Salaries for staff pharmacists saw a healthy jump of 5.5 percent in 2005, compared to 2004. Median income for all Americans remained stable between 2002 and 2003, according to the latest figures available. The salaries of pharmacy team managers, staff pharmacists at mail order/online pharmacies, and clinical pharmacists, were collected and collated by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. According to the report, pharmacy graduates reported the strongest growth in pay from 2004 to 2005, up 7.6 percent.

"The ongoing shortage of pharmacists, increasing numbers of retail pharmacies, and aging population needing more prescription drugs are all factors contributing to increased salaries for pharmacy professionals," says Eric Michael, PharmD, a senior consultant at Mercer's Managed Pharmacy Benefit business. "Basically, too many jobs exist for too few pharmacists." Sounds like a good situation to find yourself in.

Mercer's report also indicates that pay varies according to geography. Pay for a staff pharmacist is much lower in New Orleans, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. than the national median.

Where are the highest median salaries reported for a staff pharmacist? Look to California: Fresno ($107,400), Modesto ($106,500), and San Francisco ($104,200).

The 3 L's of salary: Location, location, location
Metropolitan area 2004 median total salary 2005 median total salary
National $88,400 $93,300
Atlanta, Ga. $89,300 $93,600
Buffalo, N.Y. $85,800 $90,000
Chicago, Ill. $87,600 $91,100
Dallas, Texas $91,500 $94,600
Las Vegas, Nev. $88,900 $92,600
Los Angeles, Calif. $96,200 $96,700
Minneapolis, Minn. $94,600 $99,900
New York, N.Y. $89,000 $93,600
Philadelphia, Pa. $88,800 $92,400
Washington, D.C. $84,900 $88,800
These figures are for the position of staff pharmacist.

Comparison of select pharmacy positions

Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting: 2005 Pharmacy Compensation Survey – Spring Edition

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

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Shelley Slade
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