With such a big budget comes a wide variety of pharmaceutical jobs, all of which have very different functions and backgrounds. If you are interested in a career in pharmaceuticals, read on to find out more.
Retail-Related and Hospital Pharmacists
Pharmaceutical jobs that work every day in grocery stores, hospitals or health clinics typically make a salary of roughly $93,000 to $99,000 per year. These pharmaceutical job opportunities require a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, as well as certification from the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). In retail locations, pharmacists speak with patients on a daily basis about how their medication can interact with other medications they may be taking, possible dietary restrictions and potential side effects of each drug. In a hospital setting, pharmaceutical jobs work with both doctors and patients to distribute medications correctly.
Independent pharmaceutical jobs are very similar to retail pharmacists in how frequently they deal with patient questions and earn between $55,000 and $90,000 annually. Where they vary is that independent pharmacists are typically not part of a chain retailer, but own the stores they work in and are in charge of keeping it running. In addition to prescription medications, independent pharmacists may also stock a number of over the counter medications and may give store customers advice on which medications they need for particular illnesses.
Most pharmacies need more than just a pharmacist to run smoothly. Pharmacy aids are pharmaceutical jobs that mostly deal with insurance paperwork, keeping track of inventory and general administrative support for the pharmacist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006 these pharmaceutical job opportunities made somewhere between $8.97 and $11.35 per hour.
Pharmacy technicians also support a pharmacist, though, as the name implies, in a more technical role. This particular pharmaceutical job actually handles medications, portioning them out to fill a patient's prescription, as well as printing and making sure that labels are accurate. All of a pharmacy technician's work is supposed to be checked over by the actual pharmacist before it gets to the patient for consumption. While not a requirement in most states, pharmacy technicians can get certified through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) to show that they have had some training and knowledge of what their pharmaceutical job is. In 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that this pharmaceutical job paid between $11.50 and $13.86 per hour.
Pharmaceutical Sales Rep
A pharmaceutical sales representative travels to various hospitals, medical facilities and doctors to educate them about their newest pharmaceutical products in order to sell them. Because this particular pharmaceutical job has so many people to talk to in different places, they often spend as many as 200 days per year traveling. As of 2009, a survey by CNN Money found that a pharmaceutical sales rep earns about $58,094 per year. The best training for this pharmaceutical job is a strong background in sales, as well as some study of business, chemistry and biology in order to understand their products better.