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Career Research

Seth Vincent
Hour 1
9/17/15

Weve all been sick in our lives, needed special medication, or gotten a flu shot at some
point or another. Most of those times we turn to pharmacists to handle whatever it is were in
need of. Pharmacists dispense drugs prescribed by doctors and provide detailed information to
patients regarding use and management of their medications. They also work beside legal and
ethical guidelines to ensure safe supply of medicine to the public population. Being around since
the ancient Egyptian times, the pharmaceutical occupation has continuously assisted humankind
in growth, development, and most importantly, safety.
A typical day can include reviewing prescriptions to confirm accuracy, ingredients, and
application. Community pharmacists sell over-the-counter medical products and teach patients
on the use of medicines and medical assortments. People skills are a big necessity in this field as
much time will be spent giving advice and information to the patient regarding side effects,
possible interactions with other drugs, correct storage methods, and dosage amounts. A wide
range of abilities and substances must be known to perform in a professional manner. Often
times pharmacists must mix ingredients or identify drugs and their purity, requiring a substantial
amount of knowledge and practice.
Pharmacists are always on their feet while on duty. The majority are in extremely clean,
well-lit community and hospital pharmacies. Some are open for business all night and even on
holidays, so it is common to work weekends and/or late shifts. Most pharmacists work about 40
hours per week, while a small portion work only part-time. Consulting is a big part of some
pharmacists jobs as some may travel frequently to nursing homes or other facilities to observe

patients drug treatment. No matter the case, they are usually in constant motion or traveling to
achieve as much each day as possible.
Working in this field can earn you a very respectable income with the median for US
pharmacists being just over six-figures at $107,255 salaried. Entry-level workers earn an average
of around $83,000 but within a couple years that number will rise. Late career pharmacists on the
high-end can make about $133,000 per year; the final amount can include bonuses and profit
sharing proceeds that can at times exceed $9,000. Besides their income, the large majority of
pharmacists receive medical and dental benefits also.
The path to work in this field is no easy one; similar to other health occupations,
pharmacists must receive large amounts of education and pass a national test. Obtaining a Doctor
of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) is a must. Most Pharm.D. schools require four years of
undergraduate study in chemistry, biology, physiology, and anatomy, but some only require two
years. These programs generally take four years to complete, while some offer three year
options. Graduates from Pharm.D. may need to complete one or two years of residency, learning
additional information in specialty areas. The last steps before beginning official work are
passing the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam (NAPLEX) which tests pharmaceutical
skills and knowledge, as well as the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam (MPJE) or a statespecific test on pharmacy law.
There are many professional organizations associated with pharmacists. The National
Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) represents more than 23,000 community
pharmacies around the country. Other organizations include the American College of Clinical
Pharmacy (ACCP), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), and the American

Pharmacists Association (APhA). Beyond educational requirements, pharmacists are also


expected to have computer, analytical, communication, and managerial skills.
To be successful in this field, communication and patience must be displayed daily.
Always talking to patients or other co-workers, pharmacists must stay in the loop all the time.
The long hours and extensive work can lead to anxiety, but this can all be minimized.
Pharmaceutical work can be done in community stores, hospitals, and government buildings.
Because they are always in need no matter what, it is possible to find a pharmacy job in most
cities regardless of surrounding income levels. The employment outlook for this occupation
looks very promising as there is expected to be a fourteen percent increase in the number of
pharmaceutical jobs between 2012 and 2022. Health insurance reform could help bump this
number up even more if enacted, allowing all Americans equal, proper health care.
To get a job in the field, an internship or experience is required in almost all cases. The
nature of pharmaceuticals requires much knowledge and practice so it is a process to gain a fulltime position. Promotions are available as more education is obtained; allowing pharmacists to
move to the lead position in a store or even open up their own establishment. Other occupations
similar in practice include biochemists, medical scientists, and physicians. Its a challenge,
thats for sure, but the opportunity to assist others makes being a pharmacist the perfect job for
me and many other people (Montasser).