For the pharmacy profession as a whole, job growth is expected to remain flat for about the next decade, with zero job growth forecast overall, the result of growth in some areas and declines in others, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The number of pharmacists in the United States currently stands at about 314,000, and that number is not expected to change much by 2028.
Where the Growth Is
However, the BLS is predicting some fluctuation among different types of pharmacy positions. For example, the demand for hospital pharmacists and pharmacists who work in physician offices, outpatient care centers and ambulatory care settings is expected to grow. These places will need more pharmacists to dispense and monitor the medications given to patients, as well as providing care for patients, overseeing such procedures as testing blood sugar and cholesterol.
Also, as the baby boom generation ages, they will be taking more medications. Moreover, chronic conditions such as diabetes are expected to increase among all ages, requiring medication to control.
The number of hospital pharmacy jobs is expected to grow 4.4 percent by 2028, increasing from 82,000 to more than 85,000, adding 3,600 jobs, according to the BLS. Pharmacy positions in ambulatory care centers are expected to increase almost 30 percent, from nearly 13,000 to more than 16,000, an additional 3,500 jobs. Pharmacy jobs in outpatient care centers are projected to grow from 5,200 to 7,100, an increase of almost 2,000 jobs, or 37 percent. And pharmacist jobs in physician offices are forecast to grow from 5,400 to 6,000, an addition of 600 jobs, a 12 percent increase.
Retail Pharmacy Decline
But retail pharmacy positions, which make up more than half of all pharmacy jobs, are expected to decline. This sector of the profession will be impacted by mail order and online pharmacies, as well as the expanding role of pharmacy technicians. The number of retail pharmacists is projected to drop from about 183,000 to 174,000, a decline of 9,000, or 5 percent.
The states expected to have the largest job increases from 2018 to 2020 are Arizona, with a nearly 5 percent increase; Colorado, up 3 percent; Idaho, up 4 percent; and New Mexico, up 3 percent.
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