Do you want to learn what it takes to become a pharmacist? If YES, here is a complete guide plus requirements needed to become a pharmacist online.
Pharmacists are part of healthcare professionals who are licensed to dispense drugs to patients following a visit from their physician. Pharmacists not only have to know about dispensing medications and approved remedies; they also have to be able to guide their assistants in drug dispensation – technicians, and others in their various tasks.
Storage and distribution of medicine has to follow a strict safety protocol, which is to be directly under the supervision of the pharmacist for public health and safety. Pharmacists can work in different medical places such as hospitals, drug stores, private health facilities and other such places.
A pharmacist’s job varies depending on the specific field of medical expertise. This means that while some pharmacists could work in the hospitals dispensing drugs, others might be in the field of research that seeks to understand human diseases and how human health might improve. As a result, a pharmacist is one who is skilled in dispensing medication to a patient, following the prescription from a doctor, dentist, physician and other health professionals.
Table of Content
- 1 Duties and Job Description of a Pharmacist
- 2 Career ideas / Sub-sectors That Exist within the Industry
- 3 Benefits of Becoming a Pharmacist
- 4 Factors That Discourage People from Becoming Pharmacists
- 5 How Much Do Pharmacists Earn Monthly/Annually
- 6 How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacist?
- 7 Educational Requirement Needed to Become a Pharmacist
- 8 Certifications Needed to Become a Pharmacist
- 9 How Much Does it Cost to Acquire Certification in Pharmacy
- 10 Can You Acquire a Pharmacy Degree Online?
- 11 Career Opportunities Available to a Pharmacist
- 12 Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Successful Pharmacist
- 13 Tips and Advice to Help Advance your Career as a Pharmacist
Duties and Job Description of a Pharmacist
There are various tasks that are expected of pharmacists. Some of them are as follows:
- Provide information and advice-: Pharmacists provide advice and information regarding drug interactions and side effects, dosage and how medication should properly be stored.
- Review of prescription-: They review prescription to ensure that there is accuracy as regarding the correct needed ingredients, thereby evaluating the suitability of a drug.
- Policy planning and implementation-: They help plan and implement policy and legal requirements, from mixing and packaging of pharmaceuticals to ensuring that there is strict adherence to quality and security.
- Dispense medication-: Pharmacists dispense and compound medications that have been prescribed by doctors, dentists and other health professionals.
- Collaborating with other health care professionals-: Pharmacists have to work with other health care professionals, to monitor and review the quality of drugs or drug regimen, and provide advice on drug applications.
- Ordering and purchase of pharmaceuticals-: Pharmacists order and purchase pharmaceuticals drugs and supplies, and ensure that they are properly stored and handled.
- Maintain records-: Pharmacists have to maintain records, such as patient profiles, inventories, pharmacy files and registry of controlled drugs.
- Pharmacy operations management-: Pharmacists have to manage the staff under its control via hiring and supervision.
- Provision of specialized services-: Pharmacists can provide specialized services, especially to patients with conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma etc
- Teaching: Pharmacists can teach students serving as interns therefore aiding them in preparing for their licensure.
Tools Used By Pharmacists in Carrying out their Duties
There are several tools that are in use by pharmacists. These tools are very important, of which doing without them in the profession, might be a disaster. Here are some tools needed;
- Blood pressure monitoring units-: This is a device that monitors the blood pressure of people and is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure (maximum) over the diastolic pressure (minimum). Examples are manual and electronic blood pressure monitoring units, top loading balance.
- Intravenous tubing with catheter administration kits-: This is very important in the profession, and it is used to administer fluids.
- Pestle and Mortar-: This is used to pound or grind substances. The mortar and the head of the pestle are made from porcelain.
- Bar code Reader-: This is used to scan and track prescriptions. It is important to say that all pharmacists must have this tool.
- Sterile Processing and Filling Machines-: This is a machine that sterilizes equipment used for processing or filling drugs. There is no contesting the fact that sterilization of work tools helps fight germs and diseases.
- Analytical or scientific software-: This can help in analyzing the data using appropriate queries so as to identify problems and weaknesses.
