I received an email last week that went something like this:TEXT HERE

“I’m concerned about going to pharmacy school because everyone is saying there are no jobs for pharmacists. It seems like the unemployment rate will continue to increase and I’m ”

Let’s chat a bit about the pharmacist unemployment rate.

There are plenty of job opportunities for pharmacists. A first job may not be a new grad’s dream job (or ideal job), but that’s typical.


Pharmacist Unemployment Rate

Sadly there is no “official” report on pharmacist unemployment. What few reports there are, do not accurately report their “sources”.


American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education – The Pharmacist Aggregate Demand Index to Explain Changing Pharmacist Demand Over a Ten-Year Period

Unemployment Rate: range 3.9% to 10.1% (December 2010)

This study used an “inverse” relationship in comparison to the aggregate demand index. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, it’s okay, it didn’t make sense to me either.

Unfortunately, this information is old, but it doesn’t paint a pretty picture.


U.S. News – Finance

Unemployment Rate: 2.3 % (2015)

Possibly the most trust worthy resource I found, in my opinion. However, they do not report their resource.



Unemployment Rate: 3.2 % (2012)

They also reported a median Salary of $116,670, which matches my pharmacist salary report.


Houston Chronicle

Unemployment Rate: 5.5 % (May 2010)

This is an outdated report. It also is not clear where exactly where they found the stat.

What about individual pharmacy school reports?

Sometimes pharmacy schools will report their employment rate. It may be higher than these numbers; 5% is not unusual.

However, these numbers are misleading.

Here’s why…

These surveys ask students around 4-6 months (sometimes 12 months) after graduation if they received a job.

Who’s to say that all of these students are looking?

A wise tactic that a few of my fellow alumni choose was to wait 5 months after graduation. His reasoning? If you wait after graduation, it may be that you can be paid more.

Employers aren’t stupid. They offer less money to new graduates because of the plethora of candidates. Employers are more likely to pay more for a candidate after graduation season  because there will be less candidates.


Should unemployment rates scare you? 

I think there are two responses for two different people.

If this describes you: dislikes most of your previous jobs, avoid speaking with people, over-complain about small problems, no desire to improve on your ability… THEN

Yes, you should be scared at this (possibly) growing number of unemployment.

If this describes you: enjoys learning new things, despite problems you try to create a solution that fits everyone, love speaking with regular customers, enjoy your coworkers… THEN

No, you are “recession” proof in my opinion. If you are this type of person, then even if you lose your job I have no doubts you will find another.



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