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 The leading web portal for pharmacy resources, news, education and careers September 19, 2014
Pharmacy Choice - Pharmacist Career Information - September 19, 2014

Pharmacist Career Information

What is a pharmacist?

According to the American Heritage® Dictionary, a pharmacist is a person trained in pharmacy or a druggist.

What is pharmacy?

According to Britannica Encyclopedia Concise, pharmacy is the science dealing with collection, preparation, and standardization of drugs. Pharmacists, who must earn a qualifying degree, prepare and dispense prescribed medications. They formerly mixed and measured drug products from raw materials according to doctors' prescriptions, and are still responsible for formulating, storing, and providing correct dosages of medicines, now usually produced by pharmaceutical companies as pre-measured tablets or capsules. They also advise patients on the use of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Laws regulating the pharmaceutical industry are based on the national pharmacopoeia (in the U.S., the U.S. Pharmacopoeia or USP), which outlines the purity and dosages of numerous medicinal products.

Where do pharmacists work?

Pharmacists work in a number of different settings to include: retail, hospitals, clinics, home health care facilities, home infusion facilities, long-term care facilities, managed care facilities, Armed Services, mail service, internet companies, public health service, veterans administration, local, state, and federal government, association management, community pharmacy, consultant pharmacy, pharmaceutical sales and marketing, drug research and development, managed care, universities and numerous other settings.

Why pharmacy as a career?

Pharmacists are considered one of the most visible and one of the most accessible health care professionals in the world. Every day, millions of Americans walk into drug stores and depend on pharmacists for assistance and advice for their health care needs. Pharmacists are trusted to help you with some of your most personal concerns and are trusted to help you. Pharmacists are regarded as one of the most trusted professions in the world. Pharmacy has always been an exciting and rewarding career, but has recently become on the most pursued fields in the health care industry.

What do pharmacists do?

On a daily basis, many pharmacists dispense medications to patients in accordance with doctor's orders and consult patients on medication usage and contraindications. Pharmacists communicate directly with physicians in order to correctly deliver medications. Many pharmacists consult patients on over the counter medications and provide information on home health care supplies and various other health care products. Many pharmacists manage and controlling the environment of the store or facility. Some pharmacies provide services that are not related to health care, such as mail and package delivery, key cutting, soda fountains, deli's, and movie rentals. Many pharmacies provide specialized services associated with your traditional corner drug store pharmacy. Pharmacist can provide specialized services according to the specific area they are specialized. Some pharmacists specialize in psychiatric disorders, intravenous nutrition support, oncology, nuclear pharmacy, and pharmacotherapy.

Is pharmacy easy?

Even though pharmacist have rewarding careers, pharmacy is not easy work. Many pharmacists spend a vast majority of the day on their feet. Many work with chemotherapy medications and other semi dangerous products. Pharmacists may be asked to work a variety of shifts, including mornings and nights 365 days a year. Taking care of patients that are sick does not start at 8 and end at 5.

Where do I start?

There are numerous colleges of pharmacy across the USA. A list of pharmacy schools can be found at http://www.pharmacychoice.com/education/pharmschools.cfm. In order to practice pharmacy in the USA you must obtain a license to practice pharmacy. In order to get your license you must follow certain steps starting with pre-pharmacy at a college level. This usually requires 1 to 2 years of college level classes. These classes include science, chemistry, biology, physics, math and other predetermined classes. Many colleges require that you take the Pharmacy Colleges Admissions Test (PCAT) before being considered into their professional program. Keep in mind that each school has different policies.

Once you get accepted in a professional pharmacy program, you must complete the required curriculum established by that college of pharmacy. Most programs now days consist of a 6-year Pharm. D curriculum, but a few are still provide a 5-year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. All pharmacy schools will move to the 6-year program in the near future.

To obtain a license, one must serve an internship under a licensed pharmacist, graduate from an accredited college of pharmacy, and pass a State examination. Most States grant a license without extensive reexamination to qualified pharmacists already licensed by another State-check with State boards of pharmacy for details at http://www.pharmacychoice.com/resources/boards_of_pharmacy.cfm. Many pharmacists are licensed to practice in more than one State. States may require continuing education for license renewal.

All colleges of pharmacy offer courses in pharmacy practice, designed to teach students to dispense prescriptions, communicate with patients and other health professionals, and to strengthen their understanding of professional ethics and practice management responsibilities. Pharmacists' training increasingly emphasizes direct patient care, as well as consultative services to other health professionals.

Are pharmacists in demand?

Pharmacists are in very high demand right now and will continue to be in high demand until at least 2020. There are 7,000 to 10,000 unfilled pharmacy positions in the USA at any given time right now.

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