Becoming a Pharmacist: A Job Profile

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A pharmacist is responsible for organizing and distributing medicine to patients. A pharmacist career may also require one to work in a variety of different settings, as some pharmacists work for chain drug stores and others work in hospitals or other medical facilities.

The Duties of a Pharmacist

The pharmacist is responsible for making certain patients get the proper medication at the proper dosages as prescribed by their doctors. In addition to giving patients the proper medication, the pharmacist must also be able to answer the patients’ questions about the medications while also making certain that patients are aware of the potential side effects associated with their medications.



The work environment for the pharmacist is usually clean and well-lit, though the pharmacist usually has to spend a great deal of time on his or her feet. The job can also often require wearing gloves, masks, or other protective equipment when dealing with drugs. Interacting with customers can be an important part of the job, but it does not necessarily happen on a regular basis. Rather, pharmacists are more often called upon to coordinate and manage the employees they oversee, as these individuals more regularly deal with the public.

Most people with pharmacist jobs work around forty hours per week, but some work 50+ hours. Depending on the place of employment, the pharmacist may work variable hours. This may include working on the weekend and possibly working evening hours. In addition, some pharmacists work only part time. Traveling for training may be a necessary component of the job, but it is not common.

Promotion is possible for a pharmacist career if the given pharmacist works for a chain drug store, as he or she may become a pharmacy supervisor or manager at the store level. He or she may also potentially advance to become a district or regional manager. Working in hospitals, on the other hand, allows a pharmacist the possibility of being promoted to a supervisor or administrative position.

Educational Requirements for a Pharmacist

A PharmD degree from a college or school of pharmacy must be earned in order to become a pharmacist. The PharmD is the degree that replaced the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree that was once required for this career.

The PharmD degree can only be gained if a candidate has completed at least two years of college study, although most often at least three years must be completed before pursuing the degree. Over ninety-two colleges offer programs for the degree, and about seventy percent of PharmD programs require incoming pharmacists to take and pass the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT) before being accepted into the program.

The main subjects of study for pharmacy applicants are drug therapy, communication with patients and other professionals, public health concerns, and medication distribution management. PhD and master’s degrees are also available within the field. In addition, further training is available for those interested in seeking fellowships. Pharmacists who engage in these programs must complete a significant amount of research. Licenses to practice are required for every pharmacist in every state within the United States, though specific requirements vary from state to state.
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