How much do Pharmacists Make in Canada? Contrary to popular beliefs, Pharmacists are not mere ‘drug peddlers’ who issue medicines once the doctor’s prescription...

How much do Pharmacists Make in Canada?

Contrary to popular beliefs, Pharmacists are not mere ‘drug peddlers’ who issue medicines once the doctor’s prescription and the patient’s payment have been handed over to them.

From being just behind the counter, pharmacists are now at the forefront of patient care. Nowadays, they are just as involved in the care of patients, just like physicians, nurses and physical therapists, regularly conducting drug

therapy and counseling to their patients.

With the growing number of medications (and the safety issues associated with them), pharmacists are now in high demand, especially in Canada. The high demand, of course, makes the pay of such professionals comparably better than other healthcare jobs.

Curious about how much these pharmacists get to take home every hour (and every year)? Read on and be amazed (if not motivated to become a pharmacist as well!)

The Practice of Pharmacy in Canada: an Overview

Number of licensed pharmacists in Canada: 31,000

Number of community pharmacies in the country: 7,000

Number of Canadian Citizens: Roughly 33.5 million

Unlike most countries where pharmacies are easily reachable by foot or car, most Canadian citizens need to drive 200 miles just to get to the nearest community pharmacy. Of course, this has a big impact on most of the citizenry’s health since they are not able to take their medications right away.

Recognizing this problem, the Canadian government has initiated grants to motivate pharmacists to move to remote areas in order to make medications more accessible to urban-based citizens. Because of this scenario, there is a huge demand for pharmacists and only a small supply from Canada’s pharmacy schools.

Universities are trying to help the government by increasing the admission rate of their students. From 2001 to

2009, the admission rate has jumped to 65%. Schools are providing bursaries too, to students who will commit themselves to working in certain institutions after they graduate.

Employers, on the other hand, are delegating some tasks to pharmacy assistants in order for their pharmacists to take on more vital tasks, and shoulder lesser loads.

The government is also encouraging immigrant pharmacists to work in Canada. The immigration rate for pharmacists is at a whopping 13%, in comparison to the national average of 12%. Programs are being offered by several universities in order for foreign pharmacists to practice in Canada.

The Role of Pharmacists in Canada

Pharmacists are primarily involved in the preparation and dispensation of medications, as well as patient education regarding their drug therapies, possible interactions and adverse reactions. They can recommend over-the-counter meds to patients. In Alberta, pharmacists are even licensed to prescribe prescription drugs.

Numerous government campaigns have also expanded the pharmacist’s role in the community. Most of them are now involved in weight management and smoking cessation programs. They also supervise medication checks, palliative care clinics and anticoagulant clinics.

One of the Best Healthcare Jobs in Canada – and the World

In a recent survey conducted by US News, results show that pharmacists have the third best healthcare job in the world, coming next after dentists and nurses. They also have the third highest pay in the bunch, coming next after physicians and dentists, who make CAD 240,000 and CAD 143,000 respectively.

One of the best things about being a pharmacist in Canada is that there are virtually no chances of being unemployed, due to the high demand of such professionals, especially in the remote areas of the country where there are only a handful of pharmacies.

How to Become a Pharmacist in Canada

To become one of the most respected professionals in Canada, you first need to take a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy from any of the country’s ten Pharmacy schools. After graduating, you need to earn practical experience through internships and apprenticeships. Once you have completed all the requirements, you need to pass the test administered by the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.

How much do Canadian Pharmacists Make?

Because of the huge role that pharmacists play in the healthcare system, the profession features one of the most lucrative salaries in Canada. According to a study published in Pharmacy Journal online, pharmacists in the country earn an average of CAD 95,000 annually. Pharmacists also get to take home as much as CAD 3,000 in annual bonuses.

Best Industries for Pharmacists

The pay of pharmacists largely depends on the industries they are working for. Professionals employed by scientific, technical and management services earn an hourly wage of CAD 58.8, while pharmacists working in substance abuse and mental health facilities earn about CAD 57.7 an hour.

In the same league are employment, insurance and general merchandise pharmacists who all make an average of CAD 55.5 hourly. Hospital and health store pharmacists take home CAD 53.4 per hour while grocery and department stores pharmacists earn about CAD 50.4 hourly.

Best Positions/ Specializations for Pharmacists

Pay is also influenced by the pharmacist’s specialization and position at work.

The best salary goes to travel pharmacists, who get to take home as much as CAD 157,300 every year. Taking the second spot is the registered retail pharmacist, who earn about CAD 153,110 every year. An inpatient clinical pharmacist takes home an annual salary of CAD 140,525 while a pharmacy director can earn as much as CAD 137,380 every year.

A lead pharmacist and clinical pharmacist specialist both earn a yearly average of CAD 132,136 while nuclear and oncologic pharmacists receive an average of CAD 123,746 annually. Hospital pharmacists make an average of CAD 117,454. At the end of the spectrum is the on call pharmacist, who receives CAD 89,139 annually.

Best States for Pharmacists

Location plays a big role in take-home salaries as well. Pharmacists in the areas of Banff, Calgary, Rocky Mountain House and Jasper earn an average of CAD 46.12 per hour, and can go as high as CAD 51.15. Edmonton-Alberta pharmacists earn anywhere from CAD 45.44 to CAD 50.54 per hour.

Pharmacists from Fredericton – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Vancouver – British Columbia get about CAD 44 to CAD 54 per hour. Pharmacists in Winnipeg – Manitoba receive CAD 42.38 to CAD 56.50 per hour.

Professionals practicing in Toronto – Ontario, London/Woodstock, Windsor/Sarnia and Ottawa all make an average of CAD 41.10 hourly. The lowest rate is given to Halifax – Nova Scotia pharmacists, who earn a flat hourly rate of CAD 40.

In essence, pharmacists make a great deal of money, depending on their specializations, locations of practice, and industries they are working for.  While their pay is promising, your decision to become a pharmacist should rest on more than that: your passion to help people and your dedication to deliver quality health care services to your patients.

Relevant Links:

  1. Best Pharmacy Schools in Canada – Part 1
  2. Best Pharmacy Schools in Canada – Part 2
  3. Best Medical Schools in Canada – Part 1

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