Employment Prospects


The majority of pharmacists work in retail pharmacies, which are operated by chain drugstores, supermarkets, and mass merchants. A smaller percentage of pharmacies are independently run. Pharmacists can also be employed at mail-order pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, nursing homes, and the federal government. Some pharmacists are self-employed and fill-in as "temps" at a number of different community pharmacies. There are approximately 314,300 pharmacists working in the United States.

Starting Out

Once you are ready to graduate from pharmacy school, your college or university should be one source of information about job openings. With the demand for pharmacists, it is not uncommon to have a couple job offers before graduation.

Internships also provide the opportunity to make professional contacts, and you may hear about an open position through these contacts. A number of placement services involved in the health care field work with pharmacists, placing them in the jobs they want. Once you have become licensed, you may apply directly to a community, hospital, or clinic pharmacy that interests you. Though the level of work is the same for beginning pharmacists as it is for experienced pharmacists, you may have to work long hours, evenings, and weekends until you've gained some seniority with the pharmacy.

Advancement Prospects

Community pharmacists may enjoy advancement to supervisory positions. The hospital pharmacist may advance to the position of chief pharmacist or director of pharmacy services after accumulating several years of experience.

Pharmacists who are employed by drug manufacturing firms may anticipate increases in both salary and responsibility as they gain experience and increase their value to their firms.

Tips for Entry

Visit to get more details about the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) exam.

Visit the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education's Web site,, to get more information on accredited pharmacy colleges.

Visit the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation's Web site,, to learn more about pharmacy student scholarships.

Visit the Board of Pharmacy Specialties' Web site,, to help determine if you would like to have a specialty.

Visit the Students section of the Walgreen's Web site,, to learn about internships and access resources like the Student Lounge on LinkedIn.