How to Become a Pharmacist

What is a Pharmacist?

pharmacy pillsA pharmacist is a healthcare professional that has the main duty to dispense medication prescription to various patients. With this comes the expertise that they must offer in order to use the prescription in a safe manner. They work closely with doctors, the public, as well as with the pharmaceutical companies providing – among other things –  immunizations, advices for a healthy lifestyle and nonetheless making sure that the patients are taking the prescribed dosage of medication correctly.

A pharmacist is also perceived as a person who has the right qualifications to practice in a pharmacy, in the preparation process as well as in dispensing of medicines. They stay focused on the effectiveness and safety of medicine use, advising their patients about the possible interactions of the medicines, if there are any or the side effects of medicines.

Pharmacist Career Information

Your comprehension and knowledge about the medicine area and the effects that they might cause on the human body are important and critical at the same time, influencing the various medical conditions that can occur a lot.

When it comes to the pharmacist career information, the role of these professionals includes several features that are a must to this job. As a pharmacist, you are the one who advises the other healthcare specialists – and this will include physicians and nurses as well – about what medicine they should choose correctly and how these should be used properly. You’ll provide safety as well, by making sure that the patients to which you provide the medicines are using them correctly.

Pharmacists will provide useful information as well, related with the side effects of some medicines, or recommend – if necessary – changes in the prescriptions or give useful advice when it comes to prescribing, as well as inform clients and patients about how to get all the benefits that might be attributed to the medicines that are in the prescriptions.

These professionals are also involved in the manufacturing of medicines when some of the preparations are not available. They mention as well if some of the new medicines will interact with others or not. Their work involves as well to give advice upon the dosage and to make some suggestions related to the form of medication that is most appropriate such as injection, or ointment or inhaler.

Reasons to be a Pharmacist

If your dream is to become a pharmacist then you are on the right track since this job brings a lot of advantages. For instance, being a pharmacist also means having the opportunity to choose the career that you want to follow. You can find work as a pharmacist in the area of research, or in facilities such as clinics, or in the area of retail stores, not to mention that you can open your own business as well.

To find a career that fits your own needs means to obtain and pursue the right credentials. A good news in this career field is the fact that you can move with your job and choose a location, and even work in various environments. You even have the opportunity to do a transition into another field, if you consider that is required.

With all these options another advantage for pharmacists is the flexibility. You will also find a job that will most likely suit your schedule as well as your lifestyle. The working schedule of a pharmacist is also divided since there are some of these professionals that are working on the night shifts while others will work a normal business schedule that is from 9 and up to 5 that is from Monday to Friday. For instance, if you have a family then you can set your working schedule according to your need.

If, for instance, you have your own business then you can make more money, hire the individuals that you want to work with, as well as choose your own schedule. Even if the job growth is quite lower, there are plenty of job opportunities since the need for pharmacists is always very present.

The average income for a pharmacists is estimated according to the BLS, at $120,952 per year, but of course that many of these professionals that start working will gain in the beginning an income that reaches at $80,005 per year.

The bad news is that you also need to pay your student’s loans, if they weren’t already paid, but with an income like that you’ll pay it faster. Any other healthcare professional gains respect out of his or her job, but working as a Pharmacist also is a job that demands respect since you are already well known in the community and by the people that you are helping.

This job is very rewarding since you get to help a lot of people with their prescription and you can advise them on the right dosage that needs to be administered with every drug. They also consult the patients with what will harm them or not, as well as they make sure that the patients are able to regain health.

Required Skills to Become a Pharmacist

As a pharmacist, there are certain skills and personal characteristics that are required in order to fulfill your job better. For instance, working with people is not always that easy as it sounds, so you’ll need to possess good communication skills, to understand them and to understand their requests and listen to them if they have questions related to a medicine or with their health issues.

Furthermore, you’ll need to be very accurate and methodical in everything that you are saying or doing, as well as possess good managerial skills since as a pharmacist many of the professionals who work in this line will have to deal with retail pharmacies or they will conduct inventories or will oversee the staff.

Pharmacists are usually those professionals that show interest when it comes to their clients and patients health. This kind of work requires you to be able to cope well and work with various types of individuals, as well as to use your science and good customer skills.

Pharmacists are also people who need to be responsible with what they are doing and be willing to supervise others. As one of these professionals, you’ll need to be able to supervise others and apply the law in a correct manner. They need to be people that are usually detail oriented – since any small difference in a prescription or in a recommended dosage will lead to another huge difference.

Slowly, but gradually, the pharmaceutical industry has started to move more towards the computerized techniques. A very widespread usage is starting to gain place in this industry market, and that is the transmission of prescription by electronic means. For the next years, more and more will gain a place in the pharmaceutical market, the computerized technology offering more opportunities towards researching for drug database, maintaining records, or even receiving prescriptions from physicians.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pharmacist?

