All about a career as a pharmacist

  • Pharmacists work with physicians to provide the right medications and treatments to patients.
    Pharmacists work with physicians to provide the right medications and treatments to patients.

    All about a career as a pharmacist

    If you’re interested in helping the public and creating a healthier society, you might consider a career as a pharmacist. These important medical professionals help treat the many diseases and mental health issues patients face the U.S.

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for pharmacists is expected to rise 6 percent through 2026. Read on to find out some essential information regarding careers in pharmacy and learn how you can join this fulfilling, lucrative career.

    The job duties of pharmacists

    As a pharmacist, you have the important responsibility of prescribing medications to patients and communicating with physicians regarding the right dosage to administer. Other common tasks that pharmacists perform include:

    • Providing immunizations
    • Performing health and wellness screenings
    • Ensuring that medications will not negatively interact with other prescriptions the patient is taking
    • Informing patients about the potential side effects associated with medications
    • Monitoring the work of pharmacy technicians and pharmacy interns

    Not all pharmacists are in charge of making the medications themselves, as a majority of products come from pharmaceutical companies. However, they may need to create customized medications to meet patients’ rare or specific health needs in a process known as compounding.

    Pharmacist work environments and hours

    Although a majority of pharmacists work for large-scale drug store chains, others run their own independent practices. According to the BLS, the most common work environments for pharmacists include the following:

    • Pharmacies and drug stores: 43 percent
    • Hospitals: 25 percent
    • General merchandise stores: 8 percent
    • Food and beverage stores: 7 percent

    Most pharmacists keep traditional full-time, daytime hours. However, some pharmacists must work evening and late-night shifts in pharmacies that operate late or 24 hours a day.

    Salary outlook

    Since pharmacists play such important roles in the public health sector, their earnings are generally relatively generous. The median salary for pharmacists in 2017 was $124,170, according to the BLS.

    According to PayScale, entry-level pharmacists with less than five years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of $109,000. However, individuals pursuing this career at an entry level can expect a salary on the lower end of the scale, at approximately $76,000.

    How to become a pharmacist

    You might be wondering what it takes to become involved in this crucial role in public health. Pharmacists are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree before joining the practice. Ideally, candidates should look into programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE).

    Here is a mere handful of universities that are ACPE-accredited:

    If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pharmacist but don’t have an advanced degree in Pharmacy & Pharmacology, start browsing ACPE-accredited universities to find the right master’s and doctorate program for you.

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