Working in pharmacy is a fantastic career, particularly for those with a genuine interest in medicine. Pharmacists have to be very friendly, as they have a public facing job. However, if you want to be a pharmacist, you first have to learn about the different types that are out there. There is a wide scope within the field and lots of different career paths as well.
Pharmacists make a very decent amount of money, generally ranging from $89,000 to $114,000 per year. Your experience and training will have a big influence on how much you can earn. Because of this, the career is very lucrative to say the very least. Plus, it is a career in which you will always find work, particularly because the population is aging. It is believed that the demand for pharmacists will continue to grow quicker than any other type of profession, medical or non-medical, until at least 2020.
In order to become a pharmacist, a variety of degrees are necessary, many of which are specializations. The basic is the Pharm. D (Doctor of Pharmacy), which is a four year professional degree. This includes pharmacology, but also focuses strongly on medical ethics. Upon completion, you will be required to sit two exams. The first is the pharmacy skills and knowledge exam, and the second is the pharmacy law exam. Upon passing those, you will be licensed as a pharmacist.
Pharmacists Job Description
There are five main types of pharmacists, and these all have different job descriptions. It is important to learn the differences between the five so you know which training and education path is most suitable to your needs.
The retail pharmacist works in grocery stores with a pharmacy and in drug stores. This job description includes the need to work incredibly long hours and often unsociable ones as well. This is mainly because the majority of drug stores are now open around the clock, which will mean you need to work in shifts. However, the pay is fantastic and you will have some fantastic terms and conditions in your contract. Also, you will get to work directly with people of all walks of life.
The clinical pharmacist is employed by hospitals. They work in partnership with the doctors and nurses. In this job, you will work with a physician as they do their rounds on the hospital wards. You will need to provide advice on which kinds of medications are best suited for the various conditions, as well as which doses should be administered. Again, the hours can be highly unsociable, as you will have to work some night shifts.
The nuclear pharmacist works in digital imaging and delivers radioactive materials. They generally work with CT scan or MRI departments. These two tools are incredibly important in modern day diagnosis. In this job, you will need to get up very early every day, because the radioactive materials used in CT scanners and MRIs must be delivered at specific times, or they will cease to be effective.
Long Term Care Pharmacist
The long term care pharmacist is often called the closed door pharmacist. This is because they have no direct interaction with patients. Instead, they work in long term care settings and work mainly on organizing and stocking all of the prescription medications and OTC (over the counter) medications for various patients. The administration of drugs is left to the nurses in charge of the patients. This job is perfect for those who are more introverted and don’t really look for much interaction.
Lastly, there is the chemotherapy pharmacist. Their role is to prepare the drugs for patients undergoing chemotherapy. This job isn’t just about preparing, however, but also about assessing and reviewing the drugs that hospitals use. Hence, your role is going to be mainly about improving the quality of pharmaceutical care on oncology wards. This is a perfect job for those who want to help people with cancer.
Becoming a pharmacist is an important decision and will take a lot of training, just as any other medical job. If the pharmacist education sounds too hard or too long, you may want to consider becoming a pharmacist technician or pharmacist assistant instead. Both of these positions can help you to consider whether how to become a pharmacist is for you or not, allowing you to gently ease into the job.
A pharmacist technician generally works under a pharmacist, but in the same functions as the five described above. However, they have less decision-making powers, being more of a dog’s body to the pharmacist. This is exactly the same as with the pharmacist assistant. The difference, however, is that the pharmacist technician’s job is starting to become more recognized. As there is a huge demand for pharmacists at present and this demand is not being met, the technicians are having to take on increasingly demanding parts of the job.