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What is a Pharmacist?

Browse available Pharmacist Jobs. A Pharmacist is an intermediary between a physician and a patient. He/she provides prescribed medicines to a patient and offers their advice and guidance about its safe usage. A doctor detects the disease a patient might be suffering from and prescribes a particular drug. A Pharmacist then prepares the medications, guides the patient on its dosage and monitors improvements in that person. Generally, knowledge in multi-disciplinary medical field is necessary to qualify as a pharmacist. The dosage of each drug must be known in detail. He/she must have the intuition to detect when a medication is not working for a patient. A pharmacist, also, must be through with all the federal drug laws in existence.

Pharmacist Job Overview

A Pharmacist is a member of the medical care unit who directly deals and interacts with the patient. He/she is responsible for dispensing medicines, along with advice on their dosage, and guiding the patient all the way to recovery. Monitoring the patient’s health history and other continuing medications also fall in this job profile. Accordingly, a pharmacist may be required to suggest a particular drug and reduce a dosage.
Also, he/she is required to have knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. This involves warning the patient about an allergic reaction to a particular drug or what food to avoid while under medication.

Minimum Age to Be a Pharmacist:

 The minimum age to join any clinic as a pharmacist is around 24 years. However, most candidates opt for a further training of 2 years before becoming a full-timer.

Pharmacist Education Requirements: 

A basic high school degree is a necessity. After this, aspiring pharmacists are required to undergo an undergraduate degree (not on any particular subject) for two years. On completion, a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree should be obtained from a licensed Pharmacy School. After all these, a candidate must then apply for and obtain a license by clearing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam.

Pharmacist Job Description

After a doctor has prescribed a drug, the patient then visits a pharmacist. He/she analyses the drug and decides which company’s medicine contains the appropriate drug. He/she is also required to intimate the patient regarding possible side-effects and how to tackle that particular problem.
Abiding by the federal drug law and identifying each drug based on it also falls in the job profile of a pharmacist. He/she may again be required to compound medicines, monitor patient’s health status, refer another physician if needed and regulate non-prescription drugs sold at the pharmacy.

Pharmacist Job Duties and Responsibilities

Typically, a licensed pharmacist is required to carry out the following tasks:

  • Prepare and monitor medications by interpreting the orders provided by a physician. A pharmacist decides which company’s drug has the contents required and sells it to the patient.
  • Provides information to the patient about medicine intake timing and frequency, along with steps to be taken in case of any adverse reaction.
  • Assessment of any undiagnosed condition and reporting to the patient accordingly.
  • Medicine compounding along with labeling and packaging pharmaceuticals.
  • Training of interns, pharmacy staffs and technicians, students, and other such health care personnel about drugs and its related content.
  • Maintaining record and removal of expired drugs along with supervision of other support staff.
  • Monitoring and implementation of infection control protocols and steps.
  • Promoting public health by attending camps and other similar programs.
  • Regulation and strict monitoring of over-the-counter drugs.

Pharmacist Job Requirements

The basic requirements include:

  • Along with a basic high school degree, a two-year undergraduate course in any field is also necessary.
  • The Doctor of Pharmacy degree is then required from any pharmacy school. Candidates will then have to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam to receive a license.
  • 1-2 year training after that, under a professional.
  • A thorough knowledge of human anatomy, combined with a bit of micro-biology and toxicology.
  • Criminal background check.

How to Become a Pharmacist

Basic knowledge of chemistry and biology, combined with human anatomy is necessary. These can be taken up as subjects in high school and undergraduate programs. Training classes on basic computer knowledge, personality development, communication skills and hospitality may ultimately help an aspiring candidate when pursuing advanced pharmacy courses.
Vocational training and internship after completion of Doctor of Pharmacy program are mandatory. However, exposure to this field can also be obtained by volunteering in relief and vaccination camps. This will reflect a candidate’s interest in this area and help improve knowledge on the subject. Also, classes on foreign languages can serve as an added advantage.

Pharmacist Salary

Advancement in medical technology and growth in human life expectancy may see an increase in jobs in this field. Estimates show that pharmacist’s jobs are likely to grow by 3% by 2024. As of May 2015, the median annual salary of a pharmacist stood at around $121,500. The figure is likely to change based on the post of a candidate in the hierarchy.

Pharmacist Jobs