By the year 2021, the number of pharmacy jobs is expected to drop by 3.2% from its 2016 level. This is in stark contrast to the original projection, which anticipated that the number of pharmacy jobs would rise by 14.8% from 2011 to 2016. The reasons for this phenomenon are twofold. Firstly, the job market is recovering from a recession, which means the demand for new pharmacists will not be as high as previously thought. Secondly, the profession of pharmacy is becoming less popular as an occupation for students. Increasingly, they are choosing to pursue careers as physician assistants or registered nurses.
As a pharmacist, your goal has always been to educate, advise, and work with patients to ensure that they are getting the best medication for their condition. But despite your best efforts, the job outlook for pharmacists has always been grim, and according to a new study, it may be even worse than you thought.
As you probably know, there’s an ongoing shortage of pharmacists across the country, and study after study predicts that the situation is only going to get worse. In 2015, the Pharmacists’ Foundation predicted that the U.S. would be short more than 13,000 pharmacists by 2020, and last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted the same, while also predicting that the average age of a practicing pharmacist would be 54. These days, the most common trajectory for a pharmacist is to work for 3-4 years as a pharm tech while simultaneously working towards their bachelor’s degree, and then to get hired on as a retail pharmacist, where they’ll start work in the low-
In assessing the employment outlook for pharmacists, it is important to determine the number of vacancies (demand) and the number of applicants for those positions (supply). When there are more jobs to fill and fewer people to fill them, it is easier to find a job. And as a result, pharmacists’ salaries are likely to rise. But when there are fewer jobs available for pharmacists and many pharmacists are looking for work, it takes longer to find a job.
Sales may stagnate or even decline. Let’s take a look at the training requirements for pharmacists, the current job market and the (unfortunately) bleak outlook for the future. Message: The labor market for pharmacists improved significantly during the COVID 19 pandemic compared to a few years earlier. This article reflects our view that the long-term trend in the pharmacist labour market will be challenged by the oversupply of recent graduates at the pharmacy school level.
How do you become a pharmacist?
Pharmacists have an essential role. They have to make sure that patients not only get the right medicine, but also the right dosage. They also discuss with patients the possible side effects and any existing medical conditions that may react negatively to the drug. Given this, it is not surprising that pharmacists have strict training requirements. Most pharmacy schools require applicants to have completed at least two years of post secondary education, and many schools require a bachelor’s degree. Most pharmacy schools require their students to take at least basic chemistry, biology and physics courses.
It generally takes four years to obtain the degree of Doctor of Pharmacy. However, some schools offer an accelerated three-year option. Completion of a one or two year stay is not a requirement for obtaining a permit. However, it may be required for access to certain advanced positions. After graduating or completing an internship, aspiring pharmacists must pass two licensing exams. The first is NAPLEX. The second is the Multi state Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) or another state exam. Graduates can also obtain additional certificates to demonstrate advanced knowledge or skills.
Career opportunities for pharmacists
According to data just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for pharmacists is bleak. Although average growth for all occupations is expected to be 4% over the next 10 years, employment for pharmacists is expected to decline over this period.
- The median salary for pharmacists in 2020 was $128,710.
- There were 321,700 pharmacist job openings in 2019.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% decline in pharmacist employment between 2019 and 2029.
- The number of jobs in pharmacists will decrease by 10,500 by 2029.
- More than 14,000 pharmacists graduate each year, while no new jobs are created in this sector.
Based on my conversations with industry experts, the number of pharmacists retiring is likely to be a few thousand per year. It seems that 10,000 pharmacists enter the workforce each year without knowing where to go. As already mentioned in the context of supply and demand, we can expect significant reductions in working time, lower wages and less attractive working conditions in the future.
Where can the growth of employment in pharmaceuticals come from?
The baby boomers will get older. And if this is the case, the need for recipes will increase. The problem is that automation increases productivity per pharmacist, which reduces the number of pharmacists. The greatest growth in the pharmacy profession is likely to occur in non-commercial settings such as hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care centers. In such environments, the presence of clinical pharmacists who can dispense drugs and monitor patient responses is becoming increasingly important. Some states even allow pharmacists to administer vaccines. This does not bode well for pharmacists in debt.
