Pharmacist explaining use of a medication

Female pharmacist holding medicine bottle giving advice to customer in chemist shop or pharmacy

Future of Pharmacist Employment in Retail & Non-retail Settings

What does the pharmacists’ job market look like as we head into 2020? According to an article from Drug Channels, the “pharmacist employment figure is projected to remain unchanged over the next 10 years.” However, the outlook varies by business setting. The article says, “Pharmacist jobs at hospitals, physician offices, and other non-retail settings will outpace growth at retail outpatient settings. Chain and independent drugstores are projected to employ 11,000 fewer pharmacists in 2028 than they do today.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the decreased employment rate will be in independent and chain retail pharmacies. “Employment in this industry is projected to decline overall, and retail pharmacies will be affected by increasing sales via mail order and online pharmacies. In addition, pharmacy technicians will be taking a greater role in pharmacy operations. Technicians perform tasks—such as collecting patient information, preparing more types of medications, and verifying the work of other technicians—that were previously done by pharmacists.”

While some of this information may be grim, there are other areas of the industry that have a more positive outlook. For example, pharmacists in a non-retail sector are projected to increase by 6.9% by 2028. “The biggest growth will come in hospitals (+3,600 pharmacists; +4.4%) and outpatient care centers (+1,900 pharmacists; +36.5%). These latest projections are comparable to the forecasts that BLS released in 2017,” Drug Channels said.

Since pharmacist positions are expected to decrease in retail settings and grow in hospital and specialty settings instead, it’ll be important for pharmacists to hone their clinical skills and knowledge of counseling patients with complex conditions.

What do you think about this shift? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on the pharmacist employment outlook for 2020.

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