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Pharmacy salary information: Average earnings over $100,000

Remember when you were in pharmacy school dreaming of the day that you would trade in your textbooks for a paycheck that would put you into a Lexus and a summer beach house rental? If you are like most of the respondents to Drug Topics' latest survey of employee-pharmacist salaries, you have good reason to break out the champagne. The money's good and the perks aren't bad either. But wait, don't pop the cork yet. For many pharmacists, your stress has increased and you are not satisfied with some aspects of your job, such as the working conditions, work volume, inadequate staff support, and increased paperwork. Drug Topics' survey, which was conducted online, suggests that a growing number of pharmacists are restless and are thinking about giving their current employer notice that they are moving on.

Bringing home more bacon

For the first time since Drug Topics conducted our exclusive salary survey, the average annual base salary of our respondents has cracked the six-figure ceiling. The average annual base salary of all 1,176 respondents to our online survey was $107,403 in 2007, compared with $94,927 in 2006.

Of all seven groups in our survey, pharmacists working in health maintenance organizations pulled in the fattest paycheck—they racked up $114,067 last year. They were followed by pharmacists who practice at independent pharmacies ($109,618); mass-merchandisers ($109,466); chains ($107,885); hospitals ($107,168); supermarkets ($106,302); and mail order ($101,500).

In today's job market earning a Pharm.D. degree helped pharmacists fetch $109,527—only $3,000 more than pharmacists who have their name emblazoned on a B.S. diploma.

In our last survey in 2006, pharmacists with a Pharm.D. degree outearned their B.S. colleagues by an average of $5,238. Pharm.D. practitioners reported an average base salary of $101,620, compared with $96,382 for B.S. pharmacists.

Movin' on?

Employers may want to bend over backwards to please pharmacists as our survey indicates that a growing number of them are feeling restless. While not a majority, 26% of pharmacists admitted they are considering jumping ship within the next 12 months. The last time we conducted our salary survey, only 23% of pharmacists saw an updated resum in their immediate future.

Mail-order pharmacists are the most likely to circulate their resums (40%) within the next 12 months. The least likely to comb want ads are pharmacists who are employed by mass-merchandisers (22%). More pharmacists from the Northeast are updating their curriculum vitae (31%) than those who hail from the Northwest (17%).

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