Gone are the days of a family pharmacist completing solely distributive tasks behind a counter. Today's pharmacist is a highly skilled professional who is a key member of the interdisciplinary health care team in either the community setting or hospital setting.
A pharmacist's role is multifaceted, but to be a trusted medication expert, you must go through a comprehensive and rigorous Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) curriculum. After completion of Pharm.D. course work, pharmacists can pursue additional elective postgraduate training to focus on a specialty designation.
Pharmacy is a blend of sciences, health care, direct patient contact, technology, ethics and business — all of which are combined to improve patient outcomes through medication expertise. There has never been a better time to consider a rewarding career as a pharmacist.
After graduating from pharmacy school or completing postgraduate training, pharmacists have countless career opportunities available. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of pharmacists employed in 2010 was 274,900.
From 2010 to 2020, pharmacist positions are expected to increase by 25 percent (69,000 additional positions), making the profession an attractive occupation. With appropriate training, a pharmacist may enter the workforce in a variety of occupational settings, such as:
- Academic pharmacy
- Community or retail pharmacy
- Compounding pharmacy
- Government agencies
- Hospice and home care
- Hospital and institutional clinical practice
- Informatics and technology
- Long-term care or consultant pharmacy
- Managed care pharmacy
- Medical and scientific publishing
- Medication therapy management services
- Nuclear pharmacy
- Pharmaceutical industry
- Trade or professional associations
- Public health service or military pharmacy
- Toxicology and poison prevention
- Veterinary pharmacy
The expansion of the health care industry and an aging population has resulted in increased reliance on highly trained and skilled pharmacists. According to U.S. News and World Report, a pharmacist position ranks No. 3 on the list of 100 Best Jobs for 2013.
With a low unemployment rate, above-average upward professional mobility and a median salary of $113,390, pharmacists continue to be well-respected members of the health care team and community.