Salary survey results follow trends

Hospital and health system pharmacist salaries revealed in Drug Formulary Review's 2007 salary survey are following industry trends. "The salary numbers look about right, given that pharmacy salaries tend to start high and then flatten," says Barry Browne, PharmD, Coordinator of Drug Information Services at Scott & White Hospital, Georgetown, TX. "All else looks reasonable as well, and what I would have expected."

The most significant concern with the survey results is the small number of responses from which to draw conclusions. "The survey in general is fine. I just think the numbers are small," says Nadine Balady, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Services at High Desert Hospital, Los Angeles County, CA. "The survey needs to have a more widespread distribution."

Some 75% of respondents hold the title of director of pharmacy, while 6.25% of responses were from clinical pharmacist/coordinators, and 18.75% had other titles. There was a wide distribution among respondents in terms of the highest academic degree held. Thus, 28.57% held an MS, 21.43% an MBA, 14.29% a PharmD, and 35.71% other degrees.

There was an even split among respondents between men and women. Most were between 51 and 55 years old (42.86%), while 35.71% were between 56 and 60. Only 7.14% of respondents were between 31 and 35, between 36 and 40, or between 61 and 65.

The vast majority of respondents earn more than $100,000 per year from their pharmacy position (see chart, below). Thus, 62.5% reported pay between $100,000 and $129,999 and 31.25% said their pay was $130,000 or more. Only 6.25% reported a gross salary between $50,000 and $59,999. The pay levels seem consistent with the age and job titles of the respondents.

Slightly more than half of the facilities responding (53.85%) are located in the suburbs, with 15.38% each in urban areas, medium-sized cities, and rural areas (see chart, below).

As noted by Browne, pharmacist salaries tend to flatten, and that is seen in the response. Some 60% of respondents reported a salary increase of 1-3% in the last year (see chart, below). There was no change in salary for 20% of respondents, while 13.33% received a 4-6% increase and 6.67% received an increase between 7% and 10%.

The vast majority of respondent institutions were hospitals (93.33%), while only 6.67% were an academic medical center. There was a fairly even distribution of respondents through three of the four regions. Thus, 37.5% were in Region 1, 31.25% in Region 2, 25% in Region 3, and 6.25% in Region 4.

More than 80% of respondents' facilities were owned by non-profit organizations, with 12.5% owned by city, county, or state governments, and 6.25% owned by a for-profit company.

Again, consistent with the salary levels reported, 73.33% of respondents have worked in pharmacy for more than 25 years, while 6.67% worked in the field between seven and nine years, between 10 and 12 years, between 13 and 15 years, and between 22 and 24 years. Likewise, most respondents have worked in health care for a long time. Some 80% have been in health care for more than 25 years, with 6.67% reporting health care tenure of 7-9 years, 10-12 years, or 13-15 years. All respondents said the RPh best describes their certification.

Respondents work long hours to earn their salary (see chart, below). Some 40% report working 41-45 hours a week, while 20% work 46-50 hours weekly, and 13.33% work 51-55 hours.

Most respondents (40%) work in a hospital with 201-300 beds. Another 20% work in hospitals with 301-400 beds. Some 13.33% work in hospitals with 101-200 beds, and 6.67% work in one of several other categories—fewer than 100 beds, 501-600 beds, 601-800 beds, and 801-1,000 beds.