California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Pharmacists in California

May also be called: Clinical Pharmacists; Pharmacy Consultants; Doctors of Pharmacy; Hospital Pharmacists; Prescriptionists; Registered Pharmacists; Staff Pharmacists; and Pharmacists in Charge

What Would I Do?

Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by physicians, dentists, and other health practitioners. They also provide advice to practitioners and patients on drug selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

Pharmacists typically work in retail or hospital settings that are clean, organized, well-lit, and well-ventilated. They spend most of their work day on their feet and typically work a full-time, 40 hour week.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Pharmacist will appeal to those who enjoy searching for facts and solving problems as well as working with data, details, and ideas.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2021 for Pharmacists in California was $152,778 annually, or $73.45 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2021Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefit packages generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance; vacation; sick leave; and retirement plans. Some employers offer sign-on bonuses. Self-employed Pharmacists must provide their own benefits and retirement.

What is the Job Outlook?

Good job opportunities are expected for Pharmacists because of scientific advancements and the increased pharmaceutical needs of a growing, older population.

How Do I Qualify?

Pharmacists must be licensed to practice in California by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Pharmacy. They are required to have a bachelor's degree (B.S.) or a doctorate degree (PharmD) in pharmacy from an accredited college of pharmacy program approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). Pharmacy programs are typically four years long. They also must pass a fingerprint background check and two licensing examinations, the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the California Pharmacist Jurisprudence Examination (CPJE).

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Hospitals and retail pharmacies advertise openings in newspaper classified ads, Internet job listings, and some also recruit through private employment agencies. Job seekers should apply directly to hospital personnel departments throughout California. Applicants, who apply for Veterans Administration Hospital positions as well as other government job openings, must first pass a Federal or State civil service examination. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

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