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Retail or Hospital Pharmacy?

Retail or Hospital Pharmacy?

By Jennifer LeClaire | Monster Contributing Writer

Regardless of setting, pharmacists have seen their earnings rise about 5.4 percent over the past year. Staff pharmacists’ median pay now stands at $98,300, according to the “2006 Pharmacy Compensation Survey — Spring Edition” from Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Retail pharmacists promoted to pharmacy managers oversee staff and piles of paperwork, such as insurance, Medicaid and workers’ compensation reimbursements. Those in hospital pharmacist careers can also rise to managerial positions.

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Salary: $67,860 - $119,480
Min. Education: Doctorate
Related Careers: Physician, Dentist

Perspective from Both Worlds

Before Aliya Smith, PharmD, landed a position at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a few years ago, she worked at a major chain drugstore. After experiencing both the retail and hospital environment, she prefers hospital pharmacy.

“I like working with other healthcare professionals,” she explains. “Hospital pharmacy is generally more clinically based work, and I feel I am using my degree and education more.”

The downside to hospital work includes inconsistent schedules and little patient interaction, Smith says. While she did enjoy the patient contact in retail, she still prefers working in a hospital.

“What I liked least about working in retail was feeling like a cashier,” she says. “The work can be very monotonous, almost like factory work. But the salary and benefits are usually better in retail, and you have more patient interaction.”

Would Smith ever consider trading her hospital scrubs for retail smocks again? For the right opportunity, perhaps. She did contemplate working in a grocery retail pharmacy, where prescription volumes are lower and opportunities to implement clinical ambulatory programs are greater. But for now, she’s content in a hospital environment.

“I enjoy working in a teaching environment, because there are always learning opportunities,” Smith says. “I think hospital pharmacy provides a better lifestyle, because it is less stressful than retail pharmacy.”

This article originally appeared on Monster Career Advice.

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