Starting a Pharmacist Career: What to Expect

Are you thinking of becoming a pharmacist? If so, you’re making a great decision! Pharmacists are in high demand and can make a good living.

However, it’s important to understand what to expect. From dealing with patients to managing medications, pharmacists have a lot of responsibility.

So, what is it really like to have a pharmacist career? Well, keep reading to find out.

What Does a Pharmacist Do?

A pharmacist is a medical professional who specializes in the science of drugs and their effects on the human body. They are responsible for dispensing medications to patients.

They also provide them with information about the proper use and side effects of those medications. Pharmacists also play a key role in ensuring that prescriptions are filled correctly and safely.

The Necessary Pharmacist Training

Pharmacists must complete a four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited pharmacy school. In addition to completing coursework in pharmacy, students must also complete courses in biology. They’re required to finish, chemistry, and physics, too. Upon graduation, pharmacists must pass a national licensing exam to practice.

Most pharmacists also complete a one- to two-year residency program after graduation. Residencies provide pharmacists with advanced training in a specific area of pharmacy practice. This includes hospital pharmacy or community pharmacy.

Licensed pharmacists can also choose to pursue additional training. This is done through fellowships or advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science in Pharmacy (M.S.P.) or a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacy (Ph.D.).

Where Do Pharmacists Work?

The majority of pharmacists work in community pharmacies, such as drugstores or grocery stores. They may also work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or other healthcare facilities. Some pharmacists even work for the government or pharmaceutical companies.

How Much Do Pharmacists Make?

The median annual salary for pharmacists was $120,950 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The top 10% of earners made more than $161,250, while the bottom 10% made less than $87,420.

Pharmacists in the top 10% of earners worked in industries such as management of companies and enterprises, scientific research and development, and outpatient care centers. The states with the highest levels of employment for pharmacists were California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

The BLS projects that employment for pharmacists will grow by 2% from 2021 to 2031. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations. The aging population will need more medications to treat chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, the increasing use of prescription drugs will also lead to higher demand for pharmacists.

Overall, pharmacists can expect to have good job prospects in the coming years. Those with experience and advanced training will have the best job prospects.

The Different Types of Pharmacists

There are many several types of pharmacists, each with their own area of expertise. Here are a few of the most common:

Clinical Pharmacists

Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals or other healthcare settings and are responsible for dispensing medications and providing patient care. They may also be involved in teaching and research. To become a clinical pharmacist, applicants must have a Pharm.D. degree and complete a one- to two-year residency program.

Community Pharmacists

Community pharmacists dispense medications and provide customer service in drugstores or grocery stores. To become a community pharmacist, applicants must have a Pharm.D. degree and pass a national licensing exam.

Hospital Pharmacists

Hospital pharmacists work in hospitals and are responsible for dispensing medications and providing patient care. To start a pharmacist career as a hospital pharmacist, interested candidates must have a Pharm.D. degree and complete a one- to two-year residency program.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives

Pharmaceutical sales representatives sell drugs and other medical products to doctors, pharmacists, and healthcare providers. To become a pharmaceutical sales representative, applicants typically need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, some employers may prefer candidates with a degree in pharmacy or a related field.

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists in dispensing medications and provides customer service. To start a medical career as a pharmacy technician, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states also require certification.

How to Know if a Pharmacist Career Is Right for You

Now that you know more about what pharmacists do and the different types of pharmacist careers available, you may be wondering if this is the right career for you. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

Do I Have a Passion for Helping Others?

Having a passion for others is vital because as a pharmacist you will be working with patients on a daily basis. You should be compassionate and caring in order to provide the best possible care for your patients.

Do I Have Strong Communication Skills?

As a pharmacist, you will need to communicate with patients, doctors, and other healthcare providers on a daily basis. Strong communication skills are essential in order to effectively communicate with others.

Do I Have Strong Problem-Solving Skills?

Problem-solving skills are important because as a pharmacist. You’ll be responsible for solving medication-related problems. You should be able to think critically and solve problems quickly and effectively.

Do I Have an Interest in Science and Medicine?

A pharmacist career is a good fit for those with an interest in science and medicine. You should be comfortable working with science and math concepts and understand the importance of your job as a pharmacist.

Begin a Rewarding Pharmacist Career

The bottom line is that pharmacists are valuable healthcare professionals who make a real difference in the lives of patients. If you’re thinking about starting a pharmacist career, we hope this article has helped to give you a better understanding of what the role entails.

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