Air Force Vs Navy Pharmacist

Are you confused about whether you should become an air force pharmacist or a navy pharmacist? Pharmacists are healthcare professionals responsible for dispensing and reviewing medications. Pharmacists are of different types – retail pharmacists, hospital pharmacists, ambulatory care pharmacists, consulting pharmacists, compounding pharmacists, air force pharmacists, navy pharmacists, and more.

Depending on the type of pharmacy you work in, your duties, responsibilities, salary, etc., factors would differ slightly. Depending on your interest, you need to choose the right pharmacy type to work in. In this post, we will talk about the air force and navy pharmacy. This comparison post will give you an idea about whether you should become an air force pharmacist or navy pharmacist.

Air Force Pharmacist

Working as an air force pharmacist can be rewarding. As we know, pharmacists are responsible for dispensing and reviewing medications. As an air force pharmacist, your primary duties would be the same. There will be variations in additional duties and responsibilities.

Before choosing air force pharmacy as a career, it is essential that you have a proper idea about education requirements, qualifications, duties, responsibilities, etc.

Education requirements & qualifications

The first qualification to become an air force pharmacist is education. In order to become an air force pharmacist, you need to have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Or, you need to have a bachelor of pharmacy from an accredited institution with the completion of an accredited residency, fellowship, or other experience.

Talking about other qualifications, licensure is another crucial thing you need to keep in mind. To become an Air Force pharmacist, you must have valid pharmacist licensure. You also need to note that the age requirements include age between 18 and 41 years old. You also need to have a minimum of 2 years of experience in pharmacy practice assignments. Also, you need to have a normal color vision, and you need to obtain the license issued by the board of pharmacy within 12 months. To become eligible for an air force pharmacist job position, you will need to go through training as well. You will need to complete a 5.5 week commissioned officer training course.

Duties & responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of air force pharmacy technicians can be performed by air force pharmacists. That’s because pharmacists have more authority as compared to pharmacy technicians.

The primary responsibility of pharmacists revolves around dispensing prescriptions and ensuring the medication dosages are correct, and patients are getting them in the right order. Your another duty as an air force pharmacist will be to counsel patients. As a pharmacist, you need to ensure patients’ safety. You need to advise your patients regarding the correct use of medication.


Depending on the job position, benefits differ. Some benefits you can expect after becoming an air force pharmacist are insurance, housing, allowance, vacation, recreation, food, and retirement.


The salary of air force pharmacists differs based on various factors. It varies depending on the experience, skills, education, etc. The average annual salary of air force pharmacists is around $94,000 in the United States. It typically ranges from $69,545 to $134,020.

Navy Pharmacist

The duties and responsibilities of navy pharmacists are quite similar to air force pharmacists. The same goes for educational requirements. Navy pharmacists work in military hospitals and clinics. Let’s take a look at the duties, responsibilities, education requirements, salary, etc., of navy pharmacists.

Education requirements & qualifications

Just like air force pharmacy, completing the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) education is essential to become a navy pharmacist as well. You will need to complete a Doctor of Pharmacy from an accredited institution. After completing graduation, you need to attend the Officer Development School (ODS). ODS is the five weeks program that includes detailed learnings on the responsibilities of Navy staff corp officers.

Duties & responsibilities

As a navy pharmacist, your duties and responsibilities will include unit dose distributions, providing drug information services, quality controls, drug-use evaluations, interventions, patient counseling, administrative tasks, managing staff, etc. Among these job duties, the primary responsibilities will be dispensing prescriptions and ensuring patients’ safety. You can ensure your patients’ safety by communicating and counseling with them.


Depending on the job position, benefits differ. Some benefits you can expect after becoming a navy pharmacist are insurance, housing, allowance, vacation, recreation, food, and retirement.


Your salary as a navy pharmacist will vary depending on the factors like skills, experience, education, etc. The average annual salary of Navy pharmacists is around $109,000 in the United States. It usually ranges from $84,107 to $152,710.

Navy OR Air Force Pharmacist?

We didn’t want you to only take our word for it on this matter we put out the facts and now it is time to get the opinions of other professionals. We scoured the internet to get responses from other Pharmacists on what the differences are between being a Navy or Air Force Pharmacist among other things with serving as a Pharmacist. This information was curated so nothing has been changed except any spelling or grammar where needed.

Real Pharmacists

1. Rielaxegui “Air Force” – I am about to sign with the air force and my recruiter says that I will get 40k for tuition repayment, 30k signing bonus, 900-2000 a month for housing depending where i live, 300/month food allowance, 3660/month base pay and 15k/year to be a licensed pharmacist. For a 6 year commitment.
The total is 73k-86k/year +40k tuition+ 30K bonus. Is this correct? With these numbers I know it is still a pay cut compared to being a civilian pharmacist but I think it is still acceptable. I just dont want to get different numbers after I get commissioned.

2. Jbupprepharm “Air Force” – The numbers I’ve seen are 3660 a month as base pay, plus housing and food. A 6 year commitment gets you 40K/30K (both taxed). Additional loan repayment installments add 2 years a piece to your commitment. And yeah 15 K a year for being a pharmacist essentially. That sounds about right.

3. Theunderminer “Negatives of Air Force” – Some “negative” aspects may be:
-having to move from base to base every couple of years (3-5)
-having not much say in where you may be going
-deploying for however long it is
-pt tests
-you may wind up doing things nowhere related to pharmacy as your rank up (Lt Col and above especially)

These are all part of the military life, and are not really negatives, but is usually seen as such. You’re not just going to be a pharmacist, you’re going to be an Air Force officer and a pharmacist.

I’ve spoken to someone who has been in for about 15 years, and he likes it.

4. AboveLiquidice “All have positives” – These programs are definitely evolving with the times. When I began looking at loan repayment (3 yrs ago), neither the AF nor the Navy offered any (Loan repayment). Today, all three offer it, but they vary.

AF – See above.
Navy – 120k for 3yrs LRP
Army – 120k for 3yrs LRP

All of the programs are subject to availability (I believe one of the programs is already out of money).

There are other programs out there that my be combined with loan repayment. These include accession bonuses (30k for signing up), residency, and additional years of loan repayment.

EDIT: Corrected for number of ADSO years…

Final Thoughts

After considering various factors like duties, responsibilities, salary, etc., you need to determine whether you want to become an air force pharmacist or a navy pharmacist. From the above comparison, you can see that the duties and responsibilities of air force pharmacists and navy pharmacists are very similar.

However, the certification, training, and experience requirements of both job positions are quite different. Talking about salary, navy pharmacists usually make more money as compared to air force pharmacists.


Danielle Winner

Hello my name is Danielle Winner. Welcome to my site on Pharmacy School and tips and tricks to hopefully help you get in. It's not easy but hopefully you can learn to not make mistakes that students (myself included) make. Good luck on your journey. I graduated from Albany School of Pharmacy in May 2010 and have had a few different jobs across the east coast of the U.S.

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