS was able to save money in this way for example: 15,000 pharmacists making $70 per hour working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year = $2,184,000,000 (that is billion with a B) and another 15,000 pharmcists making $65 per hour working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year = $2, 028,000,000 (that again is billion with a B) for a grand total of pharmacist compensation = $4,212,000,000. So now with lay offs and hiring new grads and dropping starting compensation so that instead they are paying 10,000 pharmacists at $60 per hour working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year = $1,248,000,000 and another 10,000 pharmacists at $55 per hour working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year = $1,144,000,000, and another 10,000 pharmacists at $50 per hour working 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year = $1,040,000,000 for a grand total of $3,432,000,000. So that would be a savings of $780,000,000 millions dollars. So that makes an investment of $20, $40, $60 or even more millions of dollars to pharmacy schools to “grow” their enrollment, open up more schools, etc. well worth it yes? That is why we really have the exponential growth….retail chains funded the expansion. I am sure you will be able to find plenty of info out there on donations CVS, Walgreens and Walmart have made to further this goal.
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
That’s a fascinating set of numbers. While the retail chains likely encouraged the trend, without unlimited loan amounts from federal student loans they wouldn’t have been able to grow enrollment to the level they have. But really interesting way of thinking about it.
I’m also a 2018 graduate from the top pharmacy school and I know a few classmates are still unemployed. I did residency at a hospital which I applied for employment post residency, I got the job but I was told they received a total of 83 applications!!!!!
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
Holy cow 83 apps for one spot! That’s crazy.
The part about pharmacy residency is a little misleading. In my experience, the pro of an extra year of residency is that you get more training and are more qualified than New graduates for a hospital job. Therefore, you will likely be selected over a new grad for a hospital pharmacist position and start at a similar expected salary. The downside is that to get the residency experience and training you take a large paycut during that residency year (over 50%). However, I think that the long-term job security you will likely have afterward due to the training and advanced qualifications is far worth it.
Travis Hornsby says
But with everyone seeking out residencies like this does it truly provide job security? Perhaps compared to pharmacists who do not do one, but I view residencies as a more recent widespread phenomenon to deal with the huge surplus of new grads. Of course you certainly learn things and become a better pharmacist, but I’m a little cynical about why employers are encouraged these programs.
My friend who works as a pharmacist at a Kaiser hospital told me that they posted a recent job opening for a hospital pharmacist. They received over 300 applications! Just because you do a residency does not guarantee you a job. Residency prepares you to become a hospital pharmacist, but most of the pharmacist job market is dominated by retail.
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
HOLY COW! That should be required all caps disclosure in every pharmacy school application right now.
The pharmacy schools don’t care. They just want to make money off of students and they sugar coat the job market and make sure the students steer clear from reality. In fact, some schools even lowered their standards for admission requirements just to fill up spots. It’s no wonder why students from new schools have difficulty passing the NAPLEX after graduation.
In my experience a PGY1 is standard and nothing special in order to be competitive now a PGY2 is needed for the hospital setting. Work at the VA here and most of our medical centers in my region won’t consider you without a PGY2.
I disagree with the author in Hospital being a growth field – our city has gone through numerous reduction in clinical staff. Pharmacy technicians have taken over med/rec, anticoag clinic, and plan in the works for them to take tobacco cessation clinic and diabetes clinic ( still not sure how that is going to work) Reference go to usajobs.gov and search “advanced clinical pharmacy technician” or clinical pharmacy technician”…
Travis Hornsby says
Thanks for the feedback!
Im sorry to hear that. I know how you feel. I’m was a first year P1 student and just withdrew from pharmacy school this year for class of 2023. I had other pharmacist telling me to get out while I can and so I listened. I am happy now doing something different although I have some student loans to pay off. However, it’s better than being in 200K debt. The market is so saturated I was afraid of not having a job when I get out.
Loved the article. You definitely got it right !! Check out the PharmD Unscripted Podcast with Dr. Bree & Dr. LaQuita J on Apple/Google Podcasts, Spotify and more !! This show highlights real issues in Pharmacy and individuals journeys into non-traditional Pharmacist roles.
Schools are mainly to blame. They need to either close or reduce size by half. Something needs to be done . The Medical Boards have so much power but The Pharmacy Boards are useless & feel like we have no voice. There needs to be some accountability for misleading masses of students about becoming a pharmacist. There are no jobs.
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
Thanks for sharing Reza
Surprised a law firm has not focused on how long term pharmacist have been pushed out and replaced, by new graduates, from their life career by the retail pharmacy industry.
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
I imagine they would if they could make a case legally. Do you think there’s been anything illegal in the way the big box healthcare companies have done what they have? It seems like brutal competition to me as an outsider
There was a job posting in W.A. state for $43/hr pharmacist at Big Chain (RA). That is about $20 less per hour then just a few years ago. Plus these part time jobs expect you to have “open availability” for just 20 hours. So can’t work 2 jobs. It’s not just about the wage per hour but the # of hours offered is small. So 3 rph i worked with make about $50 k but still have about 175k in loans. I can tell they let just about anyone into pharmacy school, the employers want some to just press the button. It sounds bad, but pharmacist quality has dropped a lot.
