Salary Guide: The Best and Worst Salaries for U.S. Pharmacists

Pharmacist_gorodenkoff/getty images

Courtesy of gorodenkoff/Getty Images

Working as a doctor or a pharmacist is one of the most rewarding jobs out there. Since the medical field involves helping patients who need immediate care, doctors and pharmacists have gained immense respect worldwide. 

Even in the ongoing pandemic, doctors and healthcare professionals remain at the forefront to help people in need, showing both courage and determination to put others’ needs before their own. Medical staff nationwide have consistently proven their devotion to their profession and ensured the country's citizens that they are in safe hands.  

Since the medical field includes some of the most rewarding and exhausting jobs, the return is more significant than other occupations. Doctors and pharmacists often earn a decent salary that is sufficient to cater to their needs. 

However, this is not always the case. People often believe that since people in the medical field perform such a vital job, they receive handsome salaries universally. But pay for those in the medical field can vary widely, even in the United States. Before we move to what causes variations in pay, let us take a look at how to calculate the cost of living. 

What Does “Cost of Living” Mean? 

The cost of living increases every day. When calculating the cost of living, extravagant expenses, including trips to favorite destinations or throwing lavish parties, are not included. The factors used for the calculation include only the things necessary to fulfill basic needs. The cost of living varies greatly based on geographic location. 

Even in the United States, living costs vary in different states. For example, people living in New York City will find their area more expensive than those living in Nebraska. A large house with a swimming pool may cost the same in a rural area as a studio apartment in a metropolitan city.  

Determining the cheapest state for living is complex. It includes several factors such as accommodation costs, groceries, utilities, healthcare, transportation and more. Cost of living is one of the most important factors to consider when looking at salaries across the country. 

Cost of living is most often measured using a point system in which 100 is the average. If the score is above 100, the cost of living is more expensive than the national average, and if it is below 100, the cost of living is less expensive. 

Which State Pays Pharmacists the Most? 

As a whole, the United States pays its pharmacists more than most countries worldwide. The U.S. frequently tops the charts compared to the salary packages of pharmacists around the globe. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the national average income of pharmacists in the U.S. is $123,670. According to the Bureau, not many pharmacists quit their jobs and turnover is low, even amidst the pandemic. The primary reason behind so many pharmacists staying in their positions at work is the salary offered. 

The state where pharmacists earn the highest salaries is Mississippi, followed by Missouri and Texas. Even though Mississippi is one of the highest paying states for pharmacists, the cost of living in Mississippi is one of the lowest. The average cost to buy a house in this state is about $141,900, compared to the national average of 291,700. This makes it the cheapest state in the United States.  

Many might think that New York and Washington DC, being two of the biggest and busiest places in the U.S., would pay the most. But these cities were not even included in the top four cities in the U.S. that pay pharmacists the highest salaries.  

PayScale reports reveal that salaries vary based on the geographical location and experience of each individual. Without any doubt, it is acceptable to consider experience when it comes to salary packages, and only considering geographical locations to set a salary package for pharmacists does not do justice to the occupation. 

Which State Pays Pharmacists the Least? 

According to a report published by Forbes, North Dakota is the state in which the average salary for pharmacists is the lowest. At $103,250 a year, this salary falls about $20,000 short of the national average.  

Following North Dakota, Montana and Oklahoma are second and third on the list of the states with the lowest pay for pharmacists. Still, at around $112,000 and $115,000 a year, respectively, both states still offer about $10,000 more annually than North Dakota.  

It’s important to note that while these salaries are low for this profession, they are still high when considering the average pay across all professionals in the United States. A Glassdoor report revealed that physicians and pharmacists are amongst the highest paying occupations in the country, with a median base salary of more than $123,670. 

The Bottom Line 

There are different ways to determine the cost of living for pharmacists in the US. These methods and factors help them decide the right place to live. Although pharmacists earn decent salaries, they must consider several factors when looking for a state to settle with the rising inflation.  

Of course, the decision about where to live isn't based solely on salary or cost of living. Pharmacists must weigh the costs and benefits of moving versus staying where they are, and all of these statistics are subject to change at any time. So, while it's important to be aware of salary and cost of living rates, rest assured that if your state falls lower on the list, you're still making a great salary compared to the rest of the country's workforce. 

Back to news