Before becoming a pharmacist, students must work hands-on with mixing and filling prescriptions under the supervision of a pharmacist as an aide. Pharmacy internships also require that interns master pharmacy administrative duties, such as answering customer questions and operating the cash register. The pay for a pharmacy intern will depend on the length of the internship, as well as the employer.
The average pay for a pharmacy intern is $10.98 an hour, or $22,830 a year, as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pay begins at less than $8.01 an hour, or $16,670 a year, in the 10th percentile and ranges to over $15.26 an hour, or $31,740, in the 90th percentile, with the median pay at $10.31 an hour, or $21,430 a year.
Aides fulfilling an internship in health and personal care store pharmacies earn an average of $22,260 a year as of 2010, reports the bureau. Grocery stores offer an average of $23,040, department stores offer an average of $19,920 and general merchandise store pharmacies offer an average of $19,840. Some interns assist pharmacists in general medical and surgical hospitals, where the average pay is $29,990 a year, while others work at college and university pharmacies for the average of $35,880 a year.
The cost of living in a pharmacy intern’s city or town has an effect on her salary. The highest-paying city in the country for pharmacy interns is Las Cruces, New Mexico, with a salary average of $40,190 a year, followed by Denver, Colorado, with an average of $32,020. Southwest Iowa is the highest-paying rural area for these internships, with an average salary of $32,570, followed by eastern Washington at $28,540.
Type of Internship
Some future pharmacists set up an internship through their school, while others participate in one created by a chain pharmacy. Internships can be part-time, lasting for only a few months, or they can last over a year, akin to a physician residency in a hospital. For example, the Johns Hopkins pharmacy internship program lasts one summer and requires interns to work 40 hours a week. Safeway offers both summer and annual internships for pharmacy students and includes a focus on the contribution of a pharmacy in a grocery retail setting.