Career Detail


Pharmacist
“Delivering the Goods”
Pharmacists distribute prescription drugs to individuals and give advice on selection, dosage, and side effects of medication.
The Job
Most pharmacists work in a community setting, such as a retail drugstore, or in a health care facility, such as a hospital, nursing home, mental health institution, or neighborhood health clinic. They dispense medications, counsel patients on the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and advise physicians about patients' medication therapy. pharmacists keep confidential computerized records of patients' drug therapies to prevent harmful drug interactions. Pharmacists are responsible for the accuracy of every prescription that is filled, but they often rely upon pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides to assist them in the dispensing process. Some are involved in research for pharmaceutical manufacturers, developing new drugs and testing their effects.
Work Environment
Most work in a community setting, such as a retail drugstore, or in a health care facility, such as a hospital, nursing home, mental health institution, or neighborhood health clinic.
College Majors
Pharmacy, drug therapy
Minimum Qualifications
A license is required. In order to obtain a license, pharmacists must earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from a college of pharmacy and pass several examinations. To be admitted to a Pharm.D. program, an applicant must have completed at least 2 years of postsecondary study.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Scientific aptitude, good interpersonal skills, and pay close attention to detail.
Quick Facts
  • Excellent job opportunities are expected.
  • Pharmacists are becoming more involved in counseling patients and planning drug therapy programs.
  • More info: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, Internet: http://www.aacp.org
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual of wage-and-salary pharmacists in May 2006 were $94,520. The middle 50 percent earned between $83,180 and $108,140 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $67,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,480 a year.
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