How Much Do Pharmacists Make?

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • The top 10 best states for pharmacist salaries include California, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
  • Conversely, the 10 worst states for pharmacist salaries are Arkansas, South Dakota, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota, Louisiana, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah.
  • The average pharmacist’s salary varies by state, with Alaska having the highest average.
  • To become a pharmacist, the path involves earning a bachelor’s degree, completing pharmacy school, obtaining a license, and considering post-doctoral training.

Working as a pharmacist comes with plenty of benefits. Not only will you have a stable career, but you will also help the patients and get involved with the community. But before you start working as one, perhaps you want to know about the average salary of pharmacists in each state and the steps to becoming a pharmacist. We will discuss these matters in this article, so keep reading to find out.

10 Best States for Pharmacist Salaries

Not all states offer the same salaries for pharmacists, and some will certainly have higher salaries than others. According to the BLS, a pharmacist’s national average annual wage is $123,670. This is way higher compared to how much people get on average for other occupations.

Here are the top 10 best states for pharmacist salaries:

  1. California – $177,723
  2. Oregon – $166,744
  3. Alaska – $161,692
  4. Washington – $157,414
  5. New Hampshire – $152,972
  6. Maine – $151,359
  7. Vermont – $149,679
  8. Delaware – $146,123
  9. Massachusetts – $143,968
  10. Pennsylvania – $140,333

The majority of these states are, as you can see, northern states geographically. Vermont also significantly increased the pharmacist salary over the years, growing by 10.3% between 2013 and 2018.

10 Worst States for Pharmacist Salaries

Of course, there are also states where pharmacists earn way less. Most of the states with low salaries are located in the Midwest region of the country. Here are the 10 worst states when it comes to pharmacist salaries:

  1. Arkansas – $97,394
  2. South Dakota – $103,837
  3. Wyoming – $108,611
  4. Oklahoma – $109,901
  5. Montana – $110,575
  6. North Dakota – $110,609
  7. Louisiana – $110,725
  8. Idaho – $112,134
  9. Colorado – $113,270
  10. Utah – $114,870

Looking at this list, it can be observed that despite being low, the salaries in this list are still higher compared to other occupations in the same states. Moreover, several states have increased the salaries for pharmacists over the years.

Average Pharmacist Salary by State

The average pharmacist’s salary differs from one state to another. The national average salary for a pharmacist is $55.69/hour, but will vary from $20.55 to $98.40 per hour depending on the industry, experience, as well as geographic location.

Here is the average salary for pharmacists in each state:

  • Alaska – $161,692
  • Alabama – $113,164
  • Arizona – $138,092
  • California – $177,723
  • Arkansas – $97,394
  • District of Columbia – $143,638
  • Delaware – $146,123
  • Colorado – $113,270
  • Connecticut – $145,783
  • Florida – $116,790
  • Maine – $151,359
  • Kentucky – $124,841
  • Iowa – $116,305
  • Michigan – $133,286
  • Massachusetts – $143,968
  • Maryland – $145,846
  • Kansas – $122,301
  • Louisiana – $110,725
  • Indiana – $124,123
  • Illinois – $127,168
  • Idaho – $112,134
  • Hawaii – $157,715
  • Georgia – $121,875
  • Oklahoma – $109,901
  • New York – $143,257
  • New Jersey – $143,064
  • Oregon – $166,744
  • North Dakota – $110,609
  • North Carolina – $133,155
  • New Mexico – $136,154
  • Nevada – $150,738
  • New Hampshire – $152,972
  • Ohio – $126,501
  • Missouri – $121,193
  • Minnesota – $127,034
  • Nebraska – $116,216
  • Montana – $110,575
  • Mississippi – $111,115
  • Wyoming – $108,611
  • West Virginia – $125,664
  • Virginia – $137,077
  • Washington – $157,414
  • Wisconsin – $134,082
  • Tennessee – $119,996
  • Vermont – $149,679
  • Texas – $123,500
  • South Dakota – $103,837
  • Utah – $114,870
  • South Carolina – $123,264
  • Pennsylvania – $140,333
  • Rhode Island – $143,843

How to Become a Pharmacist

Would you like to become a pharmacist? If that’s the case, you should know what steps you have to go through to make it possible. Here are the basic steps:

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

First things first, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree. Pharmacists have a Doctorate of Pharmacy, but first, people wishing to become pharmacists have to get a bachelor’s degree.

Now, there is no particular undergraduate degree you need for pharmacy school. At the same time, certain courses should be taken by a student to qualify for the next advanced studies. Some of the necessary courses may include:

  • Microbiology
  • Cellular and molecular biology
  • General and organic chemistry
  • Human physiology and anatomy
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • English

 Complete Pharmacy School

When you have your bachelor’s degree, you can go to pharmacy school and work hard to pass it. Usually, the programs will last four years, but some schools also have three-year programs.

It’s important to go to pharmacy school because this will help you understand how to manage patients, as well as the science behind medicine and how to manage prescriptions. Some subjects covered in courses include:

  • Toxicology
  • Medicinal chemistry
  • Biopharmaceuticals
  • Pathophysiology

Become Licensed

Becoming licensed is also another mandatory step if you wish to become a pharmacist. It is important to keep in mind that every state will have its own licensing requirements, so what applies in one state may not apply in another. At the same time, there are some general things that states require candidates to do.

They include:

Consider Post-Doctoral Training

Post-doctoral training is not something that you have to do in order to be a pharmacist. However, when you want to work in a particular field in the pharmaceutical industry, you may have to go through post-doctoral training.

For instance, you may have to complete a residency of one or two years. It also applies if you want to conduct research.

Job Outlook for Pharmacists

The demand for pharmacists is expected to boost a lot, especially in certain healthcare settings like clinics and hospitals. This may come as a result of the increased chronic disease rates, as well as the baby-boomer generation that is aging.

More and more people will need medical care, so there is a need for people who can manage this matter.

In some specialties and areas, there are several high-paying jobs that may be available. It is expected for around 11,300 openings for pharmacists to open every year from 2020 to 2030.

Since more prescription medications will be necessary for people who are dealing with chronic diseases, the number of pharmacists is expected to increase.

It is very likely for a lot of competition to start around these jobs. Therefore, anyone looking to become a pharmacist should take the residency program experience and educational foundation seriously.

Read More

Final Thoughts

If you came here wondering “How much do pharmacists make?”, now you know the answer. The average salary differs from one state to another. There are also states where the job is paid much better compared to other states.

That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a high-paid job, with perhaps even larger salaries compared to many other occupations. If you follow the right education course and dedicate yourself to this profession, you will have a thriving career. Not only will you get a high salary, but you will also be able to help people in need.

Follow the requirements of your state if you wish to become a pharmacist and you will be able to get the job of your dreams.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Check your loan offer in minutes

Apply for a loan with 100+ partners with one application. It takes only 2 mins and doesn’t impact your credit score.

*checking your rate doesn’t impact your credit score

Get the Checklist