Other tools are:
Ampoule filling equipment, Binocular light compound microscopes, Calibration weights or weight sets, Filling or sealing auger dose machines, Fume hoods, Geiger counters, Glucose monitors or meters, Haemocytometer sets, Hypodermic needle, Label making machines, Laboratory balances, Laboratory graduated cylinders, Laminar flow cabinets or stations, Liquid scintillation counters, Medical radiation dosimeters, Medical radiological shielding freestanding or portable screens, Medical radiological shielding wall or ceiling or floor installed panels, Medical syringe without needle, Medication or pill dispensers or accessories, Mercury blood pressure units, Ostomy starter kits, Oxygen therapy delivery system products accessories or its supplies, Patient care beds or accessories for general use, Pharmaceutical filters or ultra-filters, Radiation detectors, Computers, Tablet counters and Insurance claim processing accounting software.
How to Become a Pharmacist – A Complete Guide
Labour Market Statistics for Pharmacists
- In the United States
As at 2013, the average pay for a pharmacist was $57.35 per hour, and $119,280 per year. The number of pharmacists employed as at 2012 was 286,400. Between 2012 and 2022, there has been a positive projection of 109,800 jobs, a 25% projected growth with the year 2022 projected to take a 14% share ratio.
It is very necessary to say that pharmacists in big cities, like California and Texas earned the highest. Also, the number of prescriptions, increased from 1.9 million in 1992 to more than 3.9 billion in 2013.
- Aspiring pharmacists can spend between, 6 to 13 years completing pre-requisites.
- In 2013, there were 287,420 pharmacists in the Unites States.
- In the last decade, the number of pharmacists has increased by 19%.
- In 2014, the Aggregate Demand Index (ADI) calculated by the Pharmacy Manpower Project (PMP) was 3.48, roughly indicating a balanced supply and demand of pharmacists across the country.
- Demand hasn’t outpaced supply for the past 10 years.
- Basic minimum requirement for pharmacists is a first professional degree program, from an accredited pharmacy college and, passing the North American Pharmacy Licensing Examination.
- In 2012, 61% of pharmacists worked in retail pharmacies.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 1 in 5 pharmacists worked part-time in 2012.
- In 2013, 56% of pharmacists were women.
- The pharmacist workforce in 2013 also consisted of 5.4% African American/Blacks, 22% Asian and 4.4% Hispanic or Latino.
In the UK
From 2002 to 2010, the number of pharmacists increased in the United Kingdom by 11.9%. However, there was an overall net shortage of pharmacists in Great Britain, and vacancy rates dropped between 2010 and 2012 from 11.9% to 7.5% in England and 7.1% to 3.1% in Wales.
And yet as at 2011 to 2012, the number of community pharmacies in England increased by 15.4%. As at 2013, there were 45,000 pharmacists in the United Kingdom with the average annual pay being £34,791.
- Pharmacists can train as supplementary and independent prescribers.
- Community pharmacists query nearly 2 million prescriptions every year, and resolving about 43,800 incidents that could have resulted in serious harm.
- 96% of the population can get to a pharmacy in 20 minutes either by walking, driving, or taking the bus.
- There is greater density of pharmacies in areas where, there are more health challenges.
- 30 – 50% of prescribed drugs are not taken according to prescription.
- Out of all the health professionals, pharmacists are better experts in the use of medicines to treat diseases, due to their comprehensive education and training.
- Most UK schools of pharmacy require that the MPharm program, be completed between 4 to 6 years.
- Students may not undertake their pre-registration training immediately after graduation.
Between 1996 and 1999, the number of employed pharmacists rose from 13,834 to 14,747. As at 2013, there were 27,226 pharmacists in Australia. 50.21% were aged 35 years and under. There are about 5,000 community pharmacists, which means 5.4 pharmacists per pharmacy.
- Pharmacies have been adjusting to a price cutting regime since 2007.
- There are two types of pharmacy programs one can complete – Bachelor of Pharmacy degree and Master of Pharmacy Degree
- An intending pharmacist after concluding the approved program of study has to register with the, Pharmacy Board of Australia before starting internship.
- There are more pharmacists than community pharmacies.
Between 2010 and 2012, employment average for pharmacists was 6,650. And the average annual growth rate, between 2013 and 2017 has been projected at 2.7%. Female pharmacists have the larger share out of the total figure with a 68.2% share with 57.9% of the total figures, coming from the age range 25 to 44 years.
Also, full time pharmacists stood at 82.4% and immigrant pharmacists had a share of 13.2%. Do note that only 19.7% of pharmacists worked in hospitals in these years. The facts and figures as regarding pharmacists are as follows:
- Studies show that Canadians do not take their prescription medications, as exactly prescribed.
- The sale of medications is highly regulated, by the Canadian government.
