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Minnesota Pharmacist Journal - Winter 2018
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2017 Minnesota Pharmacist Compensation and Labor Survey

Jon C. Schommer, PhD, RPh, Professor; Anthony W. Olson, PharmD, RPh, PhD Student; Caroline A. Gaither, PhD, RPh, Professor; Oscar W. Garza, PhD, Assistant Professor; Ronald S. Hadsall, PhD, RPh, Professor; Tom A. Larson, PharmD, RPh, Professor; Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, PharmD, PhD, RPh, Professor; Donald L. Uden, PharmD, RPh, Professor; all from University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Minneapolis

Acknowledgements

The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy provided funding for this study.

The authors acknowledge the valuable contributions of Dawn Turgeon and Valorie Cremin, University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, during data collection.

Our sincere thanks to the many pharmacists who responded to a survey that asked about personal information and took about 10 minutes to complete. It is only through their efforts that this report is possible.

Biographical Sketches for authors of this manuscript:

  • Jon C. Schommer, PhD, RPh, is professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Anthony W. Olson, PharmD, RPh, is a PhD student in the Social and Administrative Pharmacy Graduate Program at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Caroline A. Gaither, PhD, RPh, is professor and Senior Associate Dean at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Oscar W. Garza, PhD, is assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Ronald S. Hadsall, PhD, RPh, is professor at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Tom A. Larson, PharmD, RPh, is professor at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, PharmD, PhD, RPh, is professor, CMC Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Management and Economics, Director of the PRIME Institute, and Department Chair at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.
  • Donald L. Uden, PharmD, RPh, is professor at the College of Pharmacy, University of Minnesota.

Study Purpose and Methods

The purpose of this study was to describe Minnesota pharmacists’ demographic characteristics and compensation at their primary place of employment for 2017. A 10% random sample (n = 662) from the 6,626 pharmacists with active Minnesota pharmacist licenses and residing in Minnesota was selected from pharmacist records kept by the Minnesota State Board of Pharmacy. In September 2017, a cover letter, a postage-paid return envelope, and a questionnaire that asked about salary and demographic characteristics were mailed to each sample member. Four weeks after the initial mailing, another survey form and postage paid return envelope were mailed to non-respondents.

Of the 643 deliverable surveys, a total of 334 (52 percent) pharmacists responded. These 334 respondents are considered representative of all pharmacists with active licenses and residing in Minnesota (n = 6,626) based on similarity for ethnicity (92% and 91% white, respectively); gender identity (61% and 59% female, respectively); and holding a BS Pharmacy degree as one’s first professional degree (46% and 46%, respectively). It should be noted that 49% of the 6,626 pharmacists completed their pharmacy degree at the University of Minnesota, whereas 60% of the 334 respondents did so. It is not surprising that Minnesota graduates were more likely to respond to a survey sent by their alma mater and this bias should be considered when interpreting the findings from this report. Only pharmacists who reported that they were actively practicing pharmacy in Minnesota for at least an average of 30 hours per week were included for data analysis. Thus, a total of 229 respondents met our inclusion criteria for this report. Respondents were categorized as working in one of the following three regions in Minnesota: 1) Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, 2) Other Urban Areas with Populations Greater than 75,000 (Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud, Moorhead/Fargo), and 3) Small Urban/Rural Areas. For each category, descriptive statistics for demographic characteristics and hourly wages at their primary place of employment were computed. In addition, wage information was further categorized by practice setting [independent, chain (11 or more units under common ownership), hospital, or other], position (management or staff), and gender identity (male or female).

Results

Table 1 presents demographic characteristics of survey respondents who were actively practicing pharmacy in Minnesota for at least 30 hours per week (n = 229). Overall, pharmacist practice settings were hospital (34 percent), other (32 percent), chain (27 percent), and independent (7 percent). Thirty-four percent of these respondents held a management level position and 66 percent held staff positions. The average age of these respondents was 42 years; they also reported an average of 15 years in practice. Thirty-five percent of the respondents reported that a B.S. in Pharmacy was their entry level practice degree. Gender identity distribution was 62 percent female. Overall, pharmacists reported working an average of 41 hours per week and devoted an average of 53 percent of their time to dispensing activities and an average of 35 percent of their time to patient care activities.

Table 2 summarizes hourly wage information for selected categories of respondents. Results are reported as average dollar amounts (dollars per hour) for each respondent’s primary place of employment. Income from other jobs, overtime, bonuses, profit sharing, or other earnings are not included in this table. Thus, Table 2 should be viewed as presenting information about gross base earnings reported on a per hour basis. Such reimbursement does not include other sources of income and does not reflect the value of fringe benefits that most pharmacists receive. Minnesota pharmacists, who were working at least 30 hours per week, reported an average hourly wage of $63.74 for 2017. Figure 1 summarizes average hourly wages for the years 1999 ($30.81) through 2017 ($63.74). It should be noted that these hourly wages are not adjusted for inflation.

Results to this point are based on the 229 pharmacists who were actively practicing pharmacy at least 30 hours per week. An additional analysis was conducted using all 334 usable responses to our survey (which included all pharmacists working in any type of work setting, who were retired, and who were unemployed). When asked about the use of pharmacogenomics/pharmacogenetics in their work (a new question added for 2017), 14% reported that they did, 76% reported that they did not, and 11% reported that this question was not applicable to them. Regarding unemployment, the findings showed that 3.3 percent reported that they were unemployed, which was slightly less than the Minnesota unemployment rate (3.7 percent). The U.S. unemployment rate during the same time period was 4.2 percent. Of respondents who were unemployed, 45 percent reported that they were seeking employment.

Final Comments

The results are part of a series of surveys designed to help assess the economic and practice environments of practicing pharmacists in Minnesota. Findings for the years 1999 to present are available from the corresponding author upon request (schom010@umn.edu). Longitudinal analysis of these data has contributed to our understanding of how the supply and demand for pharmacists fluctuate over time as pharmacy education and practice environments continue to evolve. Also, the results can be used for making hourly wage and benefit comparisons among different groups of pharmacists in Minnesota.

Table 1: Demographic Characteristics

a Other includes clinic, mail service, specialty pharmacy, long-term care, home health/infusion, ambulatory care, pharmacy benefit administration, academia, other for-profit corporation/organization or other non-profit corporation/organization.

b Management includes owner, partner, executive officer, manager, director, assistant manager, supervisor, or other non-staff role.

c Dispensing was defined as: “preparing, distributing, and administering medication products, including associated consultation, interacting with patients about selection of over-the-counter products, and interactions with other professionals during the medication dispensing process.”

d Patient Care was defined as: “assessing and evaluating patient medication-related needs, monitoring and adjusting patients’ treatments to attain desired outcomes, and other services designed for patient care management.”

Note: Some of the percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.

Table 2: Hourly Wage a Information for Respondents Categorized by Practice, Position, Region, and Gender

a Results are reported as average dollar amount (dollars per hour) for respondents’ primary place of employment. Data are not reported for cells with fewer than 2 respondents.

b Ns do not total 229 due to item non-response.

c Management includes owner, partner, executive officer, manager, director, assistant manager, supervisor, or other non-staff role.

d Other includes clinic, mail service, specialty pharmacy, long term care, home health/infusion, ambulatory care, pharmacy benefit administration, academia, other for-profit corporation/organization or other non-profit corporation/organization.

Figure 1 Hourly Wages for Minnesota Pharmacists, Actively Practicing for at Least 30 Hours Per Week (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017)

Note: Hourly wages are not adjusted for inflation.


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