Among healthcare practitioners who need a doctoral or professional degree, pharmacist ranks as the occupation with the most job openings in Kentucky.
Pharmacists dispense medications, but they also may conduct health screenings and offer advice on healthy lifestyles.
To become a pharmacist, you need a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.), which is usually a four-year degree. Kentucky has pharmacy programs at the University of Kentucky and Sullivan University. A one- or two-year residency may be required for advanced positions in clinical care and research.
UK also offers a Ph.D. in pharmacy, which is often sought by students who wish to pursue pharmaceutical research.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43 percent of pharmacists worked in pharmacies and drug stores in 2016, and 25 percent worked in hospitals. Almost 20 percent of pharmacists worked part time.
- Pharmacists: 7.6 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 4,518 to 4,863 positions. Average salary is $123,228.
If you want to learn more about the work before committing to a doctoral degree, you might consider becoming a pharmacy technician. You can learn to do this work with moderate on-the-job training. (The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines moderate-term training as more than one month, and up to 12 months, of combined on-the-job experience and informal training that is needed for the worker to develop the skills to attain competency in the occupation.)
- Pharmacy technicians: 17.3 percent increase from 2016 to 2026, from 8,467 to 9,934 positions. Average salary $28,232.