The average salary of a pharmacist was $125,510 as of May 2019, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pharmacists make roughly $60 an hour,
Average pharmacist salaries don't vary greatly, whether you work at a nonprofit hospital or a chain drugstore, like CVS or Walgreens. But earning a six-figure pharmacy salary doesn’t come cheap; pharmacy school graduates face high student debt balances.
» MORE: Best pharmacy school loans
How much does a pharmacist make?
How much you'll make as a pharmacist depends on where you work, but salaries don't differ much by setting. Here's the average pharmacist salary by industry based on the latest BLS data:
Average Pharmacist Hourly Salary
Average Pharmacist Annual Salary
Health and Personal Care Stores
General Medicine and Surgical Hospitals
Food and Beverage Stores
General Merchandise Stores
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
Most pharmacists work at health and personal care stores, which include chain pharmacies and drugstores
If you opt to do a one-year or two-year post-graduate residency, you'll make far less during that time. The average salary for pharmacy residents is around $42,500 annually, according to the job site PayScale.
Paying off student debt on a pharmacist’s salary
The average pharmacist student loan debt among 2020 pharmacy school graduates with student debt was $179,514 — more than the annual salary for a typical pharmacist.
Depending on your career plan and financial situation, consider these options for pharmacy school loan repayment:
If your income is too low to afford monthly payments: Whether you’re doing a pharmacy residency or earning less than you’d like in your full-time job, an income-driven repayment plan can help make monthly federal student loan payments more manageable. These plans cap monthly payments at 10% to 20% of your income and offer taxable loan forgiveness after you make payments for 20 or 25 years, depending on the plan.
If you’re working for the government or a nonprofit: You may be eligible for the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which offers tax-free loan forgiveness after you make 10 years’ worth of student loan payments while working for a qualifying employer. To maximize forgiveness, make qualifying payments on an income-driven plan.
If you have good credit and are aggressively paying down student debt: Student loan refinancing through a private lender may save you money and help you get out of debt faster. To qualify for a lower rate, you need a credit score at least in the high 600s and a relatively low debt-to-income ratio — 50% or less — indicating that you have enough income to afford loan payments. When you refinance student loans, you lose access to federal programs including income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.