2012 Annual Salary Survey: 75% report job satisfaction

April 15, 2012

It's still good to be a pharmacist. With high job satisfaction rates, low unemployment, good salaries, and annual raises, most pharmacists continue to report they are happy with their career.

It's still good to be a pharmacist. With high job satisfaction rates, low unemployment, good salaries, and annual raises, most pharmacists continue to report they are happy with their career.

These are just a few of the findings from Drug Topics' 2012 salary survey that polled 1,368 pharmacists in community pharmacy, long-term care, and hospital settings about their workload, education, average salaries, and job satisfaction.

Similar to previous years, pharmacists appear content with the profession, but even with high job satisfaction rates, pharmacy isn't without its challenges. This year's results show an increasing workload that is coupled for many with rising stress levels.

Not only are pharmacists finding themselves steadily employed, most aren't reporting long hours. The majority (54%) reported working each week between 40 and 44 hours, with only 8% of those surveyed working 50 hours or more.

Most pharmacists (59%) are paid on an hourly basis, with 56% reporting hourly wages between $51 and $60 an hour. Of the 41% who are salaried, 46% reported earning annual base salaries between $116,000 and $140,000 a year.

It's a salary most say is fair, as 48% of those surveyed believe that their salary is average compared to other pharmacists in the area working in the same practice setting. However, 22% say they believe their salaries are below average, 13% believe they are above average, and 18% aren't sure.

Pharmacists are able to put their skills to work in a variety of settings across the country, with 14% finding employment at an independent pharmacy, 22% reporting to work each day at a chain pharmacy, and 28% working in a hospital pharmacy department.

The number of years on the job also ranges from 0 to 36 or more; however, 49% of those surveyed say they've been in the profession for 26 years or more.

Of the survey respondents, 71% had obtained bachelor's degrees, while 33% had earned their doctorate of pharmacy. Most (77%) were not board certified. Of the 23% who were board certified, 86% said they don't believe the certification had helped draw a bigger salary.

Financial rewards

Pharmacists are often able to boost their yearly take-home pay with commissions, bonuses, or profit-sharing. This was the case in 2011 for 48% of pharmacists. This figure is down just slightly from the year before when 52% of those surveyed reported receiving additional income in 2010.

Most of the pharmacists who did earn additional income, didn't report overly large amounts of additional pay. On average, 21% reported earning less than $1,000 in additional pay, 18% reported earning between $1,000 and $1,999, and 14% earned between $2,000 and $2,999.

Regardless of whether pharmacists received additional pay to increase their yearly earnings, the majority (62%) did report earning a raise in 2011. According to Drug Topics results, 81% earned a raise of 3% or less for the year.

Most pharmacists are optimistic about the year ahead and 60% believe they will see a raise in 2012. Once again, most (76%) believe the raise will be 3% or less.