Pharmacist essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $116,670
- 2011, number of jobs: 281,560
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 25 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Doctoral or professional degree
Pharmacists; what they do:
Pharmacists play a major role in helping people get healthy or remain healthy. Pharmacists have the immensely important responsibility of assuring doctor ordered medication is correctly prepared, distributed, and instructed how to use to patients. Pharmacist careers include supervising pharmacy technicians and pharmacist interns.
Pharmacists must not only assure medication is correctly made according to a doctor’s order, but they must also check its ingredients against any other medications a patient uses to assure no dangerous or unhealthy interactions between medications can occur.
A pharmacist career includes frequently speaking directly with clients, instructing them how to properly take medication, warning of possible normal side effects, and offering general health advice.
Pharmacists must also regularly work with insurance companies and fill out insurance forms.
If a pharmacist owns their own store, or manages a chain pharmacy, they spend more time performing business tasks. Pharmacists working in universities or for pharmaceutical manufacturers conduct research and test new medications.
In addition to their varied daily duties, pharmacists participate in continuing education courses in order to keep up with the ever-evolving pharmacological advances.
Pharmacists generally work either in retail or as one of the following specializations: clinical pharmacists, consultant pharmacists, or as a college professor.
Pharmacists job titles:
- Staff Pharmacist
- Clinical Pharmacist
- Pharmacist in Charge
- Pharmacy Manager
- Registered Pharmacist
- Hospital Pharmacist
- Outpatient Pharmacy Manager
- Pharmacist Informaticist
- Consultant Pharmacist
Pharmacists Education, Certification and License Requirements
A pharmacist career begins with a Doctorate in Pharmacy degree. In order to get into most Doctor of Pharmacy programs, an individual must have at least two to three years of undergraduate study or a bachelor’s degree, and usually also pass the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT).
Pharmacists planning to own their own store sometimes opt to obtain a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree or a Masters of Public Health degree.
Pharmacists desiring an advanced pharmacy position, such as a clinical pharmacy or research job, must complete an additional one to two-year residency after graduating from a Doctor of Pharmacy program.
Pharmacists programs cover subjects such as:
- Medical ethics
- Disease treatments
- Drug absorption rates
- Patient care
- Medicinal chemistry
In every state pharmacists need a license prior to practicing. Licensure involves passing two exams; one testing pharmacy skills and knowledge, and one testing pharmacy law in the specific state the pharmacist chooses to practice in.
Pharmacists Job Outlook
Forecast: 25 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for pharmacists, faster than the average for all occupations.
New drug products, more individuals obtaining medical insurance, and a large aging population in need of additional prescription drugs increases the demand for pharmacists. More pharmacist jobs are expected in physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, and nursing homes.
- 2011 median annual wage: $116,670
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $133,700
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $103,350
- Pharmacies and drug stores
- Hospitals; state, local, and private
- Grocery stores
- Department stores
- General merchandise stores