A Career as a Pharmacist

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If you are looking for a rewarding career in the pharmaceutical industry, you might want to think about becoming a pharmacist. Pharmacists dispense drugs that doctors prescribe for patients. Additionally, they advise patients on dosages and side effects. Pharmacists also monitor the health and progress of patients to ensure that patients use prescribed drugs safely and benefit from them. Currently, most pharmaceutical companies manufacture drugs in standard dosages, reducing the need for compounding drugs in the pharmacy.


Many pharmacists choose to work in retail and community settings, while others prefer to work in-house for health clinics or medical institutions.

Pharmacists who work for healthcare facilities often choose to obtain training in specialty fields like intravenous nutrition support, geriatric pharmacy, oncology, or nuclear pharmacy. Many pharmacists also prepare and administer intravenous drugs to patients, especially those suffering from cancer and other advanced diseases. Additionally, pharmacists are responsible for keeping accurate records of drugs administered to patients. Many senior pharmacists work as faculty members at academic institutions, where they teach, conduct research, and prepare students for graduation and licensure.

Many pharmacists find work with pharmaceutical companies, where they can become involved in research and development. Other pharmacists work in marketing and sales, promoting their companies' products to doctors, hospitals, and allied health professionals. Other employers include government bodies and public healthcare services.

Employment Opportunities

In the United States, a significant number of pharmacists work part time. Most full-time pharmacists work 40 hours per week with occasional overtime. However, many self-employed pharmacists put in more than 50 hours per week. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 230,000 pharmacy jobs in the U.S. in 2004. Around 24% of salaried pharmacists work in hospitals, while others work for retail and community pharmacies, clinics, healthcare agencies, or the federal government.


Pharmacy is a relatively high-paying professional field. In May 2004, the median earnings of pharmacists were between $75,700 and around $95,000 per year. Pharmacists working for department stores earned the highest salaries, followed by those employed by grocery stores, health and personal care boutiques, hospitals, and other general outlets.

Qualifications and Licensure

In the United States, all pharmacists need to have licenses to practice. Prospective pharmacists are also required to possess degrees accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX). Furthermore, 43 states, including the District of Columbia, require candidates to pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE). Additionally, candidates licensed in one state may need to pass a reexamination in another state. It is always advisable to check the examination requirements of other states before applying for a licensing examination.


Pharmacists should be practical and methodical and should have scientific aptitude. They should also have a strong desire to help others. Aspiring pharmacists can conduct independent searches online to find relevant educational institutions and prospective employers in this field.
On the net:Bureau of Labor Statistics: Pharmacists

Careers in Pharmacy
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