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Walgreens pharmacists

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by AlmostAPharmD, May 3, 2011.

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  1. AlmostAPharmD

    AlmostAPharmD

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    Do any of you work at walgreens or have worked at walgreens?? What did you think of it? I am interviewing with them tomorrow. Any idea about what the benefits, salary, etc, are like?
  2. MindOverMatter

    MindOverMatter

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    Did you try searching the forum? This topic has been discussed at length multiple times.

    For myself, I worked with them for 5 years as a tech/intern. Made the transition through Power and decided to leave the company in my fourth year of school for a better opportunity.

    Good luck on your interview.
  3. AlmostAPharmD

    AlmostAPharmD

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    I will try searching, thanks!
  4. selo

    selo Junior Member

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    I have been working for them for 9 months now. The pay is not too bad, as in my area i make more per hour than my other friends who work for the competitors. But bear in mind the great pay comes with lot of shortcomings, no stop drive thru, budget cut... we have less tech now. So a walgreens pharmacist is not only a pharmacist but also he is a tech, a cashier, and also we are pushed to sell prescription saving cards.. in term of benefits i am not too sure. but i already have 2 weeks vacation, 3 sick days. and also for overtime we get paid a20 dollars more per hour. Do i like it a lot ? no, but it pays the bill.
  5. FlavyFlav

    FlavyFlav

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    The way I see it as a previous tech, turned intern, is you'll be the best paid cashier in the United States. If you're ok with this, then you'll be fine, but say goodbye to your clinical knowledge and hello to "Where are the paper towels", and my favorite "Where's the bathroom?"

    Also, be ready to deny people in the drive-thru, my personal best request, "...and can you grab me some theatre-butter flavored popcorn?" They were serious. They were readily told 'no'.

    So many fun stories of Walgreen's work. Like the time when 6:00pm hit, the PIC hit the gate close button and just stared at the guy running to us from the front of the store like it was the end of a marathon. He was yelling and screaming for us to hold-up, and the pharmacist just kept his thumb on the button until the gate made its slow way down. That was an awesome day... for us, not the guy who lost the great race in the end.
  6. rph74

    rph74

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    I have worked for Walgreen's for over 17 years now, 14 as a Pharmacist (11 years as Pharmacy Manager). It is definitely not for everyone. It can be very challenging especially at high volume stores. This is a place where your technician help can make or break you. Though I would guess that this would be the case at many other Pharmacies too. I personally enjoy the fast pace. It makes my day go by quickly! My staff rph's work 39-40 hours per week. We do not work more than 8 hour days which I like a lot. Many others prefer to work four 10 hour shifts, but I do not. I like being able to have some free time each day rather than more days off. Just a personal preference.

    The benefits are what keep many Walgreen's rph's around. The profit sharing is very good, and if you stick with it for a while you will be amazed at how much you will have saved up!
  7. pezdispenser

    pezdispenser

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    I think it's pretty average. Even though they match $2.77 to $1, it's only on the first 2% of your salary contributed, so the match is 5.54% of your salary. If you do the calculations this is not enough to retire comfortably, so you'll have to make unmatched contributions beyond 2%.

    The vesting schedule is pretty good though. $2 of the match is fully vested immediately.

    And there are some low cost index funds to choose from so your money isn't eaten up by fees. Their expense ratios are around 0.08%.
  8. rph74

    rph74

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    Good point. I put the maximum yearly amount in which I believe is $16,500 per year. And with the matched contributions on that 2%, Walgreen's adds in another $7-8,000 per year. So about 24-25k per year total saved in retirement, not including other private investments.

    Those fresh out of school who may be trying to pay their student loans off might opt to simply contribute the minimum 2% and use the extra money to pay the loans off. Even at that small amount of savings, that rph has about $10,000 per year saved in their 401k. Not bad.

    I remember a market meeting about 10 years ago or so, when one of the speakers asked us to look around the room to notice that there weren't too many rph's over the age of 55. That was because many of those rph's had retired young because of their profit sharing and company stock savings. I definitely took that with a grain of salt, but it was probably true for at least a few rph's.
    Last edited: May 5, 2011
  9. AlmostAPharmD

    AlmostAPharmD

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    OMG...this had me cracking up!
  10. Dr Wario

    Dr Wario Hey you! Want to try this pill?

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    I'd really like to know more concerning the specifics of walgreen's benefit package. I keep hearing about this profit sharing plan they have but so far it just sounds like a standard 401k match. I read on their website that they do offer company stock discounts, do they give stock options to pharmcists? How to bonuses work? What is the vacation/sick time like?

    I just ask mostly as a curiosity, I am currently gainfully employed but would like to see how the alternatives compare.
  11. rph74

    rph74

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    The match last year was somewhere around $3.25 to 1. I believe that the minimum is $2.75 to 1.

    You can buy stock at a 10% discount. You can buy in cash in full, or via a loan that gets automatically taken out of your check to pay it off.

    Stock options are offered. Usually its a 2 to 1 purchase. So you have to buy company stock to get stock options. For example if you buy 200 shares of stock, you get 400 stock options. The amount that you are allowed to buy varies. In 2012 you will be able to buy 10% of your salary in company stock, with a 2 to 1 stock option grant. In 2013 you can buy 7.5%, 2014 5%, 2015 2.5 %. You can only buy stock options once per 4 year "series". 2016 starts a new series so it goes back to 10% of your salary. Again, you can buy in cash in full, or via company stock loan.

