Canadian Pharmaceutical Students Guide

Average Salaries and Job Opportunities for Pharmacists

There are plenty of job opportunities for pharmacists, whether you are a new grad or have extensive industry experience. Small businesses and large companies offer competitive salaries to prospective employees while prospects depend on the number of recent graduates, current developments, and the extent of prescription drug use.

Job Opportunities across Sectors

There are different employment opportunities for pharmacists in Canada. Many work as research scientists, hospital pharmacists, and community pharmacists. Other job options include toxicologist, science writer, regulatory affairs officer, and process development scientist. Pharmacists also work as pharmacologists, higher education lecturers, and clinical research associates. Community pharmacists, for example, distribute, dispense, and control medications, monitor cholesterol and blood pressure, and prepare cassette and dosette boxes. Community pharmacists also liaise with healthcare professionals and ensure that medications and different treatment options are compatible. Hospital pharmacists also dispense medications and are mainly employed within the public sector. They are tasked with clinical trial supervision, research and development, and staff supervision. Hospital pharmacists are also responsible for quality check-ups to make sure that medications are safe and appropriate for patients. In general, pharmacists are employed across sectors, and reports show little turnover. Professionals mainly work in sales and pharmaceutical research, and many hold management and teaching positions. Many practitioners also work as retail, industrial, and clinical pharmacists as well as druggists. There are a total of 31,000 licensed practitioners currently in Canada, and about 80 percent of them are employed as community pharmacists.

Skills Required and Tuition Fees

There are certain skills to develop to work as a pharmacist, including knowledge of ethical practices and relevant legislation, ability to produce and handle scientific documentation, and knowledge of theories, principles, practices, and concepts related to the development and manufacture of medications. Most job opportunities require a university degree and the tuition fee for 2014/2015 is $11,173 on average. This means that many students are forced to apply for loans to cover tuition and board as well as school-related expenses such as books, supplies, textbooks, etc. Some students also apply for car loans to commute and thus have one more balance to pay off once they graduate . Many students also use credit cards to pay everyday and unexpected expenses.

Average Salary Based on Work Experience

Salaries depend on province or territory of residence and work experience. At the same time, the change in salary is not significant based on experience. For example, recent graduates are paid $89,000 on average while practitioners with work experience of more than 20 years usually get about $101,000 a year. Pharmacists with 5 – 10 years experience are paid $95,000 on average, and those with 10 – 20 years get about $99,000 a year. The median salary in the field is $95,000 CAD, and practitioners earn $44.91 CAD per hour on average. The overtime rate varies greatly and ranges from slightly over $12 to over $78.

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