Healthcare remains one of the biggest employers on a national scale and a sector that is key to keeping us all in the best shape. While there are many healthcare roles you could choose as a career, pharmacists are one […]
Healthcare remains one of the biggest employers on a national scale and a sector that is key to keeping us all in the best shape. While there are many healthcare roles you could choose as a career, pharmacists are one of the most important as they play a key role in the sector.
The position involves trained pharmacists filling prescriptions, administering medication, educating patients on medication, and being involved with overall patient treatment plans in clinical settings. In addition, pharmacists also work closely with a range of healthcare colleagues to boost patient care levels.
If you are interested in becoming a pharmacist, read on to learn about how to prepare for this position as well as the job prospects that are open to you.
How do you become a pharmacist?
As you may imagine, the secret to becoming a working pharmacist is having the right training and the right formal qualifications behind you first. This is essential to work legally in the role and ensures the safety of patients.
The modern world has seen educational choices around pharmacy degrees expand, with the pharmacy program online offered by the University of Findlay a popular option. This four-year full-time program has no PCAT requirements and is studied on a distance learning basis, which many students find more convenient.
Once you have gained this kind of pharmacy qualification, you should find a good variety of job prospects open to you. You’ll want to review the various types of pharmacy niches you could move into for your future career. So, what are some of the top prospects to consider once you have a pharmacy qualification?
This is not only a very important role but also the first one that comes to mind when most people think about working as a pharmacist. As the name implies, these pharmacists sit at the heart of their communities and enable people to access prescribed medicines to manage specific health conditions. In addition, community pharmacists can also sell and offer advice on non-prescription medication to customers.
This sort of pharmacist may work in a chain community pharmacy (such as Walmart), run their own independent pharmacy, or even operate a mail-order pharmacy. Common duties include dispensing medication, educating patients about medication, and providing basic patient care activities (such as blood pressure checks).
Ambulatory care pharmacist
This specialized type of pharmacy job involves delivering care directly to patients who have serious, specific medical conditions via outpatient clinics. This could involve providing direct care for patients who have conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Pharmacists who work in this role can be based in hospital clinics, private medical offices or clinics that operate within the community. This is a fast-paced position that allows you to work with patients when they need you most. As such, it is a very rewarding job and one that usually has a good rate of pay. The average ambulatory care pharmacist salary currently is around $144,000.
Next to community pharmacists, this is perhaps the most well-known and popular niche to move into once you hold a pharmacy qualification. You will work within a hospital to dispense medication that has been prescribed to treat patients.
This role also involves evaluating the medication hospitals prescribe and reviewing the medication plan a patient is following. This leads to the highest levels of patient safety and ensures any medication a patient is prescribed will not cause them any harm.
Hospital pharmacists are also closely integrated within healthcare teams and will collaborate with a range of colleagues within their facility. They may be involved with team meetings around how to treat a patient and may be called on for expert guidance around the correct medications to achieve the desired outcomes.
Government agency roles for pharmacists
Although many of the best-known jobs you can get with a pharmacy qualification involve working directly with patients in healthcare settings, this is not the only path you could take. Working as a pharmacist for government agencies is one such alternative.
While your tasks may differ depending on the agency you work for and the projects you are involved with, these pharmacists often conduct clinical research for specific medication. This may include looking at new drugs that have been developed and researching their safety or effectiveness for general use. Government agency pharmacists may also work in administrative roles, where they dispense medication in line with a government project.
Pharmacists working in the academic world
With a pharmacy qualification, you can also work in academia. This is another alternative to working in a community or clinical setting. Pharmacists in academia generally choose between teaching and research positions, depending on which they find most interesting.
Teaching may involve working as a lecturer within a university or college to pass on your knowledge and experience. This is a role which generally pays well, as the average salary for a professor of pharmacy in the US shows. It is also a good option if you like helping young people fulfill their potential and enjoy working in an educational setting.
If you choose to move into academic research, you will be involved with completing studies on various aspects of the pharmacy sector or specific processes/medicines within it to drive future improvements. This is perfect if you enjoy academic writing and getting the chance to leave your mark on the sector for years to come.
Job prospects for qualified pharmacists are bright
With a projected 2% growth in pharmacy roles, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the importance of medication for managing medical conditions across the nation, it is easy to see why qualified pharmacists face a bright job outlook. As the aging population means more people will need medication to manage a greater range of medical conditions, pharmacists will only become more integral to our lives. The range of job prospects open to trained pharmacists is vast, making it not only a vital career but also one that offers real choice.