Career as a Pharmacist

A career as a pharmacist means that you will handling prescription drugs on a daily basis. As a pharmacist you will be responsible for making sure that patients receive the correct medication in the correct dosage.

What to Expect

Pharmacists are trained professionals who are able to handle prescription drugs to patients. A career as a pharmacist is an important part of the health care industry. Pharmacists are able to monitor dosages, medication, and its side effects on patients. They often work in stores that specialize in prescription drug medications and over the counter medicines.

Their responsibilities are numerous and can include;

  • Preparing doses
  • Monitoring the progress of patients
  • Making sure that patients are using the medication in safe manner
  • Compounding
  • Advise patients on the proper use of medications
  • Dispensing medication

When you seek out a career as a pharmacist you will find that the majority of the positions are within retail stores. These stores often have a small pharmacy located within the actual store and sell items that include food, clothing, and other items. Pharmacists are also found in hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

The primary duty of a pharmacist is to dispense medication as directed by doctors. A career as a pharmacist does not end there, however, as they are responsible for other duties.

Pharmacists are responsible for;

  • Counseling patients about medication including possible side effects
  • Going over the proper medication procedure and amount with patients
  • Advising patients about proper diet, nutrition, and exercise requirements
  • Providing information about new products such improved medical equipment

A career as a pharmacist may also mean that you will be responsible for supervising a staff, ordering inventory, and overseeing general operations.

The duty of a pharmacist working in a hospital or other medical facilities differs from that of a pharmacist in retail sales. Pharmacists in healthcare facilities are still responsible for properly dispensing medication but they also advise physicians on medications and their effects. They also make sterile solutions, counsel patients, and monitor drug programs.

Education, Training, and Certification

Pharmacist must have a license in order to practice in the industry. They must also hold a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and be able to pass several tests. There are several accredited schools that offer pharmacy programs. In order to be eligible you must have completed at least 2 years in a professional study program with courses in;


  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Natural science

Courses in social sciences are also recommended for those interested in a career as a pharmacist . Pharmacy degree takes at least 4 years to complete and teach students a variety of skills. Communication, drug therapy, and basic patient care are just some of the skills taught to students seeking their pharmacy degree.

Residency programs do exist for those interested in a career as a pharmacist. Participating in a residency program allows potential pharmacist to experience what the field is actually like.

Along with the proper education and licensing those interested in a career as a pharmacist should have;

  • A friendly personality
  • A scientific aptitude
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Ability to communicate clearly

Employment Options

The majority of pharmacist works in retail settings earing an hourly wage. There are a small number of pharmacists who are self-employed though for the most part they either work in retail or in healthcare facilities.

Employment Outlook

Those interested in a career as a pharmacist will be pleased that the industry is expected to experience continued growth. This is due to the increased need of prescription medication and the increasing population of the elderly population.

Projected Salary

A pharmacist salary depends on if the pharmacist works in retail, privately, or in healthcare facilities. The average annual salary is $100,000.

The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies,  Material "Adapted"

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