Pharmacist Hourly Vs Salary (Which Is Better?)

Are you planning to become a pharmacist? If yes, there are various things you need to keep in mind. It includes things like duties, responsibilities, education requirements, other qualifications, salary structure, etc. Knowing all these would provide you an idea of whether the pharmacy career field is for you or not.

Pharmacists are healthcare professionals responsible for dispensing medications and reviewing the dispensed medications. Apart from this, the pharmacist is responsible for many other tasks. He/she is responsible for ensuring patients’ safety, managing staff, performing administrative tasks, and more.

There are different types of pharmacies. It includes a retail pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, ambulatory care pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, consulting pharmacy, and more. Depending on the pharmacy type you are into, your duties, responsibilities, salary, etc., will vary.

Is pharmacist hard to study?

People often think that becoming a pharmacist is stressful. But is this really the truth? Becoming a pharmacist can be stressful when you have not prepared a plan and you do not have a track of what you are doing.

Pharmacy school is difficult, and you are required to put a lot of effort into becoming a pharmacist. You will need to be disciplined and dedicated to the study. If you hate staying up late nights studying, taking notes in lectures, reviewing notes regularly, etc., then studying and becoming a pharmacist will become quite tough for you.

The answer to whether the pharmacy is hard to study or not will differ from student to student. Every student is different. For some students, dedicating enough time to study and maintaining discipline is normal, while for many students, this can be quite difficult.

Are pharmacists paid hourly or salary?

Before becoming a pharmacist, it is good to know whether you will be paid hourly or salary. The answer to this question is based on where you work. As we have seen, there are different types of pharmacies – retail pharmacy, ambulatory care pharmacy, compounding pharmacy, mail order pharmacy, etc. The payout will vary depending on the type of pharmacy you work in.

If you work in a retail pharmacy, you will be considered a salaried employee. Hence, you will be paid on a salary basis. Let’s say, if you work in mail order pharmacy, you will be paid hourly.

Is getting paid hourly better than salary?

Whether you work on hourly job or work as a salaried employee, both have their own pros and cons. In many job positions, getting paid hourly can make you more money than you would in a salary job. In the case of pharmacy, we have seen that the payout factor will vary depending on the type of pharmacy you choose.

Getting paid hourly is better than salary when you work a lot of overtime. When you work on an hourly basis, you will be getting paid for your overtime.

Pharmacist Hourly Vs Salary

So you are confused whether you should be a salaried employee or work hourly basis as a pharmacist, right? Well, working as a salaried pharmacist and hourly both have their own pros and cons. Working as a salaried pharmacist allows you to get a full paycheck. Apart from this, it also provides you benefits like insurance, bonus, 401k, stock, etc. For many people, these benefits are essential. If you are one of those people, you can go ahead working as a salaried pharmacist. The con is you don’t get paid for overtime.

Talking about working based on hourly rates, you get paid for overtime. You earn money based on how many hours you work. Talking about cons, by working on an hourly basis, you will have immense pressure to get all the work done. You will be expected to work faster. Apart from this, working on an hourly basis will not provide benefits like insurance, bonus, 401k, etc.

Pharmacist hourly

As we have seen, working on an hourly basis will let you earn money when working overtime. Hourly pay of pharmacists varies depending on different factors like education, skills, certification, experience, etc. The average hourly wage for pharmacists in the United States is $66. Depending on the company you select and other factors, it can range somewhere between $63 and $71.

Pharmacist Salary

Though working on a salary basis will not let you earn money for overtime. The main advantage is benefits like insurance, bonus, 401k, stock, etc. The salary of pharmacists varies depending on the factors like certification, education, skills, experience, etc. The average pharmacist salary in the United States is $138,176 a year. It typically ranges between $130,195 and $147,173 per year.

Hourly VS Salary Opinions Of Real Pharmacists

We didn’t want you to only take our word for it on this matter since it will make a big difference in your life. So we scoured the internet for real Pharmacists opinions. This information was curated from forums, websites and sub reddits.

Real Pharmacists

1. TrailerPark – 7+ year Pharmacist (HOURLY): “You want hourly pay so you get time and a half for over 40 hours a week, but if your in a saturated market then maybe salary would be better for you if it can guarantee you 72 or 80 hours per pay period. I want hourly because in my district there have been shortages and I’ve been paid a lot to pick up overtime.”

2. GenericRPH2012 – 7+ year Pharmacist (SALARY): “I’m salary in a hospital setting and it works out well. There is flexibility with coming in late and leaving early. It’s not a bad deal but I’m able to keep my hours pretty close to 40 average per week.”

3. MustangSally – 10+ year Pharmacist (SALARY): “Salary is good if you work in a position where you have more flexibility with your hours and a boss who actually lets you leave early or go to a dentist appointment without freaking out about it. I think this is pretty rare to find, but it is my situation.

Also you really need a position where you can stick to forty hours a week, otherwise you are getting ripped off.

Biggest con for me is I never get overtime or a holiday differential, pay is always the same.”

