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Pharmacists Career

Career Description

Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.

What Job Titles Pharmacists Might Have

  • Clinical Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist in Charge (PIC)
  • Staff Pharmacist

What Pharmacists Do

  • Review prescriptions to assure accuracy, to ascertain the needed ingredients, and to evaluate their suitability.
  • Provide information and advice regarding drug interactions, side effects, dosage, and proper medication storage.
  • Maintain records, such as pharmacy files, patient profiles, charge system files, inventories, control records for radioactive nuclei, or registries of poisons, narcotics, or controlled drugs.
  • Plan, implement, or maintain procedures for mixing, packaging, or labeling pharmaceuticals, according to policy and legal requirements, to ensure quality, security, and proper disposal.
  • Assess the identity, strength, or purity of medications.
  • Collaborate with other health care professionals to plan, monitor, review, or evaluate the quality or effectiveness of drugs or drug regimens, providing advice on drug applications or characteristics.
  • Order and purchase pharmaceutical supplies, medical supplies, or drugs, maintaining stock and storing and handling it properly.
  • Analyze prescribing trends to monitor patient compliance and to prevent excessive usage or harmful interactions.
  • Advise customers on the selection of medication brands, medical equipment, or healthcare supplies.
  • Compound and dispense medications as prescribed by doctors and dentists, by calculating, weighing, measuring, and mixing ingredients, or oversee these activities.
  • Manage pharmacy operations, hiring or supervising staff, performing administrative duties, or buying or selling non-pharmaceutical merchandise.
  • Provide specialized services to help patients manage conditions such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation, or high blood pressure.
  • Offer health promotion or prevention activities, such as training people to use blood pressure devices or diabetes monitors.
  • Contact insurance companies to resolve billing issues.
  • Teach pharmacy students serving as interns in preparation for their graduation or licensure.
  • Refer patients to other health professionals or agencies when appropriate.
  • Work in hospitals or clinics or for Health Management Organizations (HMOs), dispensing prescriptions, serving as a medical team consultant, or specializing in specific drug therapy areas, such as oncology or nuclear pharmacotherapy.
  • Prepare sterile solutions or infusions for use in surgical procedures, emergency rooms, or patients' homes.
  • Update or troubleshoot pharmacy information databases.
  • Publish educational information for other pharmacists, doctors, or patients.

What Pharmacists Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

What Pharmacists Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

What Pharmacists Need to Learn

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $122,230

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.