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15 Highest Paying Pharmacist Jobs (2023)

There are very few opportunities in a person’s career that allow them to make an honest living with a high level of autonomy. The profession of pharmacist is one of those rare opportunities.

Pharmacists can start their careers out as general practitioners and specialize in certain areas such as oncology, pediatrics, or cardiology. They can also become pharmaceutical sales representatives, serve as Researchers and Development Chemists for pharmaceutical companies, or work at Federal Agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Whatever role you choose to take on within the profession of pharmacy there are several steps you’ll need to take before securing your first job. This article will outline the steps you should take in pursuing a career as a pharmacist.

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Step 1 Earn at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.

This step should be fairly self-explanatory but it is important to remember that if you want to work as a pharmacist, it is required that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy.

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The academic load of this program is fairly rigorous and will require a commitment consisting of 75 units per semester which include general education courses and specific courses that are catered towards preparing students for their professional careers as pharmacists.

Upon completion of your undergraduate studies, you’ll need to complete one year of professional experience which allows you to become eligible for the state licensing exam. In addition, you’ll need to have passed the National Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam sponsored by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP).

The exam is very difficult and consists of 4 pharmacotherapy sections which include 1 advanced pharmacology section and 3 therapeutics sections. Passing any major certification test is a major step in your career as there are currently only 150 pharmacy technician positions available nationwide for registered pharmacists with this certification.

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Step 2 – Become a licensed pharmacist by obtaining licensure through the state where you will practice.

The second step you’ll need to take in your career as a pharmacist is to obtain licensure from the state where you will be working. There are currently over 45 states that allow pharmacists to practice with limited restrictions.

If you’re a resident of one of the following states you’ll have complete freedom to practice as a pharmacist: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

If you’re not a resident of any of these states(or any other state) then you will need to find an employer who will sponsor your licensure. To do this, you will need to contact the Board of Pharmacy in the state where you wish to work. The Board of Pharmacy will request that you apply, pay a licensure fee, and then take the state licensing exam.

If you have not been able to find an employer who will sponsor your licensure or even if you’re working as a non-pharmacist, like many people do, taking licensure exams can be quite difficult. Most states require that potential pharmacists go through a rigorous application process which includes letters of reference and employment verifications.

Once you submit your application, the state will review it and then schedule a written exam. This written exam is an open book exam which means that you are allowed to bring any material that will help you study for the test except a computer since the exam is paper-based.

The Board of Pharmacy in your state will have information on how often the exam is offered, what you need to study for the test, and how to register for it. Many of these exams can be quite difficult and there are very few resources available providing information on them.

You should review as many pharmacy board exams as possible and try to become familiar with their format before attempting them yourself.

Once you pass your state licensing exam you’ll need to wait until the Board of Pharmacy sends you your license. Then, before even starting to work as a pharmacist you’ll need to apply for permanent residency in the country where you want to practice.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website has a section on becoming a pharmacist and should provide an outline of what steps are necessary for integrating yourself into the local community as well as any local requirements regarding professional liability insurance.

Step 3 – Find an employer who will sponsor your licensure and permanent residency or contract your services through the Pharmacy Benefits Manager.

As mentioned previously there are several barriers to entry for becoming a pharmacist and the most significant hurdle is finding an employer who will sponsor you for licensure as well as permanent residency. The reason companies are unwilling to take on these responsibilities is because they are the majority of an individual pharmacist’s costs associated with practicing.

This includes everything from purchasing a license, paying fees for liability insurance, and complying with the information technology requirements of maintaining such a high-security position.

The Pharmacy Benefits Manager (PBM) is a new entity that is rising in popularity and has become one of the few employers who have been willing to take on those responsibilities.

They help pharmacists find employment and take care of the licensure and residency process for you. This means that a pharmacist working through a PBM can expect to earn an annual salary of $95,000 plus bonuses and additional advantages such as tuition reimbursement.

Highest Paying Pharmacist Jobs In The United States

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the highest paying pharmacist jobs that offer opportunities for individuals looking to work in this fast-paced industry. The list includes information about how much an individual can expect to make based on their position.

1. Clinical Pharmacist

The salary for clinical pharmacists can be fairly lucrative but working as a clinical pharmacist is not very common. This is because the position requires spending a great deal of time on the front lines with patients who are coming in to get their prescriptions filled.

The position also requires you to work in a hospital or pharmacy which is not always conducive to modern practices. This can make things difficult for someone who wants to have some flexibility with their job and practice part-time at a PBM while working on other projects.

The average salary for a clinical pharmacist is $143,617 per year, and this makes it one of the highest paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America.

2. Clinical Pharmacy Specialist

The clinical pharmacist specialist is a clinical pharmacist who has also specialized and become certified in one or more areas of their job. This can range from helping patients with diabetes to managing complicated medication regimens for cancer patients.

These specialists have received additional training and spent a lot more time in the hospital working as an assistant to a patient’s physician. Having this additional certification can help open up several career opportunities for these professionals, especially since they can accept an excellent salary.