4. PanaSoniku – 7+ year Pharmacist (SALARY): “When I used to be RXM at a major retailer, I was salaried for 84 hours over a pay period. The 4 extra hours were “office hours” to either clean up, inventory, manage staff, etc. If you are efficient you will rarely stay the extra 4 hours per pay period and you still get the $$$. For example, I would schedule myself 9-5 and my partner 3-9. If the day goes well and I work hard, I would try to leave around 4 ;).

Hourly is great but if you have stuff you need to get done outside of regular day duties you’ll have to fit it in somehow. If you go into OT your supervisor will be breathing fire down your back…”

5. Dred Pirate – 7+ year Pharmacist (BOTH): “pro’s of salary?
You have an appointment – you can leave work and not be docked pay. You are all caught up and a slow day? You leave early. You get sick 3 hours into your shift, you go home, you don’t get docked pay. Obviously these only apply to hospital vs retail.

con’s – you stay late – you don’t get paid. You come in early, you don’t get paid.

We are a hybird – we are salary-but if we pick up an extra shift or stay late when somebody calls out – we get paid, just not time and a half”

6. PrezDispenser – 10+ year Pharmacist (SALARY PAID HOURLY): “In retail, salaried mostly means that they are guaranteed to schedule you a certain number of hours every week, e.g. 40 hours, but 32 hrs is also common these days.

Even a floater can be salaried, so if there ends up being no sick/vacation shifts needing coverage, they may just put you as mid-shift or double coverage somewhere to make up your guaranteed hours.

If you pick up extra shifts you will still get paid, usually your same hourly rate +$3-10/hr extra. The law only requires time and a half overtime pay for hourly workers.

Usually you don’t punch in and out because you will be paid according to your schedule. If you stay before or after your scheduled shift you will not get paid. But because in retail, the work closely corresponds to the opening hours of the pharmacy, the company would be opening themselves to lawsuits if they made you do tons of work outside of opening hours and not on your paid schedule. So, sometimes you are scheduled and paid a few minutes to open and close the pharmacy.

If you have overlap with another pharmacist, you may be able to leave early. Or if you are a staff pharmacist in one store, you can work out to flex or make up time with your partner.

If you get sick and need to leave halfway through your shift, you will still get paid for your whole shift.”

7. Farmdiazepine – 7+ year Pharmacist (HOURLY): “These terms are used so poorly nowadays with pharmacists and pay. Salary should mean being paid a set amount of money per year, regardless of hours worked. There is usually no punch in time, punch out time, or days per week required to work. How many pharmacists are salaried? Not too many. Those who are actually may be clinical positions, drug companies, but not your typical retail or staff hospital pharmacist, and if so, they are getting the worse part of the deal.

Hourly pay is most common for retail pharmacists and staff hospital pharmacists. The advantages are time and a half or some sort of premium pay of hours over 40 or hours over base, and how much you work is how much you get paid. You don’t work alot, you won’t get paid alot. You work alot, you get paid alot.

There is no advantage for retail pharmacists to be paid salary. Why would you work 60 hours in a week, only to be paid for 40? And you don’t have any option to work 30 hours in a week or close your store early or come in late. It boggles my mind, and makes no sense.”

8.  GameclickPHarmD – 7+ year Pharmacist (BOTH): “You can be classified as salaried and still get paid for extra shifts. The problem is when you have to go into work on your days off to prepare for audits. Or they force you to go to meetings on your day off, or tell you to come into work early for conference calls before the start of business. Or they make you come in early for inventory, or to test a system upgrade. Or to come in at 10 PM so you can make sure they floor cleaning people don’t steal drugs from the pharmacy, and not leave until 2 AM when they’re done. And these things happen quite often and you will not get paid for it. And then they want to write you up for not doing 5 flu shots a day when you’re the only pharmacist for 12 hours and filling 400 prescriptions. And they have conference calls during your so-called lunch break at 2 PM, but you don’t get a lunch break anyway because you’re too overworked and you’ll fall too far behind as they drastically cut back your tech hours. Rite Aid is a joke. That company encompasses everything that is wrong with retail pharmacy. Especially the 15 minute guarantee. I plan on filing a complaint with my state board of pharmacy as soon as I can get the hell out of there. They are putting the public in danger.”

Final Thoughts

Becoming a pharmacist is quite challenging. You need to go through years of education, obtain licensure, gain experience, and more. If you are considering pharmacy as a career option, it is crucial you have a clear idea about duties, responsibilities, salary, qualifications, etc. factors. When it comes to payout, you have two options – hourly and salary. Here we have talked about both so that you can figure out whether to work as a salaried pharmacist or on an hourly basis.

There is also a 3rd option that is involved with Retail and that is considered a hybrid to be Salaried, but paid Hourly. So you get your base pay and hours you signed up for and anything over that you get paid hourly. How does this benefit you? Well if you get to leave early or actually get a lunch it is paid. Then if you need to pickup a shift you also get paid for your time there as well. How does it benefit the employer? They don’t have to pay you overtime and usually won’t as a retailer so you just get straight pay.

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.

Recent Posts