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    The Top 10 States to Be a Pharmacist

    The definitive ranking of the best places to practice pharmacy in America.


    One of the great things about living in the United States of America is that if you don’t like where you live, you have a choice of 49 other states to hang your hat. But before you pack the car and uproot your family, consider our list of the top ten states for pharmacists.

    There are a number of variables involved in declaring which states are better than others. Salary is, of course, important, but doesn’t mean everything. If it did, then Alaska would be number one. Now, we aren’t disparaging Alaska, by any means, but we also looked at other factors that impact the pharmacist’s quality of life. (Incidentally, even though Alaskan pharmacists got paid the most—an average of $137,650 per year—when other variables were considered, it ranked number 43).

    The 12 metrics we considered were:

    • Mean annual wage (the national average for pharmacists was $122,230)
    • Number of pharmacists per state (there were about 297,000 pharmacists nationwide in 2016)
    • Location quotient of the industry (the local concentration of pharmacists as compared to the national average)
    • Cost of living
    • Overall crime statistics
    • Number of Pharmacy Robberies (including armed robbery, employee pilferage, and night break-ins—there were 632 pharmacy robberies nationwide)
    • Overall well-being for the state population
    • Health insurance rates in the state
    • Pharmacy job openings
    • Financial savviness in the state
    • Stress (including stress related to work, family, money, and health and safety)
    • State education level

    We looked at each state using these criteria and then gave each a number from 1 to 50, depending on their ranking (as with golf, the lower the score the better). We then compiled the 12 rankings for each state to give that state a total and ranked them from 1 to 50 based on that final score. Here are the ten best states to be a pharmacist.

    Interestingly, this list is really two sets of regional neighbors—portions of the upper Midwest and New England.

    Of course, this is a snapshot of the averages of different metrics. The world is a bell curve—most statistics fall mostly in the middle of the data, while the extreme high and low ends tell different stories.

    Without further ado, here are the top ten.

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