3. Pediatric Pharmacist

Pediatric pharmacist is one of the best paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America. Professionals in this career specialize in helping patients who are children and teenagers. Many people think of a pediatrician as being a doctor that caters to children and teenagers and while this is true, most pediatricians also have an excellent working relationship with their local pharmacist.

This means that if you want to make a career out of helping people who are under the age of 18 then being a pediatric pharmacist can be very rewarding.

The average salary for a pediatric pharmacist in the United States of America is $128,375 per year.

4. Pharmacologist

A pharmacologist is similar to a medical doctor in that they can prescribe medications to patients. The difference between a pharmacologist and a physician is that the pharmacologist received their license through education rather than through an internship and residency program.

Most pharmaceutical companies will hire pharmacologists when they want someone who can help develop new medications to make them more effective or provide counseling for patients who may be taking too many different medications.

The average salary for a pharmacologist is $127,100 per year. It is one of the highest paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America.

5. Clinical Research Pharmacist

The clinical research pharmacist works for a major pharmaceutical company but does not usually have anything to do with dispensing medication or helping patients get the medication they need from their doctors. On the contrary, they are typically working with pharmaceutical companies to develop new medications that many people are going to need in the future.

This may include work studying how a drug affects a person’s body for a long period before testing it out on an animal or human and then using that information to see if it can be used as a medication that will help many patients.

Clinical research pharmacist is one of the best paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America. Professionals in this career earn an average salary of $115,633 per year.

6. Pharmacy Manager

The pharmacy manager oversees the operations of a pharmacy and can direct employees on what duties they should be doing. This job can be very rewarding and is a great way to get started in the medication industry without having to work in customer service or running a retail store.

Pharmacy managers are typically able to earn very high wages for their expertise. It is one of the highest paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America.

The average salary for a pharmacy manager is $142,577 per year.

7. Informatics Pharmacist

The informatics pharmacist has a background in mathematics and can understand how to use data to help make better medication decisions.

Many companies, especially PBM’s will find an informatics pharmacist when they are looking for someone to help them improve upon their systems and training to get better outcomes with their employees.

Read Also: 10 Alternative Careers for Pharmacy Technicians

The average salary for an informatics pharmacist is $118,546 per year. This makes it one of the best paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America.

8. Inpatient Pharmacist

An inpatient pharmacist is someone who specializes in working at medical centers like hospitals and rehabilitation facilities. They will need to have a great deal of experience working with patients who come in daily to borrow medication that they cannot afford because they do not have insurance coverage for prescriptions.

The job can be very rewarding but you’ll also be able to make a good salary for your work.

Inpatient pharmacist is one of the highest paying pharmacist jobs in the United States, and they earn an average salary of $122,979 per year.

9. Ambulatory Care Pharmacist

Ambulatory care pharmacist is one the best paying pharmacist jobs in the United States. Professionals in this occupation work at different medical centers but do not usually work with the patients one-on-one like an inpatient pharmacist would.

The ambulatory care pharmacist is usually responsible for making sure that the hospitals’ medications are regularly inspected and stocked.

The average salary for an ambulatory care pharmacist in the United States of America is $126,181 per year.

10. Hospital Pharmacist

A hospital pharmacist works at a medical center or hospital and helps patients with their medication needs. This job is very rewarding but also requires you to have a lot of experience working with people to be able to make proper decisions about which medications can help a patient and which ones may not be safe for them to take.

You must also know what questions to ask your patients to address their needs properly.

Hospital pharmacist is one of the best paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America and professionals in this career earn an average income of $119,790 per year.

11. Clinical Staff Pharmacist

A clinical staff pharmacist works in the same way as an ambulatory care pharmacist, but they work at a different type of medical facility.

Many hospitals will have a clinical staff pharmacist who is responsible for providing medications to patients who will be staying at the hospital for more than just overnight. The clinical staff pharmacist will also need to make sure that these patients’ medication needs are being met on an ongoing basis.

The average salary for a clinical staff pharmacist is $125,928 per year, and this makes it one of the highest paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America.

12. Retail Pharmacist

The retail pharmacist works for a major pharmacy chain and is responsible for staying up-to-date with any new drugs or medications that they may want to add to their store’s inventory.

The retail pharmacist also works with other employees who work in the pharmacy and can become a team leader if they are good at their job.

The average salary for a retail pharmacist is $119,094 per year. This makes it one of the best paying pharmacist jobs in the United States of America.

13. Nuclear Pharmacy Technicians

The nuclear pharmacy technician works with people who work with radioactive materials and dispose of them after they have been used.

This is another job that requires a great deal of training and one must make sure that they know how to use the equipment properly before heading out to their first job. Many people are hired into this position after working in the nuclear power industry.

The average salary for a nuclear pharmacy technician in the United States of America is $55,216 per year.


These are just a few of the many positions that you can work in pharmacy. If you are looking for a job that will allow you to earn a high income, then working in pharmacy may be the perfect fit for you.

There are a lot of different jobs that you can choose from when looking for work in pharmacy, but now you’re able to see the variety of options open to pharmacists who want to work at different establishments.

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