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
That’s not surprising w the acceptance rate around 90% right now
Carol Lawson says
I have seen contract jobs as a pharmacist temporary no benefits etc for 24 to 35 per hour in New Jersey–the end is near
Travis at Student Loan Planner says
Cheez that’s really awful. The only counterpoint I’d say is that’s much better than chiropractic.
The job market for pharmacists is the worst it’s ever been. Please consider MD/DO school instead. Pharmacy school will bury you in debt, same number of years of school as MD’s and very stiff competition for jobs. Applications of jobs are now almost 100 applicants per job position. It is terrible. The pharmacy schools are being dishonest about the job market and are profiting at the expense of innocent young students who haven’t done the research about the pharmacist market.
Every pharmacy school student should read this article above and steer away from pharmacy. Change course and go to medical school. You will thank all of us who are telling the truth about the market. YOU will be needed as a physician, and there will be a myriad of job opportunities the minute you graduate from residency. Pharmacy will leave you with high debt, and without a job you will be happy with because there just are not enough jobs for everyone. The market is flooded and I urge all of you to save yourselves even if you have invested 2-3 years into pharmacy school. You will have a better quality of life and respect as well by taking the MD route. If you can do pharmacy, you can definitely succeed in MD school. They are both equally challenging.
Great article above and every bit of it is the truth! Too many schools and not enough jobs!
To those of you whom have found your way to this article, I am grateful to be able to share the truth about what is happening in pharmacy. Too many schools have opened and have been profiting at the expense of the integrity of our profession. Too many pharmacists are graduating each year, and unemployment is rising in this field. I have been a pharmacist for almost 22 years, and the market has become worse each year. Please consider another field such as MD/DO route, or dentistry. The pharmacist market is flooded and there aren’t enough jobs let alone “good” jobs. I hope this helps students or anyone considering this career route. This is the truth and I hope you take it seriously. I want to save all of you heartache in your future.
I am not sure why my comments are being removed, but the truth is that there are too many pharmacists graduating every year and fewer jobs. Opening too many pharmacy schools has negatively impacted the integrity of the profession. The medical schools and dentistry schools have not made that mistake. There are plentiful jobs in these fields and myriad of opportunities! The pharmacist market is saturated, and it will leave even the most elite pharmacists disillusioned. I am a pharmacist with 23 years of experience and am sharing with you the truth about the market.
Wow…!!! This should be interesting, I am 19yrs studying Medical imaging currently. I have thought of changing to Pharmacy school by next yr. All those comments above i read are really disgusting. I would like to get a better advice from you all. I am now confuse. Please!!!
I’ve been a pharmacy tech for 8 years and have been told by a few pharmacy managers I should become a pharmacist. Nope! Retail is awful and getting into a hospital setting is pretty much impossible. Walgreens and CVS keep cutting back and adding more work because they can get away with it. Pharmacists don’t complain since they are afraid getting fired and won’t be able to find a job. I’m back in school getting a degree in medical technology. The job market is great, there are very few schools that offer the program, and for just a bachelor’s the starting pay is around $50,000.
I’m a Medical Technologist. I regret going to pharmacy school. I graduated in 2018 and I still couldn’t find a job yet to this date (06/19/2021). The funny thing is I work two jobs as a medical technologist (Full time and another part time) I make a solid 140G a year. I don’t know why I went to pharmacy school.
Buster, this is good advice from the article and forum. Whether you heed it is up to you. I would suggest either PA or Nurse practitioner as a healthcare career for you much more robust job prospects. Don’t just pick the easiest field to get into school select a career with longevity. Pharmacist of 22 years.
What is not mentioned either is that pharmacist is perfection as a standard apart from any other career. You make more than a few mistakes no matter how trifling in a mandatory reporting environment and you are done
If only I knew the reality of the pharmacy industry before I graduated in 2020.
If finding a job in pharmacy was hard pre-pandemic…it seems almost impossible post-pandemic in the tri-state area.
I will say that people outside of the tri-state or metropolitan area (CT, NY, NJ, PA) have had a much better time finding full-time positions. Additionally, states where pharmacists have more oversight or prescribing powers like Ohio, often have more positions available. So, the job market is significantly better in Ohio than it is in NY.
Lastly, when I read articles like this I always remember the saying, “it’s not that you can’t find a job, it’s that you can’t find the job you want.”
I’m currently a biochemistry undergrad and thinking about going to pharmacy school. However, after reading these comments I’m rethinking my future career options. Are there more opportunities as a clinical pharmacist in comparison to a retail pharmacist?
Abel at Student Loan Planner says
Hi there, we don’t have a blog comparing the two career paths, but here are some blogs to also be aware of: Are Pharmacists Rich? Learn How They Can Be!, How to Become a Pharmacist: Is It Worth the Time and Money?, 4 Types of Pharmacy Schools Ranked by Cost and 27 Ways to Make Extra Money as a Pharmacist.