Best Cities for Pharmacists

Best Cities for Pharmacists

There are essential professions and nonessential professions. The pharmacist performs an essential service. Every city has one, and most cities have a bunch of them. But no two pharmacists are the same (even if they fill a prescription the same way), just as no two cities are identical. We're here to identify the very best cities for pharmacists to work in, considering four categories that all pharmacists care about: number of jobs, the demand for their services, their annual average salary and the cost of living.

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Best Five Cities for Pharmacists

Of the 396 cities reporting data, these five earned our best score, comprising the aforementioned factors. Chief among them is the average paycheck: The 290,780 pharmacists employed in the U.S. in May 2014 earned a median salary of $118,470, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1.Huntington, WV

Taking our top spot as the best city for pharmacists, Huntington's cause was helped by having the study's third-best location quotient, a metric that speaks to the demand for the profession within the metropolitan statistical area. Huntington also turned out to be the most affordable city to live among the top five here; it is actually 15% cheaper to live in the West Virginia city than it is in the average American town. Add in this fact: Two of Huntington's largest employers are in the healthcare realm -- Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary's Medical Center -- and it hosts Marshall University and its pharmacy school.

Statistical region includes: Ashland, KY

2. Modesto, CA

One of two cities to rank in the top three (and one of six to crack our top 30), Modesto climbed to No. 2 thanks, in part, to sporting the nation's seventh-highest average annual salary. Pharmacists here are paid $140,020 annually, which is 16% better than the study's average. The California Pharmacists Association is based an hour-plus drive north, in Sacramento. On the way is the next city on our list...

3. Stockton, CA

About 35 miles north of Modesto, Stockton slid into the third spot with more jobs for pharmacists (630) than any of its peers in the top five. Of course, the usual heavyweights led in this category: New York (11,390), Los Angeles (7,450) and Chicago (7,090). Stockton is the most populous city to crack the top five. Oakland, its even more populous neighbor, is home to Kaiser Permanente, one of the country's largest employers of pharmacists. California as a whole certified 582 pharmacists in 2014.

4. Florence, SC

Besting the fifth city on this list by a mere 0.2 margin in score, Florence posted solid scores in every category we studied, including the country's 30th-highest salary and 41st-best location quotient. Here is what a Florence CVS was looking for in a pharmacist. The South Carolina Pharmacy Association has about 1,500 members and was established way back in 1876.

5. Sebastian, FL

The metro statistical area comprising Sebastian rounded out the top five. Pharmacists here, some of whom work at Walmart, earn an average annual salary of $133,650 despite living in a city that is 5% more affordable than a given American town. The Florida Pharmacy Association is based in the northern half of the state, in Tallahassee.

Statistical region includes: Vero Beach, FL

Top 100 Cities for Pharmacists

Here are the top 100 cities for pharmacists to work and live:

RankCityAverage SalaryJobsLocation QuotientCost of LivingScore
1Huntington, WV$126,2904702.0485101
2Modesto, CA$140,0204501.29101102
3Stockton, CA$130,8406301.42103104
4Florence, SC$130,0502501.4496120
5Sebastian, FL$133,6501401.4395120
6Chico, CA$142,3801901.26118130
7Gadsden, AL$155,9401001.2882132
8Roanoke, VA$125,4305101.5889133
9La Crosse, WI$127,1902401.5394137
10Greenville, NC$125,2102801.6892142
11Cape Girardeau, MO$133,5701201.3392148

