How to Be a Pharmacist

The Pharmacist Job Overview:

A pharmacist is a health professional who dispenses prescription drugs to patients. They also advise patients on the specific information inherent to each drug that is prescribed by their doctors and how to take the medication safely. Pharmacists also explain how it will affect the patient alone and in combination with other medication they may be taking.

Education Needed to be a Pharmacist:

The educational requirements for a pharmacist are a doctorate in pharmacology known as a Pharm.D. at an accredited medical school. Before attending a pharmacy medical school aspiring pharmacists must obtain a 2 year degree in a medical or biological major with subjects such as math, biology, chemistry, physics, humanities and social sciences as well as pass a pharmacy college admissions test.

Other Requirements to be a Pharmacist:

Many countries and states require additional requirements to work as a pharmacist such as national, state or local governmental examinations on pharmacology knowledge and local laws that affect pharmacology to earn the license to practice as a pharmacist in that area. Laws and regulations are different from country to country and state to state, so a pharmacist must take additional exams and licensing tests to practice in additional locations outside of their local area or state area.

Advancement as a Pharmacist:

In the pharmacist career field, advancement is very possible in a variety of ways. A pharmacist is likely to start out as a junior pharmacist or even an assistant and work their way up in the business as they gain experience. They can become a lead or senior pharmacist for a pharmacy, taking on a more managerial position over the other employees in the pharmacy. They also have the option to broaden their career scope and open their own pharmacy and employ others to take over the public aspect of the business for them. A pharmacist may also take their education and experience and use it to take a position as an instructor or professor at an educational institution as well.

Future Prospect for Jobs as a Pharmacist:

The medical field is one that is always in demand and becoming more of a necessity as society grows more health conscious. The pharmacology field is one that is ever growing and the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates it will grow 25% faster between 2010 and 2020 than other career occupations.

Expected Salary as a Pharmacist:

The salary for a pharmacist varies by factors such as geographical location, education, experience and the job sector they are employed in. However on average, the annual median salary of a pharmacist is $110,000 or £69,000.

A Day-in-the-Life of a Pharmacist:

The job duties of a pharmacist throughout the day varies based upon job held, education, experience, etc., but a typical day may include:

  • Advising doctors and other health practitioners on medication dosages, selection, drug interactions and the possible side effects of medications
  • Monitoring the overall health and improvement of their patients in response to drug therapies they are partaking in
  • Offering patient advise and Q&A about any prescription drugs they may be taking, information on drug side effects and the possible interactions of the various drugs the patients might be taking as well
  • Giving helpful information and recommendations for over the counter drugs to fit a patient's medical needs

A pharmacist's typical day may also include:

  • Providing advice on diet, exercise and stress management
  • Helping patients manage medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure or cholesterol and quitting smoking
  • Advising patients on DME's (durable medical equipment) and home health care supplies
  • Completion of third party insurance forms and various other medical paperwork

Those pharmacists who manage or own a pharmacy or drugstore typically also supervise and manage employees, take care of employee paperwork, etc.


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