After four years of college and another four years of doctoral studies, pharmacists are required to complete one to two years of residency. Sometimes referred to as a pharmacy internship, these programs offer practical experience in the industry. As a resident, you're continuing your education, becoming familiar with patient care, medication information, drug policies and health system management. But unlike college, you're no longer expected to divide your time between studies and work. To allow you to focus on your core competencies, you're given a stipend based on your level of experience.
As of 2011, pharmacists earned an average of $112,160 a year, but lower salaries can skew this average. For this reason, median wage is often used to indicate earnings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all pharmacists made at least $113,390 a year. Neither figure, however, accounts for interns, who tend to earn much less than their licensed counterparts.
Pharmaceutical Intern Salaries
As with a traditional job, intern salaries vary based on organization. For example, Pfizer paid a stipend of $640 per week for a 10-week summer pharmacy internship in 2010. The same can also be said for Allergan, another pharmaceutical company. Pharmaceutical residencies, on the other hand, pay a bit more. At St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas, first-year pharmacy residents earn $44,814 a year, while second-year residents earn $47,760 a year. Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin pays a salary of $48,000 for their first-year residents, where as Johns Hopkins pays $46,792 a year to its first-year residents and $48,923 to second-year residents.
In addition to a salary, most internships offer other benefits — just as a standard employer might. This can include anything from health insurance and life insurance to vacation time and sick leave. You may also enter a residency with a housing stipend, as well as one for transportation costs and educational expenses. What you get in a compensation package depends on the program.
As an occupation, pharmacists are expected to experience 25 percent employment growth through 2020, according to recent reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is much faster than the 14 percent job growth projected for all U.S. occupations. The better-than-average growth rate is likely due to the aging population. As more and more people live to an advanced age, pharmaceutical professionals are needed to fill the need for administering medications. Job prospects should be good for those just leaving a pharmacy residency program.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pharmacists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Pharmacists
- Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy: Pharmaceutical Industry Internships
- Marshfield Clinic: Postgraduate Year One Pharmacy Residency
- St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital: Salary and Benefits – Pharmacy Residency
- Johns Hopkins: Pharmacy Residency Program – Benefits
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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