Career Opportunities

Many varied career options: As a pharmacist, you’ll be a licensed health care provider, trained to ensure the safe and effective use of medications, which today are increasingly complex and highly specialized.

You’ll ensure that patients benefit from the right medicines, given in the right dose and at the right time—and that the medications patients take are safe and effective. There are many considerations in the process, such as a patient’s disease, age, lifestyle, income, other prescriptions, the side effects of a medication, how a patient's genes affect which medication to choose or how much to give, and the cost of medications.

You’ll be able to apply your pharmacy expertise in many ways; for example, by:

  • Providing direct care and counseling to patients in community pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals; working on health care teams; and offering specialized care in areas such as pediatrics and infectious diseases
  • Working in drug research and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry and overseeing clinical trials and marketing
  • Teaching and conducting research in universities
  • Safeguarding public health through work in government agencies, helping to set drug policies
  • Providing population-based drug therapy management and policy in managed care organizations

Because of the important roles pharmacists play, you’ll be among the most well-regarded members of the health care team. In a December 2016 Gallup poll, 67% of those polled rated pharmacists as high or very high in honesty and ethical standards among professionals in 21 different fields, a rating second only to nurses.

Strong job prospects: The demand for pharmacists continues to be strong as more, and increasingly complex, medications appear on the market, and as a growing senior population requires more complex drug therapy.

The job opportunities for pharmacists are excellent, and salaries are high.

The mean salary range for United States pharmacists is $124,500 to $149,000, depending on title and specialization, as of spring 2017. See the Pharmacy Week survey National Results for details.

Learn more

  • Pharmacy is Right for Me: For students, parents, and educators; provides interactive tools, resources, and testimonials that give insight into the exciting and diverse career opportunities in pharmacy
  • Is Pharmacy for You?: Pharmacy education and careers, role of a pharmacist, job outlook, salary information
  • Job Outlook for Pharmacists: Supply and demand of pharmacists, salary data
  • Pharmacists: Bureau of Labor Statistics overview of pharmacy occupations, nature of work, job outlook, earnings, more
  • Public Health Online: Description of public health providers, careers in public health
  • About the Students: Backgrounds of some of UCSF’s PharmD students and why they selected pharmacy as a career