- U.S and Canada have similar drug regulations, and testing systems enforced by the FDA and Health Canada respectively.
- Canada’s university trained pharmacists have to pass stringent, provincial and federal exams before becoming licensed pharmacists.
- There are over 7,000 pharmacies across Canada.
- There are over 26,300 licensed pharmacists, in hospitals and pharmacies
You see, pharmacy is an evolving career; the demand is still growing, with the market getting competitive as there are various fields a pharmacist can work in. The population of elderly and middle aged people is increasing, and they are the largest consumers of prescription drugs.
Although, in a country like Australia and in some U.S states, there might be more pharmacists than the demand for it, but generally it is still an evolving field, which is not yet over or under saturated and is not dying.
Positive and Negative Impact of the Internet Technology on the Pharmacist Career
The internet has brought a lot of positives as well as negatives to the pharmacy industry. Here are some positives;
- Genuine Information-: Genuine information can be gotten online, as licensed pharmacies can readily connect to users, sharing information that can help them.
- Timely tidbits-: Timely tidbits of information can be posted online, to help people more aware of drug use and abuse.
- Functional tool to keep abreast of Industry Information-: Sometimes, pharmacists’ association sends newsletters to their members’ mails and these letters can contain relevant new industry information.
The negatives are:
- Abuse of prescription drugs-: There have been many efforts to stop the abuse of prescription drugs, but with the growing internet laxity, it is quite hard as information is readily available on the internet for those who search for it leading to an abuse. Abuse of controlled prescription drugs now exceeds that of illegal substances.
- Increased illegitimate online pharmacies-: There are too many online pharmacies that now sell drugs without prescriptions or complete medical information.
- Lack of Mechanism for child drug abuse-: Because little or no information is required from visitors to online pharmacies, children sometimes visit and there are no mechanisms to stop them from purchasing.
Career ideas / Sub-sectors That Exist within the Industry
- Post-Secondary Health Specialists Teachers-: Pharmacists can teach courses in health specialties such as laboratory technology, dentistry, pharmacy, medicine, therapy, public health, veterinary medicine.
- Medical Scientists-: Apart from the field of epidemiologists, conduct researches that deal with understanding human diseases and improving the health of human. They also engage in research and development, clinical investigation and other of such activities to reach their findings.
- Post-Secondary Nursing Instructors and Teachers-: They teach patient care in classrooms and clinical units to nursing students, they can also instruct teachers who are involved in teaching and research.
- Biophysicists and Biochemists-: They study both the physics and chemical principles of living things and of biological processes like growth, heredity and cell development.
- Pharmacy Technicians-: They help licensed pharmacists dispense drugs to patients and other health professionals.
- Physicians and Surgeons-: Pharmacists diagnose and interpret the diagnosis for patients, check their medical history, prescribe medications. They also counsel patients on hygiene and preventive healthcare while surgeons operate on patients so as to treat injuries.
Professional Bodies and Associations for Pharmacists
In the United States
- National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP)-: The association provides information on licensing, exams, publications and meetings.
- American Pharmacists Association (APA)-: This organization is the only one that represents all pharmacists across all practice settings and also helps educate students about available opportunities in the field of pharmacy.
- Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)-: This body helps with career networking services and exam preparation resources.
- National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA)-: This body provides its members with continuing education, events and conferences.
In the U.K
- National Pharmacy Association (NPA)-: This is a British industry trade association for its community pharmacist e.g. owners of pharmacies.
- The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (PSNI)-: It is a professional pharmacy body for those in Northern Ireland. The body seeks to ensure high standards of education and training for pharmacists in Northern Ireland
- Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPharmS or RPS)-: This is a body responsible for the support and leadership of the pharmacy profession within England, Scotland and Wales.
- Australian College of Pharmacy-: The aim of this body is to be the center of excellence for education and research relating to the pharmacy profession and the industry as a whole.
- Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)-: This is a professional body that represents all the pharmacy profession in Australia.
- The Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGoA)-: This is an organization that supports pharmacy owners and supports the financial well-being of the pharmacy community.
- The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA)-: This is an association that has most members from hospital pharmacists. The association supports and provides professional development to its members and is an advocate for improved medicine management in policy and practice.
- Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA)-: This association represents all the pharmacists in Canada with its mission being to advance the health and well-being of Canadians through excellence in pharmacist care.
