Pharmacy is one of the oldest professions in the world and it has become a vital profession that everyone can take part in. There are many jobs available for pharmacists, but only a few people work as pharmacists due to specific requirements that need to be met.
The current pharmacist industry in the United States has grown on an average of 2.6% per year from 2016 to 2021. So it’s essential for anyone who wants to work as a pharmacist in the future to get themselves ready for this lucrative industry.
What is a Pharmacist?
The pharmacist is a profession that deals with the medicines and medical supplies used for healing people. A pharmacist is a person who provides health care services, such as diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications, administering injections, or delivering vaccines. Some of the most well-known professions in this field are medical doctors, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists. Most pharmacists work in a pharmacy, but some also work in hospitals and clinics. There are many other fields that can be used to describe this profession such as pharmaceutical technologist, medical scientist, or chemist. The main difference between these terms is the scope of their tasks. Pharmacists are required to have knowledge of the following:
- Medicines and medical supplies
- Laboratory techniques (such as chemical analysis)
- Basic chemistry, biology, and physics.
- They also need to be able to use different types of equipment for performing these tasks such as scales, measuring devices, microscopes, and test tubes.
What does a pharmacist do?
The main job of a pharmacist is to care for the health and well-being of patients.
They also have to ensure that all medications are stored appropriately, labeled correctly, and disposed of in a safe way if needed. Besides this, the pharmacists see if the pharmacy follows all regulations which are in place to protect the public from any side effects that may occur.
To perform their job effectively, pharmacists need to stay up-to-date with all the latest information regarding pharmaceutical regulations, laws, and practices. They should be aware of any new legislation that could impact pharmacy practice.
Another major role of pharmacists is to be aware of any drug abuse issues which may be occurring in the community. If necessary, they should report it to authorities.
As well as all of these things, pharmacists also act as educators, consultants, and support people for their patients.
Eligibility to become a pharmacist
Educational Background (High School)
To apply for the foundation degree in pharmacy, you will need to have completed your high school education. You can do this by graduating from either a public or private high school. A high school education will provide you with the basic knowledge required to apply for a foundation degree in pharmacy.
Skills and mindset required
- Learning and understanding scientific concepts (pharmacology, anatomy, physiology)
- Problem-solving skills (critical thinking and decision making)
- Teamwork skills (motivating and encouraging others to achieve their goals)
- Interpersonal skills – managing relations with patients, colleagues, and managers;
- Computer skills (essential)
- Communication skills (written and oral, face to face and electronic)
- Time management
- Stress management – the ability to deal with stressors in work-life; managing work-life balance;
- Motivation – how you will motivate yourself to work hard;
- Stress tolerance – the ability to cope with stressors in work-life; coping strategies
Pharmacy courses are based on an undergraduate degree program. In order to complete your degree, you will need to have completed your foundation program, which involves studying for a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. You will then be required to gain your doctor of Pharmacy degree.
Obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree
After you have completed your foundation degree in pharmacy, you will be required to complete a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) program, the final qualification needed to become a pharmacist.
Acquire a Pharmacist License
Once you have completed your Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D) program, you will be required to obtain a license from the state in which you are applying for work as a pharmacist. The requirements vary by state but generally require experience working as a pharmacist and passing a state licensing exam.
Participate in internships to gain experience
To become a pharmacist, you should participate in an internship. An internship will help you to gain relevant experience in the field and learn how to apply theoretical knowledge to real life. The duration of the internship depends on the field you are applying for and your chosen route to becoming a pharmacist.
How to become a pharmacist (Step-by-step)
To become a pharmacist, you will need to meet the minimum requirements for education and training. You can choose which course of study you would like to follow in order to gain the qualifications required by your profession. If you are interested in becoming a pharmacist, then it is recommended that you work towards the qualification requirements yourself.
Step 1 – Completing your high school education.
If you have completed your high school education, then this will provide you with the basic knowledge required to apply for a foundation degree in pharmacy.
Step 2 – Completing your Foundation Degree in Pharmacy
If you have completed your high school education and are interested in gaining further qualifications, then it is recommended that you complete your foundation degree in pharmacy. You can choose which course of study you would like to follow in order to gain the qualifications required by your profession.
Step 3 – Obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree
The Doctor of Pharmacy degree is a prerequisite to help you become a pharmacist and gain your pharmacist license. It is a professional degree that can provide you with clinical education and significant experience in the field.
Step 4 – Applying for a Pharmacist License
If you have completed all of the foundation degree courses and gained your license, this will provide you with additional experience and knowledge of the regulations. Procuring a pharmacist license is crucial because only registered pharmacists can prescribe medicines and drugs to patients.
