Best and Worst States to Be a Pharmacist

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Becoming a pharmacist takes a significant amount of invested time and money. It takes between six and eight years of studies , and typically requires more than $40,000 a year to obtain a doctorate in pharmacy and become licensed. Almost 85% of students graduating in 2018 borrowed to pay for their Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) title and left school owing on average more than $160,000.

Compensation is a factor in deciding where to work. Even though pharmacists are well paid — the median salary for pharmacists is $126,000 a year — they still need to pay their student debt, which is no easy task. Annual salary, which varies by state, is not the only factor that makes some states better prospective homes than others. Cost of living, which is also uneven across states, and employment projections are also good indicators of where the best pharmacist jobs are located.

24/7 Tempo created an index of these indicators and other data to rank the best and worst states to be a pharmacist.

In 2018, there were about 315,000 people across the United States employed as pharmacists. Demand for such professionals in hospitals and clinics is expected to increase because of an aging population, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s a common misconception that pharmacists just put pills in a bottle, Kelly Moore, a hospital-based pharmacist in New York, told 24/7 Tempo. “But we do a lot more,” Moore added. “We are more of a resource, and people should ask us questions and use our expertise.” Here are 20 other things pharmacists want you to know.

Click here for the best and worst states for pharmacists.
Click here for our methodology.