Benefits of Becoming a Pharmacist
- Working directly with patients-: Patients or people usually visit pharmacists easily without appointments unlike doctors. The visits to pharmacists are usually for advice on medications that they are taking or about to take. Pharmacists also provide other services like asthma care, immunization, monitoring of blood pressure, screening of cholesterol, diabetes disease management and anticoagulation management services etc.
- Helping people get well-: This is possible because they are the ones to dispense the drugs and choose the best drugs that will help the patient get well and with less side effects due to the fact that they screen patients for allergies and adverse effects.
- Bioterrorism defense-: Pharmacists are trained to recognize the signs of diseases that can be used in a biological attack. Whenever there is an epidemic attack, pharmacists work tirelessly to ensure that the epidemic doesn’t spread by ensuring that appropriate and safe drugs are used to stem the spread of the epidemic.
- Job Security-: A pharmacist’s job is one of the most stable and secured job because there is a high demand for pharmacists as there are different jobs always available for them.
- Wide Career Opportunities-: There are enough career opportunities available for pharmacists. Pharmacists can work in different organizations like retail chains outlets in communities prescribing drugs and healthcare facilities like hospitals, nursing homes etc.
- Job Mobility and Flexibility-: Pharmacists can choose to work in traditional or non-traditional (part-time) hours depending on the practice setting. They can even decide to be on their own setting their own time and standards.
Factors That Discourage People from Becoming Pharmacists
- Education and Training requirements-: The field of pharmacy is a rigorous one, while some professions might require a basic high school diploma, it is not so with pharmacy. A pharmacist is required to go through four years of postgraduate school plus training, retain a doctorate degree and undergo clinical work training. Those who cannot stand such rigorous work involved might get discouraged.
- Standing for long hours-: Pharmacists stand on their feet almost throughout their shifts only sitting down occasionally. This can be quite exhausting for some people and therefore could discourage them.
- Varying work conditions and job duties-: A pharmacist could work in different settings; schools, supermarkets, hospitals etc., but this means that each setting comes with different required training which could be discouraging to those wanting to become pharmacists and hoping to work in different settings.
- Fear of giving inappropriate medication-: Sometimes, pharmacists give out the inappropriate dosage or prescribe the wrong medication which might result into grievous symptoms or side effects for a patient. The fear of causing harm even without the wrong intention might result into discouraging some people from becoming pharmacists.
- Loans and debts-: Due to the long years used in getting education and training; most pharmacists rack up loans that are from $100,000 upwards. This could serve as a discouragement for people who might not want to be tied down to debts for half of their lives.
How Much Do Pharmacists Earn Monthly/Annually
- In the United States, the average of a pharmacist’s annual salary is $119,280.
- In the U.K, the average pay for a pharmacist is £34,791 per year.
- In Australia, the average pay for a pharmacist as at 2015 is AU$32.07 per hour and AU$62,109 per year
- In Canada, the average pay for a pharmacist as at 2015 is C$80,758
How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacist?
- In the United States, aspiring pharmacists use between 6 to 13 years completing pre-requisites, PharmD coursework, clinical rotations and national exams.
- In the UK, aspiring pharmacists use between 5 to 6 years; a 4 year university program and a 1 year workplace training and national exams.
- Australian aspiring pharmacists require 5 – 7years – depending on if you decide to use the Bachelor’s degree route or the Master’s route. The Bachelor’s route is a 4 year degree program, an application to the pharmacy board, a 1 year internship and national exams.
- It takes at least 5 to 6 years before one can become a pharmacist in Canada. One or two year’s science related undergraduate course and then 4 years university pharmacy degree, meet up the licensing requirements and national exams.
Educational Requirement Needed to Become a Pharmacist
- In the United States
The educational requirements needed to become a pharmacist are quite rigorous. In the US, it requires years of education and training before the necessary knowledge, skill and certifications can be obtained. It takes a minimum of 2 years, and a maximum of 4 years before intending pharmacists can finish the pre-requisites courses; which include laboratory sciences such as chemistry and biology.
The students then have to take a Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Alternatively, they could decide to have a Bachelor’s degree in laboratory related science, because they might want to switch to other occupations later before switching over to a degree in Pharmacy (PharmD).
A degree in Pharmacy (PharmD) usually takes a period of 5 years, with the final year based on pure practical experience. A license to practice is gotten after the student has written a couple of tests and exams. The primary test is that of the North American Pharmacist Licensing Exam (NAPLEX) to gain licensure, and students must also pass the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE).
