Job description: What does a pharmacist do?
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about risks and side effects. Right. Because pharmacists are experts when it comes to the composition and mode of action of drugs or their interaction with other drugs.
The main occupation of pharmacists is developing, manufacturing, testing, and dispensing medicines and advising customers. This requires in-depth knowledge of:
- Quality control
These are acquired by pharmacists in their pharmacy studies. But the road to pharmacy service is long. Pharmacists are only allowed to practice their profession after they have passed state examination and earn Doctor of Pharmacy degree by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and obtained a license to practice medicine.
Professional alternatives are available in the pharmaceutical industry as a pharmacist: From the manufacture and development of drugs or dermatological products to the manufacture and development of devices for measuring blood sugar or diagnostic imaging to pharmacovigilance, which is the monitoring of the safety of a finished drug.
The career prospects are good to very good both in the pharmacy environment and in the pharmaceutical industry, although the development opportunities in the industry are more diverse.
In the pharmacy, the working day is determined by the opening hours of the pharmacy. But medication is also needed at night or on Sundays and public holidays. And so it is important to alternate with other regional pharmacies to push emergency services.
While in the pharmacy the career goal is usually achieved with the assumption of management, in large industrial corporations there is an opportunity for a career at home and abroad. This usually goes hand in hand with an above-average salary. However, these professions are associated with considerable responsibility and travel, which inevitably leads to compromises in work-life balance.
Education: How do you become a pharmacist?
The path to a pharmacist’s job profile leads through a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from a pharmacy program accredited by the (ACPE). Each U.S. state licenses pharmacists. All applicants must pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX). The study of pharmacy extends to a standard period of eight semesters plus an eight-week internship.
During their university training, prospective pharmacists are taught specialist knowledge in the following areas:
- General, inorganic and organic chemistry
- Pharmaceutical analytics
- Physical basics
- Dosage form theory
- Basics of general and human biology
- Biochemistry and pathobiochemistry
- Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy
- Biogenic drugs
- Medicinal chemistry
- Drug analysis
- Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacy
After passing state examination, the practical year follows, which is supplemented by an accompanying range of courses. Prospective pharmacists generally complete half of the practical year in a pharmacy. As for the focus in the second part of the practical year, you can choose your field of activity. The choices are:
- The pharmaceutical industry
- A university institute
- A hospital pharmacy
During this time, prospective pharmacists learn to apply the theoretical knowledge they have acquired during their studies in practice. What has been learned is checked in the examination.
The graduates can then apply for a license to practice medicine. It is the legal requirement for practicing the pharmacist profession. In addition to the exam, a medical certificate and a police clearance certificate are required. The job title “pharmacist” may only be used after the license (NAPLEX) has been granted.
Employer: Who is looking for pharmacists
Advising customers, selling medication, redeeming prescriptions – that is only the part of the job profile that takes place in the foreground of a pharmacy. But much more is happening in the rooms that are not open to customers.
For example, pharmacists examine samples of drugs in the laboratory to ensure drug safety. In doing so, they came across many a defect.
With the pharmacist job profile, graduates also have excellent entry opportunities in the pharmaceutical industry. Everyday life here revolves primarily around the development and testing of pharmaceutical preparations. There are also career prospects in the following sectors:
- Health offices and authorities
- Environmental Protection
- Research and Teaching
- Health insurance
- Forensic science
- Specialized journalism
Salary: How much does a pharmacist make?
The income in the pharmacy is specified in the agreement for employed pharmacists. In industry, income depends on the size of the company, the region, and individual experience.
Map of pharmacist salaries
The darker areas on the map show where pharmacists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.
Median annual salary: $124,170 ($59.70/hour)
Top 10% annual salary: $159,410 ($76.64/hour)
Bottom 10% annual salary: $87,420 ($42.03/hour)
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Entry opportunities: The prospects for pharmacists
When it comes to career prospects, pharmacists do not need to worry: there is no academic training that produces so few unemployed people as a pharmacy. Almost 90 percent of all graduates will one day work in a public pharmacy. But the chances are good in research too.
Advantages as a pharmacist
- You are the leader and thinker of the pharmacy
- You have regular customers with whom you can maintain a good relationship
- You provide people with essential medicines
Disadvantages as a pharmacist
- One often has to do with blows of fate
- Attempts by pharmaceutical companies to influence their own actions
Application: How do pharmacists score
Pharmacists who work out the following hard and soft skills in their application documents have a good chance of an application being successful:
- Good to very good academic performance
- First practical experience in the pharmacy or the pharmaceutical industry/pharmacy
- Enthusiasm for innovation and research
- Team spirit
- The high degree of independence and personal responsibility
- Result orientation
- Customer focus
- Sales and advisory qualities
Career: Development opportunities as a pharmacist
There are exciting opportunities to specialize in pharmacists. For example, further training. Pharmacists who have received further training in a sub-area of pharmacy, including:
- Pharmacy (also general pharmacy)
- Clinical pharmacy
- Pharmaceutical technology,
- Pharmaceutical analytics
- Toxicology and ecology
- Drug information
- Clinical Chemistry
- Theoretical and practical training
- Public health Service
Pharmacists are also in demand in the pharmaceutical industry, wherever they are needed in the research and development of drugs.
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