However, most hospitals can take advantage of the Public Service Loan Facility (PSLF), which allows pharmacists to save a lot of money on student loan repayments. That is, if you can find a job. Retail pharmacies like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target and Express Scripts still offer many of these jobs. But they face stiff competition from online pharmacies, mail order companies and specialty pharmacies. Maybe that was too soon, because now they are starting to cut pharmacy jobs. Moreover, according to the BLS, pharmacist’s assistants are increasingly taking on tasks previously carried out by pharmacists.
This includes collecting information about the patient and preparing certain types of medication. All in all, the expected growth rate means that, compared to many of the other professions we advise, I would not recommend anyone go into pharmacy for financial reasons. You must be passionate about what you do and be top of your class.
More pharmacy schools on the market to meet demand
The number of trained pharmacists has never been higher as the number of pharmacy schools has increased significantly. As of January 2021, there were 140 institutions in the United States accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). This is about 60 more than in 2000 or a 73% growth in the number of PharmD programs. More pharmacy graduates means more applicants will be admitted to the school and become doctors of pharmacy. All these new schools need to fill their classrooms with students to make money.
This means that it is easier than ever to be admitted to pharmacy school. In the past, only 32% of PharmD applicants were accepted, but today the acceptance rate has dramatically increased to over 80%. It’s no surprise that there are more pharmacy graduates than ever before. According to the American Journal of Pharmacy Education, 14,000 to 15,000 people graduate from pharmacy schools each year. Will 5% of the current 314,300 pharmacists retire each year? Not at all. There used to be a shortage of people to meet the need for pharmacists.
And then the pharmacist’s salary really started to rise. But the increase in the number of schools has led to an increase in the number of students and graduates. This could mean equal pay for pharmacists. Currently, the average salary for an entry-level pharmacist is $102,414, according to PayScale. Note that this applies to full-time pharmacists.
Actual labour market for pharmacists
It may seem that the job market for pharmacists is growing. But at Student Loan Planner®, we’ve learned this from hundreds of pharmacists. And many of them struggle to find full-time work. Pharmacists often lose out when large pharmacy chains try to cut costs by employing many part-timers instead of paying them full time. Why can they do that? This is thanks to all those people who are now getting a license and a degree in pharmacy.
Companies like Kroger have laid off pharmacists and reduced the number of hours they work per week from 40 to 32. CVS, Walgreens and Target hire part-time pharmacists more often than full-time pharmacists. Many pharmacists have told us that they have two part-time jobs because their employer does not give them enough hours. But that’s not all. Residential training is also becoming increasingly important for pharmacists. While this leads to a much better education, it does not have the best effect on wages.
This means that hospitals can pay less for newly graduated pharmacists. Hospitals can do this because the job market for pharmacists is becoming increasingly competitive. Pharmacists are looking for coveted full-time jobs in hospitals where they can work the required number of hours and still qualify for the PSLF. Hopefully the expected growth in posts for hospital pharmacists will pay off, as this is one of the best positions for a pharmacist compared to working in a pharmacy.
Career of pharmacist
We are definitely at a crossroads. What we can say with some degree of certainty is that the need for pharmacists exists and will likely continue to grow. The biggest question is what the labour market will really look like. The most important factor will be the number of new pharmacists graduating each year. The growth in the number of pharmacy schools and graduates has outpaced the growth in pharmacy employment, and the supply of new physicians in pharmacy now appears to be keeping pace with the demand for jobs. But if the increase in pharmaceutical graduates continues to outpace actual job growth, we could see pharmacy salaries stagnate and it become even more difficult to find full-time employment.
The number of applications for pharmacy training is falling rapidly
In a 2017 interview with Drug Topics, Lucinda Main, executive vice president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), said the number of applicants to pharmacy schools is declining. According to our sources, the number of applicants for the 2019-2020 cycle has decreased by 15%. In theory, this could benefit current pharmacists and their career prospects. But to solve the problem, the number of applicants would have to drop by 50% or more. This will only happen if at least half of the pharmacy schools close. If the number of applicants to pharmaceutical schools declines, some of the poorly run or overpriced pharmaceutical schools will no longer be able to fill their classrooms.
These schools will lose money and eventually close. This could cause a chain reaction. Fewer schools means fewer graduates, which will slow the influx of new pharmacists into the market. This will improve the labour market for pharmacists. But if the number of applications remains at the same level, the job prospects for the average pharmacy graduate are very bleak. Let’s hope the first scenario comes true and current pharmacists have a better outlook.