Foreign pharmacy graduates have to pass the Foreign Pharmacy Graduate Equivalency Committee (FPGEC). They however cannot qualify for the FPGEC if their schools are of a 4 year course. They could however transfer to an institution in the United States to complete the 5 year course, or if they had completed a pre-pharmacy course work before their 4 year degree; it could be added to make it count as 5 years.
- In the U.K
Apart from the compulsory basic education – the Advanced Levels with distinctions in Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology is needed to qualify for the university education. The recognized qualification for intending pharmacists that would permit registration with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB) is a 4 year MPharm program, followed by a compulsory 1 year work program one can apply to register as a pharmacist. The 1 year training program ends with taking the national exams. The exams can only be attempted thrice; failure of which deems it necessary to repeat the 1 year training program all over again.
Another route, by which students can qualify for registration with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB), is through the Overseas Pharmacist Accreditation Program (OSPAP). Practising pharmacists, who are Non-Europeans Citizens after satisfying various criteria that also include English Language qualifications, may be referred to one of the 4 universities; where the OSPAP programs are offered. This will be a 1 year post-graduate programme, and a 1 year pre-registration training program, before they can be registered as pharmacists in the UK.
A criteria before enrolling for MPharm or OSPAP is ‘fitness to practice’. Students or foreign practising pharmacists must not be disabled, or have a criminal conviction history that might not allow them register with the RPSGB.
- In Australia
Students must complete an approved program of study in the university, which can be either a Bachelor of Pharmacy or a Master of Pharmacy. Bachelor of Pharmacy degree is an undergraduate program that runs for 4 years. The Master of Pharmacy degree is a 2 year program, and a student would have had to complete the undergraduate program first.
After either of the program, intending pharmacists have to apply to the Pharmacy Board of Australia, for provisional registration and to be able to complete, 1 year of internship. The internship has to be carried out in an accredited intern training program, which has to have a completion of 30% supervised practice hours, before written exams can be taken; and a completed 75% supervised practice course before oral exam is carried out.
The exams are conducted by the Pharmacy Board of Australia and the Australian Pharmacy Council. Both board and council exams have to be passed before students can transition from Provisional registration to General registration and become a registered pharmacist in Australia.
Another requirement of the Pharmacy Board of Australia before registration is that the intending pharmacist must do the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) each year. Foreign trained pharmacists, who have current registration in Australia, will need to apply for the Australian Pharmacy Council skills assessment which can take 2 months.
The skills assessment success letter can be used to apply for a migration application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Foreign trained pharmacists who do not have current registration in Australia, will need to apply for the Australian Pharmacy Council eligibility assessment which can take 2 months. The eligibility assessment success letter puts candidates for either a Stream A or B exams.
Stream A exams is the Knowledge Assessment for Pharmaceutical Sciences (KAPS), while the Stream B exams is the Competency Assessment of Overseas Pharmacists (CAOP) Success in the exams will mean that the intending pharmacist can apply for a migration application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or to the Pharmacy Board of Australia (PBA)
- In Canada
After a 1 or 2 years science related undergraduate program; a Bachelor or Doctor of Pharmacy Degree is needed from one of the 10 Canadian universities. The student then has to take a national exam, from the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada (PEBC). The internship program is after the national exam and candidates have to be fluent in English or French.
Certifications Needed to Become a Pharmacist
In the United States
- Ambulatory Care Pharmacy with certification from the Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist (BCACP)
- Cardiology (Pharmacotherapy Added Qualifications)
- Geriatric Pharmacy
In the UK, a Practice Certificate in Independent Prescribing for Pharmacists is available. Also available is a Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills (NVQ) (QCF) with Accredited Technical Certificate.
- In Australia, there are trainings for certificates such as; Certificate II, III and IV in Community Pharmacy.
- In Canada, certifications such as The Pharmacist Qualifications MCQ and OSCE and the Pharmacist Examination are needed.
How Much Does it Cost to Acquire Certification in Pharmacy
- In the US, it will cost approximately $700 for a BCACP, $150 for Cardiology, Geriatric $600
- In the UK, it will cost approximately £1,716 for a practice certificate and a £950 fee for a full time course and £790 fee for an online course for a level 3 Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills.
- In Australia, it will cost approximately AU$ 2,500 to get at least two of the certifications.
- In Canada, it will cost approximately C$ 2,500 for the basic certifications.
Can You Acquire a Pharmacy Degree Online?