The offices of pharmacy schools admissions require that all the candidates have from two and up to four years of undergraduate schools. The length of a pharmacy school program usually reaches at 4 years, exceptions will be schools such as the University of Pacific in California that will last only 3 years due to the year round, and due to the fact that they do not have a summer break like other pharmacy schools have.

Since the pharmacy field is one that is very competitive, you’ll find out soon that many of the future students will obtain first a bachelor’s degree of 4 years, before they actually apply to a pharm school. In other words, it will take you at least 4 years of undergraduate and then another 4 years of Pharm School. It is best that all your studies to be completed in accredited institutions.

How to Become a Pharmacist?

In order to become a pharmacist, you’ll need to pass through an educational path that requires several steps. The short version will include graduating high-school, or as another alternative you can pass the GED or else known as the General Educational Development exam. The second step that you’ll need to go through is obtaining a bachelor’ degree. Enroll to take the PCAT that is the Pharmacy College Admission Test. Following this career path will lead you eventually to obtaining a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. It is recommended to obtain your doctoral degree from an accredited institution. You are towards the end of your preparation to become a fully recognized pharmacist and what you’ll need is to become licensed and find a job.

While you are still in high school and you really figured out that you want to become a pharmacist, make sure that you stay focus on science classes such as courses in biology, chemistry or even physiology. This is a good practice since these courses will determine if a career path in medicine is the right one for you or not.

To be able to apply for a school, you’ll need – as mentioned earlier – a Bachelor of Science degree that will mainly last up to four years. It is advisable that you complete two years of pre-pharmacy coursework that will prepare you for advanced study, coursework such as human anatomy, biology, sociology, organic and general chemistry, microbiology, calculus, English and physics classes. If, for instance, you are an undergraduate student, make sure to talk to your counselor regarding the pharmacy schools that you’ll want to apply to in order to determine the course requirements that are usually specific.

There are also some programs that might bring forth some multiple semesters when it comes to the classes mentioned earlier. In order to become a pharmacist, you can also choose another career path that will take you there such as a combination of degrees. They can come in various forms, offering the students the opportunity of all the required coursework in a time frame that is a lot shorter.

The most common programs that are provided to the students are those with a time frame of six and up to seven years. Graduation will bring you a Bachelor’s and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Before being admitted to any graduate program, you’ll need to pass first the Pharmacy College Admission Test. The PCAT was designed in order to measure an individual academic ability, as well as his or her scientific understanding and knowledge.

There are several options that will help you prepare better for the PCAT, the first one being materials such as guidelines or handbooks, while others can involve either some preparatory classes or a private tutor. The next step if you chose the separate option of study involves obtaining a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The courses usually last for up to four years. In the pharmacy school, your study topic will include classes in pharmacology as well as medical ethics, while the practical part will include work in pharmacies and hospitals, work that will be held under the supervision of licensed specialists.

In order to be able to practice Pharmacy in the US, you’ll need to become a licensed professional, this will include the NAPLEX that usually is the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination. In most of the states, you’ll also require to pass MPJE that is the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. However, there are some states such as Arkansas, Virginia and California that do not accept this exam having their own law regarding exams for future Pharmacists.

With the year 2016, all the states across the US have implemented the system of continual educational hours in order to keep the licensure. The hours that are required by many states include a time frame of 15 and up to 30 hours. These hours are required between the renewal periods of each license that are of two years.

Pharmacist Schools

Choosing the best program that will suit you the most means first to find the school that will allow to pursue a career as a pharmacist. For instance, you either have the option to obtain your degrees one by one or just to shorten that period of time by choosing a school program that combines a Bachelor’s with a Doctor Degree.

Depending on the state in which you are, you can choose from the school programs that are provided. For instance, you’ll find good universities in various states such as: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, MN, University of California – San Francisco, Ohio State University – Columbus, OH, as well as the University of Illinois – Chicago, and many others.

If, for instance, you are searching for a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Science, then you can find the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Science, – in Albany, NY – or the American University of Health Sciences – in Signal Hill, CA. An associate’s degree in Pre-Pharmacy Studies can be found at several universities such as : Amarillo College – Amarillo, TX, Alpena Community College – Alpena, MI, Allen County Community College – Iola KS, and many others. If your aim is to obtain a Doctorate/PhD in Pharmacy then you can check out the Appalachian College of Pharmacy – Oakwood, VA, or the Auburn University – Auburn, AL.

Pharmacist Salary

In 2016, the median yearly income for all the pharmacists all across the United States had a reported average – according to some of the salary surveys – that reached at $121,505 per year. According to the lowest points, the average 10 percent on the salaries of these professionals was estimated to reach at $86,792 per year, while the highest 10 percent reached at $154,042 per year.