Step 5 – Completing your Pharmacist Training Program
To become a pharmacist, you will need to complete your pharmacy training program. This can be done in either a classroom or an online setting. If you choose to complete your pharmacy training in an online setting, then it is recommended that you gain additional experience by working as a pharmacist for at least one year.
Salary of a pharmacist
Pharmacists work in many different industries such as pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and pharmacies. The average salary for a pharmacist is $113,000 per year or $54 per hour, which means that they are highly paid professionals. The salary of a pharmacist will depend on the type of company or organization that they work for and their experience. The following is a list of average salaries for pharmacists:
This will also depend on the type of Pharmacist that you are and their experience.
- Pharmacy Technician (PCT) – $27,000-$40,000 per year
- Academic Pharmacist – $132,000-$149,000 per year
- Senior Pharmacist – An average of $138,000 per year
- Pharmacy Manager – An average of $148,000 per year.
Entry-level salaries will depend on the industry that you work in and your experience. Pharmacists can have a wide range of job roles within the pharmaceutical industry.
Scope of Pharmacist in the US
Pharmacists are well known in the US as a specialized group of professionals. There are approximately more than 315,000 pharmacists working in the United States, and more than half of them work for retail pharmacies or chain stores. The most common position that a pharmacist can have is that of a manager. In this role, they are responsible for the daily operations of a pharmacy.
Pharmacists in the US work with their patients and doctors to determine which medication is best suited for them based on different factors such as patient history, lifestyle habits, medical history, and others. They also offer prescription refills to patients when necessary.
Most pharmacists work in retail pharmacies or chain stores, where they are usually the only Pharmacist on duty during the day. However, some pharmacists also work for independent pharmacies that operate within their own premises and do not need any outside help with dispensing prescriptions or medications.
A pharmacist can venture into other fields as well, such as research and development, manufacturing, or even consulting:
- Research and development- Pharmacists are often involved in the research and development of new medications. This involves analyzing different compounds to identify potential drugs that can be used for a wide range of medical conditions.
- Manufacturing- In this field, pharmacists make pharmaceuticals from raw materials such as chemicals, sugars, and other ingredients.
- Consulting- In this field, pharmacists can provide advice to doctors and patients on how best to take their medications as well as offer information on the side effects of different drugs.
Pharmacists in the US have a wide range of job roles within the profession. They can be found working in retail pharmacies, independent pharmacies, or even as a consultant for doctors and patients.
Job opportunities/ workplaces
There are many job opportunities for pharmacists in different industries. Some of the main areas that you can work within include:
Pharmacy Manager – these people oversee all aspects of the pharmacy, including ordering and stocking of products, customers’ interactions with pharmacists, and cost control.
Pharmacists – these people work in pharmacies and sell products to customers; they also help with administrative tasks such as counting pills or making up prescriptions. Pharmacists who work in this role are known as pharmacy technicians (PCTs).
Academic Pharmacist – these people work in universities and colleges; they are responsible for teaching students about pharmaceutical products. They also provide expert advice to students regarding prescription medication.
Pharmacy Technician (PCT) – these people work in pharmacies; they help customers with their medications by filling prescriptions or dispensing products.
Pharmacy Supervisor – these people oversee the activities of pharmacists and PCTs; they also manage budgets and cost control. They can organize staff rotas or arrange for training sessions.
Assistant Pharmacists- These professionals work under the direction of pharmacists to help them with their job duties such as dispensing medication, giving out medication to patients, and other related activities.
Clinical Pharmacy Technicians- These professionals work in clinics and hospitals to help pharmacists with dispensing medication to patients. They also ensure that the right medications are used for different medical conditions.
Pharmacy Directors- These professionals are in charge of all departments within a pharmacy, such as purchasing, dispensing, billing, and other related activities. They have authority over other employees to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
Pharmacy Administrators- These professionals work with pharmacists to ensure that they have the right information about their job duties and to help them in any way possible. They also take care of administrative matters such as hiring, firing, and disciplining employees.
This article has given you an insight into the different types of pharmacists, their roles, and what they do. It is important to note that not all pharmacists are the same. Every Pharmacist has a unique role in society and does something special with it.
I hope that this has been a helpful guide on what it takes to become a pharmacist. If you have any questions, comments, or would like me to do more guides, please leave them below, and I will be happy to help!
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be used as such. Please consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication or dietary supplements, especially if you are pregnant or nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking other medications.