Upon hearing the word “pharmacologist,” many people believe it’s just another term for a pharmacist, but the two roles couldn’t be more dissimilar. Pharmacologists are actually medical scientists, who research, develop and test medications. As most folks already know, pharmacists fill prescriptions, monitor medical therapies and advise patients on how to take medications. Though responsible for formulating many of the medications dispensed in the medical industry, pharmacologists generally earn less than pharmacists.
As of 2012, medical scientists as a whole brought home an average of $87,830 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working for pharmaceutical companies, where pharmacologists often are employed, earned nearly $101,000 a year. The jobs website Indeed offers a slightly higher figure, placing salaries at $109,000 annually.
The BLS estimates the average salary for pharmacists at $114,950 a year. When compared to medical scientists at pharmaceutical companies, you’re looking at a difference of just over $14,000 a year. Indeed provides a similar figure, setting the average salary for a pharmacist at $113,000, or $4,000 more than the pharmacologist's salary.
Salary by Location
Of the states, pharmacists tend to bring home the highest wages in Alaska, where the average was just over $129,000 a year. In this same state, pharmacologists averaged $88,000 -- a difference of roughly $41,000 annually. The lowest reported wages for pharmacists were in Nebraska, at an average of $100,830. Nebraska-based pharmacologists earned $83,000 -- a difference of $17,830 annually.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for medical scientists, including pharmacologists, to be excellent, with an average job growth rate of 36 percent from 2010 to 2020. Though still better than the national average for all U.S. occupations, the future isn’t quite as bright for pharmacists, with an average growth of 25 percent through 2020. But with a greater number of pharmacists working in the U.S. than pharmacologists, the 25 percent growth works out to many more new jobs -- an estimated 69,700 over the course of a decade. Expect 36,400 new jobs to develop for medical scientists during this same time period.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Pharmacists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pharmacists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Medical Scientists
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Scientists
- Indeed: Pharmacologist Salary
- Florida Area Health Education Centers Network: Pharmacologists
- Indeed: Clinical Pharmacist Salary
- Indeed: Pharmacologist Salary in Alaska
- Indeed: Pharmacologist Salary in Nebraska
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images