Falling under the realm of healthcare, the role of a pharmacist is as challenging and rewarding as a doctor’s role. Though the main duty of a pharmacist is to give medicines to the patients based on the doctor’s prescription, a pharmacist needs to evaluate the appropriateness of the prescription, analyze the interaction of the prescribed drug with any other medications that the patient is taking and also counsel the patient on the proper usage of the medicine.
Pharmacists work closely with health care practitioners to ensure the safe and effective use of drugs. Pharmacists also advise patients about healthy lifestyle including healthy diet, exercise, and stress management. Many times pharmacists are also required to give vaccinations such as flu shots, etc.
A pharmacist can specialize as a clinical pharmacist, further specializing in various sub-specialties such as oncology, cardiology, pediatric medicine, etc. Clinical pharmacists work in hospitals, clinics, pharmacy or drug stores, and pharmacy sections of large grocery stores. Pharmacists working for large pharmaceutical companies typically work in the research and development departments of such companies, where they develop and test various new drug formulations.
Pharmacists with a flair for marketing and sales, looking to excel in a corporate environment can choose to work for the marketing or sales department of large pharmaceutical companies, meeting with clients and selling the drugs, with advice on the use, effectiveness, and possible side effects of drugs. Some pharmacists are also employed with health insurance companies, where they devise pharmacy benefit packages and conduct cost-benefit analysis for certain drugs.
To become a pharmacist in the United States, you must a obtain a B.S. in Pharmacy or a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from any of the U.S. colleges offering pharmacy degrees accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education. All states in the United States require pharmacists to pass a licensing examination to become a licensed pharmacist.
An experienced pharmacist can earn anywhere between $60,000 and $1, 00,000 annually – the high wages are one of the main reasons for many students getting attracted to the field of pharmacy.Pharmacists working in drugstores chains progress to becoming pharmacy supervisors or store managers, and finally advance to senior management positions. Hospital pharmacists may be promoted to supervisory roles after some years of experience.