Clinical pharmacists specialize in recommending medications that will be used as a part of a patient’s treatment plan. These healthcare professionals can also adjust dosages and recommend different prescriptions for a patient. Learn more about this profession and how much clinical pharmacists typically earn.
Clinical pharmacists play an important role in establishing treatment plans for patients. These healthcare professionals are responsible for determining the best medications in function of a patient’s symptoms and sometimes work in research settings to develop new treatments. Here is what you need to know about this career option and salary.
What Is The Average Salary Of A Clinical Pharmacist?
The average clinical pharmacist salary is $145,000 a year. The lowest reported salaries for this profession are around $128,000 a year, and the highest-paid clinical pharmacists earn around $169,000 a year.
A clinical pharmacist who works as a department manager would earn between $168,000 and $169,000 a year, while a staff pharmacist in a clinical setting would earn around $148,000.
Other sources list the average salary for this profession as $116,000 a year. You can expect to earn between $50 and $70 an hour once you become an accredited clinical pharmacist.
Salaries By States And Employers
The average clinical pharmacist salary varies from one state to another. The salary will also vary from one employer to another. A majority of clinical pharmacists also earn benefits that vary from one employer to another.
Here are a few examples of what clinical pharmacists earn in different states:
- The average clinical pharmacist salary is $126,000 in California.
- The average salary in Colorado is $112,000 a year.
- Clinical pharmacists earn slightly less in Florida and Indiana with an average salary of $108,000 a year.
- The average salary is lower in Tennessee with $104,000 a year.
- However, clinical pharmacists earn more in New York with an average yearly salary of $120,000.
Salaries and benefits vary depending on which employer a clinical pharmacist works for. The average salary for a pharmacist who works for United Health Group is $115,000 a year.
Clinical pharmacists who work at Cigna earn the same average salary, but those who work at Humana tend to earn more with an average salary of $123,000.
It’s also important to remember that salaries can vary based on experience. It’s normal for a clinical pharmacist to earn a salary that is below $100,000 when they obtain their first position at a hospital or clinic and to earn more as they gain more experience.
What Does A Clinical Pharmacist Do?
A clinical pharmacist belongs to a network of healthcare professionals and plays a crucial role in creating a treatment plan that is adapted to the needs of each patient.
The role of a clinical pharmacist is to decide on the medications that should be a part of a patient’s treatment plan. The clinical pharmacist also assesses whether or not prescriptions are still adapted and make changes to a patient’s treatment plan as needed.
Clinical pharmacists sometimes identify health problems and work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to determine what a patient’s treatment options are. Their role also includes educating and advising patients regarding taking medications.
Where Do Clinical Pharmacists Work?
Clinical pharmacists can work in a wide range of settings. Many of these professionals work in hospitals and clinics. Some work in community health centers and similar settings.
It’s also possible to find clinical pharmacists in some emergency rooms and physicians’ offices. Some work in nursing homes, or for government agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Some clinical pharmacists work for companies that specialize in developing new treatments. They play a crucial role in developing new treatments, recording findings, assessing how well a treatment works, and in creating guidelines for new prescription medications.
There is a high demand for clinical pharmacists and employment should grow by 25 percent for this profession by 2020. There are several areas in which a clinical pharmacist can specialize. There is a high demand for professionals who have obtained additional certifications and who can work in specialized healthcare settings.
How Is Working As A Clinical Pharmacist Different From Being A Pharmacist?
A clinical pharmacist works in a different setting and has a different role. A pharmacist who works in a retail pharmacy typically fills prescriptions and plays an important role in educating patients about medications.
Clinical pharmacists often become a part of a patient’s healthcare network and help a patient navigate their treatment plan on the long-term.
A pharmacist who works in a retail environment would also answer questions and recommend some over-the-counter treatments. Their responsibilities also often include properly billing prescriptions to insurance companies.
On the other hand, a clinical pharmacist is part of a team of healthcare experts and is expected to make decisions and recommendations regarding patients’ treatment plans. They also play a part in assessing symptoms and health conditions and in monitoring how these conditions develop.
A clinical pharmacist is also responsible for educating patients and advising them on following their treatment plan.
Some clinical pharmacists work in research settings. Their role is very different since these professionals are responsible for supervising drug trials. These pharmacists study the results of new treatments and recommend optimal dosages besides developing guidelines for these new treatments.
There are some differences in salaries between a retail pharmacist and a clinical pharmacist. A pharmacist who works in a retail setting typically earns between $120,000 and $130,000 a year.
The median income of a retail pharmacist is $122,000 a year, and some sources range the salaries of these professionals as ranging between $87,000 and $157,000 a year.
It is also possible to work in a retail pharmacy as a pharmacy technician. These positions require less education and technicians typically don’t have responsibilities other than filling out prescriptions. A pharmacy technician earns an average salary of $31,000 a year.
How To Become A Clinical Pharmacist
Clinical pharmacists need to obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree or Pharm.D and complete a residency or fellowship in a healthcare setting.
College students can earn a Pharm.D degree by enrolling in a specialized program offered by a School of Pharmacy. Students need to complete a Bachelor’s degree before enrolling in a Pharm.D program.
The admission requirements vary from one School of Pharmacy to another. Students can obtain a Bachelor’s degree in different medical or scientific fields and be accepted into a Pharm.D program. It is usually helpful to complete courses in fields such as biochemistry, biology, chemistry, and human anatomy.
Students need to pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test to be accepted into a Pharm.D program. Each School of Pharmacy has different admission requirements for passing scores. Students can apply to different Schools of Pharmacy and see which one they can get into once they receive their scores.
The Pharmacy College Admission Test covers subjects such as writing, biology, chemistry, critical reading skills, and quantitative reasoning. Some schools offer a Pharm.D program that can be completed in two years while others offer four-year degrees.
Once students have completed the coursework for a Pharm.D program, they can start looking for a residency or fellowship in a hospital or clinical setting. These residency programs usually last for a year and help students gain experience in their field.
Graduates can then work for two years in a healthcare setting to gain more experience, typically under the supervision of a clinical pharmacist. Once they have gained this experience, they can obtain a license to practice as a clinical pharmacist.
Pharmacists are required to take the North American Pharmacists Licensure Examination. The purpose of this exam is to determine if they have sufficient knowledge and experience to work as a clinical pharmacist.
There are additional continuing education requirements that clinical pharmacists have to meet throughout their career to keep their license in good standing. They need to keep up with new prescriptions and guidelines. Most clinical pharmacists are actively involved with professional organizations to keep up with the latest treatments and guidelines.
Can Clinical Pharmacists Specialize In Different Fields?
Clinical pharmacists can obtain additional certifications if they wish to work in specific environments. They should also look into completing their residency and gaining experience in the specific field they are interested in before graduating from a Pharm.D program.
Obtaining additional certifications means completing more coursework. You might also have to complete an additional residency program after meeting the initial one-year residency requirement to graduate from a Pharm.D program.
However, it is possible to earn more by obtaining an additional certification. For instance, a critical care pharmacist earns an average salary of $116,000 a year.
You can also obtain an oncology pharmacist certification and earn an average salary of $119,000 a year. A clinical pharmacist who specializes in treating mental health issues can earn between $90,000 and $150,000 a year.
A nutrition support certification is another specialization option you should consider. These specialized pharmacists can earn an average salary of $132,000 a year.
Clinical pharmacists have to complete between six and eight years of college between their Bachelor’s and Pharm.D program. They also have to work for at least three years before becoming licensed and might need to complete additional coursework and residency programs to become specialized. However, this is a field with a high average salary and a high demand for qualified professionals.