Overview

Let’s be clear – a pharmacist is not the person working behind the checkout in the pharmacy. A pharmacist is a highly-qualified professional with broad medical knowledge, responsible for dispensing drugs and operating to strict protocols. As a pharmacist, you will need scientific knowledge, exceptional customer care skills, confident communication, accuracy, and attention to detail. The nature of the work is varied, depending on whether you choose a high-street retail pharmacy, a hospital, or a surgery; but they all depend on the ability to communicate accurate advice quickly and clearly, to patients with little or no medical knowledge.

There are two main routes to gaining the relevant qualifications. The best option is to study a 4 year Master of Pharmacy Degree (MPharm) approved by the General Medical Council. This is followed by a year of training in a pharmacy and then a registration exam; the passing of which means you become a fully qualified and registered pharmacist.

The second option, for those with insufficient academic experience to be accepted onto an MPharm, is to take a 2-year foundation pharmacy degree, followed by a job as a pharmacy assistant to build experience and then application for the MPharm further down the line.

Becoming a Pharmacist is a fantastic career choice and one in which there will always be opportunities for the seriously committed and academically minded. There are opportunities for progression too. Experienced pharmacists can move into training/teaching others, can develop into senior management roles, or can open their own pharmacy business. With additional training, qualified pharmacists can also change career paths and move into roles in forensic science, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Pay

Pharmacist avg salary

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Forecast

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Useful Pharmacist Bullet Points

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.
Source: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/29-1051.00

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