The 2017 Pharmacy Job Outlook – What A Facebook Ad Can Tell Us

As a practicing pharmacist, I continue to hear rumblings and news trickle in about the 2017 pharmacy job outlook.  Fellow pharmacist blogger Jason Poquette put together a nice article early in 2016 about what the pharmacy job outlook looks like.  It wasn’t very good unfortunately.

As I focus ahead to the 2017 pharmacy job outlook, Pharmacist Provider Status (read my latest post on this) has to happen.  I won’t quit and you shouldn’t either.  It will help everyone in the profession.  I believe provider status would totally shift the landscape and tilt the scale in the direction of a much better job outlook for pharmacists.

So, back to what prompted this article.  I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and I saw something that I have never seen before.  I saw a sponsored ad for a college of pharmacy.  This really surprised me, and I had two initial thoughts.

  1. I’ve heard whispers of applications being way down for colleges of pharmacy.  Although anecdotal evidence, this helps reinforce to me that colleges of pharmacy are struggling and will likely continue to struggle to get quality students to fill their seats.  In 2013, there was an article about an 8.1% drop in applications and seeing this ad really makes me believe that this trend is continuing.  In discussions with pharmacy preceptors, the other alarming concern (for the job market) I’ve heard is the number of applicants for residency programs.  The competition for residencies especially in bigger cities is very stiff.
  2. The other interesting thing about the ad was that a college of pharmacy is using social media as a tool.  I remember speaking to a few professors at pharmacy schools about my idea to use social media, start a blog and help educate students, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals.  Them being lukewarm on the idea is being generous.  Obviously this is a shift in mentality, at least for the college that was using the advertisement.

Do you have any stories or info to share about the 2017 pharmacy job outlook?  Please feel free to comment below!



  1. Chau

    I am a 2016 newly grad pharmacist and I totally agree with you that the job market is terrible where I live. I want to stay home and be close to my family in Oahu, but it seems like I may not be able to. I am looking in all sorts of directions to add more training and certification to help me stand out, but its hard as well when most them require you be a registered pharmacist for a min of 2 years.

  2. Crystal

    I look forward to a shortage of pharmacists. It is necessary. They have opened so many schools. I was concerned about the future as it took 10 months post graduation to find a job back in 2011. Also, I have concerns about provider status. It was seen, around the end of my time in school by PharmDs in academia that wouldn’t be impacted either way, that pharmacist managed immunization was a great idea. However, retail chains then imposed vaccine quotas on their pharmacists with little to no additional resources. Now this big push for provider status concerns me as well. I feel that some insurance company or other power without experience or knowledge of patient care will determine the value and therefore reimbursement for certain services over others and additional quotas will be imposed. I am sure there are benefits but provider status overall leaves me with significant concern. I am not convinced it will be as great as we anticipate.

    • Frank, Pharm.D

      Crystal, I agree with you to some extent. I agree that pharmacy needs the shortage of pharmacists so when pharmacy employers find it difficult to fill a pharmacist position they and the community will realize that pharmacists’ work matters. I think however, that the provider status will make a significant difference because, some states have CPP to allow pharmacists do more than just been considered as dispensing machines. However the CPP program has not flourished because of billing issues associated with lack of provider status; making the CPP less desirable for most pharmacists. Pharmacists are expensive and a pharmacist functions within a practice has to be able to drive sufficient revenue to make them worth to the clinic they are practicing at. As a result most CPPs are in academia as preceptors paid by the pharmacy schools and working in primary care. So I think provider status may eliminate some of the billing issues, making pharmacists services attractive to primary care employers.
      In addition to the CPP, we have to move majority of dispensing into primary care clinics where patients get their meds in-patient and where the dispnesing pharmacists have access to labs to perform effective medication therapy management.
      I strongly believe that pharmacists have the core duty to drive the profession to a desirable state and not wait for the retail pharmacy corporations and Pharmacy schools because they don’t care about the profession but only the money they will make off the backs of pharmacists working as technicians and the pharmacy schools driving the students into ridiculous debt with post graduation jobs that do not commensurate the education they received.

  3. Mary Manning

    Do you mean Facebook Ad or Facebook Add?

    • Eric Christianson

      Ha! Got it right in the article, but missed it in the title 🙂 – Thanks for catching that!

  4. Farmacia online

    Congratulations on the blog, in Italy there is not a blog so full of information on the pharmaceutical sector.
    Coming to a pharmacist job in Italy life is hard enough, here drugs are also sold in the supermarket apart from those for the need of a prescription.
    We have a pharmacy in Milan and despite that, we had to open a channel on the web by creating an online pharmacy (It called Farmacia online Farmamy) . Also on the web restrictions are so many and having applied for over the counter medicines, we are still waiting even though we have the requirements to obtain them. Really hard 2017 here in Italy for our industry. Good luck and best wishes for 2017 to all!

    • Eric Christianson

      Interesting, thanks for sharing!

  5. Tony

    The pharmacy profession screwed itself over. Opening more and more pharmacy schools and making the PharmD a mandatory degree are all mistakes. For those that want to work in retail having a BS Pharm is enough. For those that want to work in a hospital, outpatient clinic or academia then the PharmD makes sense. As well as a residency. I feel like making the PharmD mandatory has watered down the meaning of it. The job market is terrible now and I feel badly for anyone graduating. Many of our residents are going on to do a PGY2 because finding a job is so difficult. In the past 10 years I have seen it go from a new pharmacist receiving a sign on bonus to a decrease in the starting salary or hourly rate.

    We really did it to ourselves.

    • Eric Christianson

      Thanks for the comment Tony!

  6. shyah

    Do ya’ll think pharmacy will autocorrect within four years? I signed up for school this month and I’ll be finished in four years. I am a mother and I only want to work part time. I am already an RN. I believe I have a good chance to get on in a hospital and I’m willing to work part time. What’s you all’s take on this?

    • Shelley

      I think there will always be a demand for part timers 🙂


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Written By Eric Christianson

November 30, 2016

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