Yes, one can become a pharmacist by acquiring a degree online. The degrees are for people with busy schedules and want to have the flexible option of getting a degree in Pharmacy. This is for either new students or those pharmacists already licensed and practicing. Do note that the online coursework has to be combined with clinical practice in a healthcare setting.
Career Opportunities Available to a Pharmacist
- Higher Education Lecturer-: Here a pharmacist could teach vocational and academic subjects to students in Universities and in Colleges.
- Medical Sales Representatives-: Engages in pharmaceutical products to a variety of medical people and places like doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and pharmacies. They are the link between drug manufacturing/pharmaceutical companies and health care professionals.
- Clinical Research Associate-: Runs clinical trials on drugs to test their effectiveness and ensure that they are safe to be allowed on the market.
- Pharmacologist-: Tries to understand how drugs work, so that it can be used effectively and conducts research that aids drug discovery and its development.
- Product/Process Development Scientist-: Understands and controls the processes used to make the final medicinal drug or products such as food, cosmetics and paint.
- Regulatory Affairs Officer-: They combine their scientific, legal and business knowledge to ensure that drugs that are developed by pharmaceutical companies meet with the required legislation. They are the crucial link between a company and its products and regulatory agencies.
- Research Scientists-: They plan, carry out, experiment, and analyse the results with the aim of broadening their scientific knowledge or to develop new products or processes.
- Science Writers-: They report scientific news and have to write in a clear, simple and concise manner, so that it can be understood by the general public.
- Toxicologists-: Plan and undertake laboratory and field studies that help to monitor and evaluate the impact that radiation and toxic materials have on human, animals and the environment.
Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Successful Pharmacist
- Communication skills-: Pharmacists speak to their patients regarding how they can take their medications and also speak with health care professionals on the best drugs that can be dispensed to a patient. Pharmacists have to communicate with their assistants and other workers in the pharmacy, on tasks to carry out that can aid the pharmacists in effectively carrying out their jobs.
- Attention to Detail-: Pharmacists have to prescribe drugs that would cause the least side effects. There has to be a low chance for error when choosing prescriptions since any error can cause an adverse effect in a patient.
- Analytical Skills: A pharmacist must be able to analyze the needs of a patient, understand the side effects a drug could have on a patient, and ensure that prescriptions can be taken without harm. A pharmacist during the course of analysis has to take the patient’s medical history into consideration, so as to be able to correctly prescribe any drugs.
- Mathematical and Science Skills-: A pharmacist should have natural skills in mathematics, because mathematics is used so as to be able to properly measure dosages, prepare medication and count pills. Also, there should be a strong skill in science because science is used extensively to understand the composition of drugs in chemistry and how the human body might react to the drugs via biology and anatomy.
- Active Listening Skill-: A pharmacist has to be able to give full attention to a patient so as to understand what the request is and also know the appropriate questions to ask to be able to correctly dispense the drugs.
- Reading Comprehension-: A pharmacist must be able to read and understand what he has read, since most of what he reads directly concerns a patient. It could be industry information or information directly regarding a patient.
- Writing-: A pharmacist must be able to write legibly so as to convey the needed information to a patient or the prescribing doctor or physician.
Tips and Advice to Help Advance your Career as a Pharmacist
- Relevance in the industry-: This means that pharmacists have to be aware of what is going on especially as regards new drug development or information and how this might affect them.
- Networking-: Networking is vital for any professional that wants to grow in any industry. Pharmacists have to network to get more opportunities, as this will enable them grow, as well as garner information that would be relevant to them and their career. This also means that they have to be active in their associations, or join more than one association to effectively network.
- Sharing relevant career goals-: Pharmacists have to share their career goals, by vocalizing them to management, and ensuring that they the goals are being met and exceeded while being in alignment with the business.
- Using social media tools-: The internet can be used in advancing the career of a pharmacist and also for networking. Social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs etc., can be used by pharmacists to put their thoughts out and also dispense valuable information to other users.
- Meet and exceed goals-: Goals must be set, met and exceeded successfully to consider getting promotions or climbing up the corporate ladder.
- Carry out necessary research-: Before moving up the career ladder, a pharmacist should carry out a research to understand what he or she might be getting into.
In conclusion, pharmacists can work in different settings like the hospitals, government agencies, drug stores, public health care agencies and schools. Pharmacists work an average of 40 hours per week and most of their work time is spent on their feet. Pharmacists that work in hospitals have their schedules adjusted to that of the hospital in which they work.
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