Pharmacist

Industry:
Healthcare
Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

A pharmacist's job description includes ensuring the proper dispensing and use of medications in the healthcare industry. They are responsible for managing patient medications, counseling about drug interactions and side effects, and verifying prescription accuracy. They work alongside doctors and nurses to make sure every patient is getting the right medications for their condition.

Pharmacists also play a vital role in monitoring patient health history to make recommendations to prescribers on alternative therapies or medication adjustments. Additionally, they may perform medication therapy management, collaborate with insurance companies, and manage inventory and records.

Pharmacist job descriptions may also vary based on the work setting they are in. They can work in hospitals, clinics, retail pharmacies, or even government agencies. In short, pharmacists are an integral part of the healthcare industry, ensuring that patients receive top-notch care and the proper use of their medications.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Dispensing medications prescribed by doctors and other healthcare professionals.
  • Checking medication interactions and potential side effects to ensure safe use.
  • Providing instructions on medication administration and proper usage.
  • Monitoring patients’ health conditions and medication efficacy.
  • Collaborating with healthcare professionals to develop personalized treatment plans.
  • Compounding and preparing medications according to patient needs.
  • Managing medication inventory and ensuring proper storage and disposal.
  • Educating patients on disease prevention and self-care.
  • Staying up-to-date with new medications and healthcare technologies.
  • Adhering to legal and ethical standards in the pharmacy profession.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a pharmacist, you'll usually need a college degree and some hands-on training. That means you'll need to go to college for at least six years - that's four years of undergraduate coursework and then two years of pharmacy school. During that time, you'll learn about the chemicals that go into medicines, how to read prescriptions, and how to identify drug interactions. You'll also do clinical rotations - that's where you work side-by-side with a pharmacist to learn the ropes. After you graduate, you'll then need to pass a licensure exam in order to legally practice as a pharmacist.

Salary Range

Pharmacists are highly respected medical professionals who are responsible for dispensing medication, advising patients on the proper use of their prescriptions, and ensuring that medications are safe and effective. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2020, the median annual salary for a pharmacist in the United States is $128,710, with the lowest 10% earning less than $89,790 and the highest 10% earning more than $165,980. Keep in mind that salaries may vary based on factors such as experience, education, and location. In Canada, the median annual salary for a pharmacist is around CAD 105,000, while in the UK, it's around £40,000 to £70,000 depending on the location and experience. 

Sources: 

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2020). Pharmacists. 
  • PayScale. (2021). Pharmacist Salary. 
  • NHS. (2021). Pharmacists.

Career Outlook

The career outlook for a pharmacist in the healthcare industry over the next 5 years is positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of pharmacists is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is due in part to the aging baby boomer population, which requires more medications and health services. Additionally, advancements in technology and research are bringing new drugs to market, creating an increased need for experts to manage complex medications. Overall, the demand for pharmacists is expected to remain steady, making it a reliable career path in the healthcare industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a pharmacist do?

A: A pharmacist is responsible for dispensing medication, providing advice, and ensuring that patients receive the appropriate treatment. They may also offer guidance on dosages, interactions, and side effects of drugs.

Q: What qualifications do I need to become a pharmacist?

A: To become a pharmacist, you will need to complete a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy or Biochemistry, followed by a PharmD (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree. You will also need to pass a licensure examination.

Q: What skills do I need to work as a pharmacist?

A: You will need to have excellent communication skills, as you will be interacting with patients, doctors, and other healthcare professionals. Attention to detail, good organizational skills, and a strong understanding of pharmacology are also important.

Q: What are the working hours for a pharmacist?

A: Pharmacist can work in different healthcare settings with varying hours. Mostly pharmacists work fulltime with some working at night and during weekends. Some hospital pharmacists may also have to be on call.

Q: What is the job outlook for pharmacists?

A: The job outlook for pharmacists is positive, with employment expected to grow in the coming years. Population growth, aging baby boomers, and advances in pharmaceuticals contribute to this trend, increasing the need for pharmacists in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare settings.


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