12

Ocean City, NJ$129,5001201.42166154

13

Rochester, MN$123,0803901.72103157

14

Knoxville, TN$126,8808901.2584165

15

Dothan, AL$122,6802101.7788170

16

Yuba City, CA$136,8501001.23107170

17

Asheville, NC$126,8904801.29105171

18

Kingsport, TN$129,6003001.2189171

19

Wilmington, NC$124,9404301.37102175

20

Winston-Salem, NC$124,9206001.3390175

21

Utica, NY$129,8303101.20101175

22

Anderson, SC$122,5102201.6688183

23

Bakersfield, CA$136,9706801.0796189

24

Camden, NJ$124,1201,3801.2691191

25

Brownsville, TX$139,8103001.0678192

26

Nashville, TN$120,5002,5601.45105200

27

Albany, GA$127,5401501.2088213

28

Danbury, CT$130,9701701.12133218

29

Jackson, MS$122,6706701.2486222

30

Madera, CA$129,3801001.1897222

31

Cumberland, MD$122,9401101.3891226

32

Hanford, CA$136,910901.0996229

33

Corpus Christi, TX$126,2404501.1286230

34

Springfield, MO$126,9304601.1087231

35

Pensacola, FL$123,4604001.1991233

36

Fresno, CA$143,9806900.97101236

37

St. Cloud, MN$130,7302301.0893237

38

Oakland, CA$137,3102,1400.97144240

39

Gary, IN$120,2607501.3186242

40

Riverside, CA$131,8602,6500.99109244

41

Durham, NC$120,8307601.25113251

42

Saginaw, MI$121,2602301.2885255

43

Vallejo, CA$130,0802701.03111258

44

Canton, OH$128,2803701.0488258

45

St. Joseph, MO$122,9801301.2186259

46

Sacramento, CA$132,1801,7800.97117260

47

Lake Havasu City, AZ$138,9601001.0193260

48

Lubbock, TX$122,5303301.1585268

49

Fort Lauderdale, FL$120,2201,9401.1997273

50

Gulfport, MS$120,6702701.2291276

51

Athens, GA$117,6102701.5996277

52

Glens Falls, NY$119,1001701.50110277

53

Anniston, AL$140,830900.9888277

54

Columbus, GA$127,3102501.0391281

55

Columbia, MO$122,3502301.1695282

56

Myrtle Beach, SC$120,0703101.2597282

57

Charlottesville, VA$119,7402801.31109286

58

Medford, OR$120,0702101.28103289

59

Kansas City, MO$119,8702,5201.1690290

60

Peoria, IL$122,0004201.1086295

61

Duluth, MN$123,4202901.0896297

62

Springfield, IL$122,6102601.1090297

63

Florence, AL$121,7501301.1892298

64

Goldsboro, NC$129,020901.0391298

65

Santa Ana, CA$129,4502,9500.92155308

66

Elmira, NY$127,300801.0596308

67

Miami, FL$114,3003,7001.64112308

68

Decatur, IL$122,7601101.1181308

69

Visalia, CA$128,9102900.97103308

70

Longview, WA$128,010801.04100309

71

Gainesville, GA$122,5401801.1093309

72

Danville, IL$117,300901.5985311

73

Spokane, WA$115,5106601.5091312

74

Brunswick, GA$117,6501201.4389313

75

Oklahoma City, OK$114,9101,8701.4486315

76

Wheeling, WV$121,3201501.1286318

77

Wichita, KS$119,4907101.1487319

78

Corvallis, OR$118,4201001.41120319

79

Port St. Lucie, FL$116,7803701.3591319

80

Flint, MI$112,5105401.8776321

81

Wichita Falls, TX$123,4201301.0579323

82

Bangor, ME$118,2001801.31102325

83

Albuquerque, NM$115,6801,0901.37103330

84

Redding, CA$138,0701100.91111330

85

Johnson City, TN$112,5503101.9390331

86

Eugene, OR$125,6903000.98103334

87

Fort Wayne, IN$121,0604701.0586334

88

Milwaukee, WI$125,9701,6400.9395336

89

McAllen, TX$132,8304400.8679336

90

Memphis, TN$111,0802,2601.7675336

91

Phoenix, AZ$119,2104,2801.0990336

92

Youngstown, OH$120,1205101.0885338

93

Topeka, KS$118,5302801.1886339

94

Portland, ME$129,9103900.90114341

95

Fayetteville, NC$124,1802600.9994343

96

Terre Haute, IN$122,6701501.0382344

97

Racine, WI$124,4501601.0091344

98

Macon, GA$124,6902000.9885346

99

Huntsville, AL$123,2104400.9896347

100

Hattiesburg, MS$112,1302301.9387348

What's It Like Working in...?

We asked pharmacists in various parts of the country to tell us about their surroundings. Stay tuned for their answers.

Are you a pharmacist with something to say? Find us @VP_Careers.

Methodology

These were the three key questions we asked in coming up with the list.

1. What can pharmacists earn in the city?

We ranked the best cities for pharmacists based on the median annual pay. Income is likely the most important factor people consider when starting their career or relocating elsewhere. A high salary in an expensive city, however, may be less attractive than a lower salary in an affordable town. Our next metric takes affordability into consideration.

2. How affordable is it to live in this city?

Now that we have the median salary, we’ll look next at the cost of living. The cost of living is a measure of how far earnings can be stretched. Cities with lower cost of living index numbers ranked higher in our study. For example, the average city is benchmarked at 100. A city with a cost of living index of 188, such as Honolulu, would mean that generally speaking, living expenses are 88 percent more expensive compared to the average city.

3. What is the location quotient for pharmacists in the city?

A place with a high median salary and low cost of living may seem perfect, but job opportunities may be limited. Our third factor accounts for this by favoring cities with high location quotients. Location quotient measures the concentration of pharmacists in an area as a percentage of all occupations, and then compares that to the national average. We interpret a higher location quotient to mean a relatively higher demand for a pharmacist's services.

Ting is a ValuePenguin Co-Founder. She previously evaluated corporate mergers and acquisitions as a Financial Analyst at Citigroup.