    Yearly bonuses are offered to staff and Pharmacy managers. The amount varies by prescription volume.

    Vacation time as I remember it:

    1 year 1 week

    3 years 2 weeks

    5 years 3 weeks

    15 years 4 weeks

    25 years 5 weeks

    6 sick days per year. After 5 years of service you may bank sick days up to 30 days total.
  12. PharmaTope

    PharmaTope

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    that's pretty terrible. i got a question to walgreens pharmacists. how often do you think of killing yourself when working for walgreens? this is a serious question.
  13. FlavyFlav

    FlavyFlav

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    Working as a tech for Walgreen's is the reason I joined pharmacy school in the first place. I love the atmosphere and being able to shape the customer experience. The trick is to never allow anyone to blatantly walk all over you, be it patient, manager, DM, whoever. Establish yourself as a straight talker that works an honest day, and show patients you're more than willing to help them if they will help themselves and your day becomes much easier.

    Once you crack and start letting people get to you, they have exposed a weakness in you they will continue to exploit.

    The bottom line is, regardless where you choose to work, you're a professional. That means something. You went to school a long time, and dedicated a considerable portion of your life towards a path of aiding others and, believe it or not, that deserves a modicum of respect. Go throughout your day believing it and it can make work just a little bit easier and less stressful.

    As for vacation, I'm at 5 years with the company now, 3 weeks a year and you get to bank a week. When I graduate I'll have 3 weeks banked so 6 total weeks of vacation to work with. Profit sharing is a great asset to have, my account (as considerably small as it is, understandably) has grown every year (minimum 5% up to 10% increase) and the match isn't exactly bad. I would like some people to post up a comparison of other companies so I could see some real numbers. Also, if anyone bought in on WAG stock back when it was 25 is not frowning at the 42 it's at now, just saying :)

    EDIT: You can bank sick days starting year 1, I know because I have max banked sick days at 5 years (around 30 I think). You also get life insurance for free (not much but it's something), $5 copays at take-care clinics when you just need an antibiotic but don't want to go to the doctor, a great disability plan, and more. It's all about making the system work for you.
  14. pezdispenser

    pezdispenser

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    Correction, it's 2 weeks in your 2nd full calendar year of working. So if you started now, May 2011, you get 1 week in 2012 and 2 weeks in 2013.

    If you've been a pharmacist for 5 or 15 years, you can negotiate when you get hired to jump straight to the 3 or 4 week levels, respectively.
  15. pezdispenser

    pezdispenser

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    You get company paid life insurance of 1x your salary at 1 year and 1.5x your salary at 3 years.
  16. TonyRx

    TonyRx Hamburglar

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    From what I've read/researched with other companies, Walgreens Profit Sharing and match is pretty darn good. A lot of companies barely match $1/$1 let alone ~$3/$1. I've been with Walgreens since 2005, in Profit Sharing since 2008 and I've accumulated a pretty nice chunk of change, so has my wife whom is a Manager with the company.

    Regarding contributing the max above the 2% match, the only downfall is any money exceeding the match will be taxed when/if you decide to withdraw. Might be better of just doing the 2%, and then investing that "extra" money into a ROTH or something that won't hit you with taxes when you withdraw from it later down the road. I believe Clark Howard from CNN explains all that jazz in very good detail on his website, specifically utilizing company profit sharing programs and maximizing your return.
  17. pezdispenser

    pezdispenser

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    Everything gets taxed when you make withdrawals from a 401(k)--your first 2%, anything beyond 2%, the match and the earnings. That's because it was not taxed when you contributed.
  18. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Funny guy!
  19. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Walgreens benefits are no different than every other chain. My grocery store has almost the same benefits. 401k match up to 5% of salary plus a yearly compnay contribution of $2,000, same vacation schedule, similar pay structure, bonus for Managers ect. The only difference is stock options. There is no set policy for granting stock options. They do it when they feel like it.
  20. rph74

    rph74

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    Thanks for the correction, I had a feeling there was a change somewhere for 2 weeks vacation.

    Very true about the ability to negotiate for more vacation time. That often makes other veteran Walgreen's folk a bit upset. But I understand why they need to do it to attract a rph from another company.
  21. TonyRx

    TonyRx Hamburglar

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    Okay gotcha, in that case would it be beneficial to just do the 2%...although you get taxed at least you are getting a match on that money? Then, instead of contributing excess money above the 2% only to be taxed on it later, put that money into a ROTH or something better long run? Just curious, I believe I heard someone on the news talking about a strategy like that.
  22. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst Lowest common denominator Moderator Emeritus

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    It may not be a bad idea to do more if you were doing income based repayment to lower your adjusted gross income. Not sure, but something I'm thinking about as I graduate and have 6 months to the start of repayment.
  23. pezdispenser

    pezdispenser

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    Yes. A common strategy is to first contribute enough to your 401(k) to get the maximum employer match (2% at Walgreens). Second, contribute up to $5,000 to a Roth IRA. If you still want to save more, then third, go back and make unmatched contributions to your 401(k) up to $16,500.
  24. TonyRx

    TonyRx Hamburglar

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    Ok, thanks.
  25. FlavyFlav

    FlavyFlav

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    Doesn't it also depend on if you're borderline on tax brackets, you can contribute some to bring you right below a certain tax bracket?
  26. StevePerry

    StevePerry

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    The salary is about tree fitty

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