Closures of pharmacy chains have put more pharmacists out of work
The closure of small shops has become a common phenomenon. When Fred’s closed its 80 stores, it cost the industry some 80 to 160 jobs. It’s not just shops. Campus pharmacies also close (see this example at Rutgers). As a result, more pharmacists are out of work. With huge competitors fighting for survival, any inefficient institution can easily be pushed out of the market. Large employers gain additional market share and therefore have even more influence on the large number of graduates seeking employment.
One way to be competitive, of course, is to pay lower wages. As mentioned earlier, there may be some growth in the hospital sector, but it may not be enough to offset the problems in other sectors of the profession. It is clear that pharmacy schools must prepare students for jobs beyond the traditional positions that graduates typically hold.
How to address student loan repayment in a pharmacy
Insecure jobs are bad enough. But not knowing how to pay off six-figure student loans is extremely stressful. How do you decide which installment plan is best for you? As a general rule, consider refinancing if the debt is less than 1.5 times income (for example, a pharmacist earning $100,000 has $150,000 or less in loans). Make sure you can afford to pay off your loans in 10 years or less. And confirm that you do not qualify for PSLF or other options to cancel your loan. Individuals whose student loans are twice as high as their income (e.g., pharmacists who earn $100,000 and owe more than $200,000) should consider income-based repayment.
We are experts in loans for pharmacy students
We have worked with a large number of pharmacists who have an average of $213,000 in student loans to help them financially prepare for that future. Some of them did not know how to repay a loan with a part-time job. Even those who had full-time jobs didn’t know what to do. Most of them are very concerned about their student debt. If you need help finding a reliable student loan repayment plan, we’re here to help.
In addition to the potential savings, most people say they are just relieved to have a concrete plan that they understand. Knowing how to optimize your credits will also make you feel much better in the tough job market for pharmacists. We have conducted over 5,000 one-on-one counseling sessions and advised on over $1.3 billion in student loans. To share the details of your situation and find out how we can help you, click Get a Student Loan Plan below. Travis Hornsby contributed to this report. A plan for a student loan Refinance your student loan and receive a bonus in 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is pharmacy still a good career 2021?
Pharmacy is a profession that is dedicated to helping people, and it’s considered to be a very noble career. This job offers a lot of flexibility, so you can usually work in different kinds of pharmacies, including retail or hospital environments. Also, because you have to know a lot about medicine, you can feel secure knowing that you’ll never be out of a job. Now, the question is, is pharmacy still a good career? Pharmacist is one of the professions that is affected by the shortage of medical practitioners in the United States. In addition, the demand for the services of the pharmacy experts is getting higher day by day.
Are pharmacist jobs declining?
Some argue that extensive training requirements and the declining number of pharmacists needed to fill positions in hospitals and retail pharmacies will result in pharmacist unemployment. Around the world, governments are considering ways to increase the number of pharmacists to fill positions in the pharmaceutical industries. For example, in Australia, there are plans to create more training programs to provide opportunities to be a pharmacist. Pharmacists are licensed professionals who can work in a variety of settings, including community pharmacies, hospitals, and physicians’ offices.
The pharmacy profession is expected to grow, in large part because of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded health care access to millions more Americans. The ACA also sets forth a number of reforms affecting the pharmacy profession, including changes to the prescription drug benefit. A key provision requires pharmacists to offer prescribes and patients a printed summary of the patient’s drug benefits. This provision is expected to boost demand for pharmacists.
Will pharmacist be in demand in future?
The demand for pharmacists may be worse than you think. In 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that the demand for pharmacists would increase by 20% (much faster than the average for all careers), which would mean a growth rate of about 3.5%. However, a demand-side report by PwC published in 2018 shows that the growth rate of pharmacists in the U.S. will be negative between 2017 and 2020. Pharmacists are an important part of our healthcare system.
As generalists trained to provide services to every patient, they manage a wide range of conditions in the hospital and in the community. Pharmacists also serve as a valuable resource for patients with complex medical conditions, including those with multiple chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease. However, the overall demand for pharmacists is declining since the health care industry is experiencing a shakeup.