Pharmacist

Job Description

Most Pharmacists work in pharmacies and drugstores, but clinics and hospitals also employ in-house Pharmacists to dispense medications directly to patients. Health care workers often rely on Pharmacists’ specialized expertise to help select and administer proper medications. Pharmacists may participate in patient rounds in hospitals, conduct clinical trials or research, help reduce the spread of disease, or focus on a specific health condition (e.g., asthma, diabetes, HIV, pain management).

A Pharmacist is often the most accessible health care professional available to the general public, as most people in this country live within 2 miles of a pharmacy. Patients often consult with Pharmacists about the safe and appropriate use of medications — both prescribed and over-the-counter. Pharmacists play a vital role in helping people recover from illnesses and stay healthy.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to evaluate their suitability
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage
  • Plan, implement or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics
  • Manage pharmacy operations, including hiring or supervising staff, performing administrative duties, and buying or selling non-pharmaceutical merchandise
  • Contact insurance companies to resolve billing issues
  • Compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or overseeing these activities

Education and Background

A master’s degree in Pharmacy is required; Pharm.D. is preferred. A Pharmacist needs a current state license, which requires passing two exams.

Skills and Competencies

  • Thorough understanding of dosage administration and measurement, chemical compounds, medical brands, etc.
  • Excellent verbal communication and customer-service skills
  • Strong understanding of the major pharmaceutical computer software platforms
  • Enhanced problem-solving and critical thinking skills

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Pharmacist with

1 year of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $99,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $97,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $98,000
  • Miami, Florida: $100,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $103,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $101,000
  • Houston, Texas: $104,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $109,000
  • New York, New York: $108,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $109,000
  • Overall: $102,000

5 years of experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $104,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $105,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $105,000
  • Miami, Florida: $106,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $108,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $109,000
  • Houston, Texas: $109,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $122,000
  • New York, New York: $112,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $117,000
  • Overall: $118,000

Similar Job Titles

Career Path

The career path for a Pharmacist starts by first earning a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in the sciences, whether chemistry, biology, or physics. Then candidates must take and pass the PCAT (Pharmacy College Admission Test). Pharmacists are required to have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) postgraduate professional degree. An advanced position requires a one- or two-year residency. Last, every state requires Pharmacists to be licensed, with additional certifications needed for administering vaccinations and immunizations.

Position Trends

Americans are taking more medicine than ever before, especially prescription drugs. Scientific advances continually lead to new pharmaceuticals, which increases the demand for distribution outlets.

Older people typically need more medicine than young people. As the oversized baby-boom generation ages, the demand for prescription medications increases. Also boosting demand: the rising rate of obesity in the United States, as well as chronic diseases such as diabetes.

This upward trend in the consumption of medicine would seem to boost the need for more Pharmacists. However, more and more consumers are buying their medications online or through mail order, which leads to fewer positions available for Pharmacists in retail settings. Demand for Pharmacists in health care settings such as hospitals and clinics is likely to increase.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for a Pharmacist (and similar positions) shows zero job growth, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This lack of growth is due in part to the increasing sales of medications via mail order and online pharmacies, which flattens employment in retail settings. So while the demand for Pharmacists is not increasing, is also is not decreasing.

Typical Work Hours

Although some Pharmacists work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, many work extended hours due to pharmacies being open at nights and on weekends.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Explore Health Careers

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