The top industries where pharmacists could find work had also various averages. For instance, Department stores offered median yearly wages for pharmacists that reached at $125,510 per year, while the pharmacies and drug stores provided median wages that reached at $121,312 per year. The Grocery store provided these professionals with median annual incomes of around $121,632 per year. At the same time, the General medical and surgical hospitals offered pharmacists incomes that reached at $121,052 per year.

In the US, in 2016, the median pharmacist salary is reported to reach at $108,268 per year. The starting salary point in this career job reaches at $74,981 per year and can climb up to $130,226 per year, according to the salary data survey provided by PayScale. The bonuses that are received reach up to $9,589 while the profit sharing is comprised between $519 and up to $10,078.

The granted commission for a pharmacist career reaches $751, this leading in the end to an income that is estimated between $83,974 per year and up to $133,710 per year. These salaries are usually impacted and affected by several crucial factors such as the geographic factor, years of experience, as well the industry factors such as type of employment or company size.

The payment of pharmacists according to the years of experience level is different. The entry-level salary with 0 and up to 5 years of working experience reaches at $108,010 per year, while a mid-career professional with 5 and up to 10 years of experience gains around $115,010 per year. An experienced pharmacist with 10 and up to 20 years of experience can expect to gain around $118,010 per year. Furthermore, a senior pharmacist with more than 20 years of experience earns approximately $119,010 per year.

The national average when it comes to the pharmacist job is estimated – all across the US – to reach at $113,604 per year. The income varies according to the lower or higher points as well, or several other factors that affect each location in particular. For instance, the higher points’ incomes can be found in regions such as San Diego with gaining that reaches up to $123,293 per year, and Los Angeles with $120,604 per year. Other regions that are well-quoted are Phoenix, as well as Denver. On the other hand, the lower points in the economic status of the incomes usually reaches below the national average.

For instance, in Philadelphia, the income only reaches at $112,943 per year while in Atlanta the incomes are estimated to reach at $112,401 per year. According to Indeed, the incomes of pharmacists are $39,010 per year while according to the median annual income reaches at $122,863 per year. The salary points of these jobs tend to have a range that is estimated between $115,552 per year and up to $131,193 per year.

These incomes also vary according to each state and city. For instance in California, more exactly in Oakland, CA the earnings reach at $142,366 per year, while in Fresco, CA the incomes reach at $125,234 per year. In Georgia, in Atlanta more specifically, the incomes of these professionals reach at $123,907 per year while in Savannah, GA, the salaries reach at $109,619 per year.

Pharmacist Job Outlook

For the next 5 and up to 10 years, the job outlook for pharmacists is predicted to have an increase that reaches only at 3%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a rate that is projected to be slower than the usual average for all the occupations. However, the good news is that it is a constant growth for medications given through prescriptions, leading to more valid need for the Pharmaceutical services. As the years pass by, there will still be people who need treatment for their medical and health condition, this leading to the fact that a pharmacist job will still exist on the economic market.

Similar – Related Jobs

You’ll find out that there are various other related jobs in this field. For instance, there are pharmacy technicians that are those who help the pharmacists to dispense prescriptions to the clients or to the health specialists. Biochemists and Biophysicists are professionals that have the main role of studying the chemical, as well as the physical principles of all the living things. They also study the biological processes of cell development and growth, but also the diseases and the heredity.

Medical Scientists are those who conduct research that has the main purpose of improving the human health. In order to research their findings, they use clinical trials or other methods of investigation. Other related jobs with this career are those of Physicians and Surgeons that usually are responsible with giving an accurate diagnosis and treat various illnesses or injuries. Physicians have the main job of examining patients, taking medical histories, prescribing specific medicines according to each treatment, interpreting various diagnostic tests, ordering or performing them.

On the other side, Surgeons are those professionals who operate on patients with various injuries such as broken bones in the body, different diseases, such as various tumors that are cancerous, or deformities. RNs or else known as Registered Nurses are responsible with providing the right patient care, as well as the advice. They are the ones that provide the patients and the public education on different health conditions. As a RN, you need to possess emotional empathy when it comes to patients and all their family members, providing them with emotional support when needed.

Conclusion about the Pharmacist Career

You’ll need to have a vast knowledge regarding the right dosage of the drugs, as well as the effects that they usually have upon the human body, the interactions that they might show when combined with other medicines. Even with a job outlook that has a lower rate of increase, a job as a pharmacists can be very satisfactory on many levels. Still, as a warranty for a stable future, Pharmacists will always be required.

The income of these professionals differs according to several important factors such as location, costs of living and living expenses that can be seen according to each state or particular area. A set of skills is required when working as a pharmacist including a great attention to details and great communication and customer skills.

All in all, after checking the pros and cons of becoming a pharmacist, including the education, wages and working hours, each person can decide for themselves if such a career choice is favorable or not.