Careers in Pharmacy
For more information about exploring career options in Pharmacy at Mayo Clinic, visit our Mayo Clinic Human Resources Department.
Or learn about the daily work life of a Mayo Clinic pharmacist.
Choose a program
Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE)
Pharmacists are experts on the properties and proper use of medicines. They consult with physicians and other health care practitioners on drug selection, dosage, interactions and potential side effects. Pharmacists are licensed to dispense prescribed medicines, and they advise patients on how to correctly use and benefit from their medications.
Pharmacists are trained in the composition of drugs and, when necessary, may compound medicines, mixing chemical ingredients to form powders, tablets, capsules, ointments or solutions.
Even though they often rely upon pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides to assist them, pharmacists are responsible for the accuracy of every prescription that is filled. Thus, the pharmacist may delegate prescription-filling and administrative tasks and supervise their completion.
Pharmacists work in a variety of settings, including community retail drug stores, hospitals, clinics, home health care environments and research facilities. Pharmacists in hospitals and clinics dispense medications and advise medical staff. They assess, plan and monitor drug regimens, and counsel patients on how to take their medications when they are discharged from the hospital. Pharmacists also may evaluate drug therapy patterns and outcomes for patients. Some pharmacists specialize in specific drug therapy areas, such as intravenous nutrition support, oncology (cancer) and pharmacotherapy (the treatment of disorders with medicines). Certain pharmacists help patients manage conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, smoking cessation or high blood pressure.
In community or retail pharmacies, pharmacists counsel patients, answering questions about prescription drug reactions and interactions. They provide information and recommendations on over-the-counter drugs, durable medical equipment and home health-care supplies. Those who own or manage community pharmacies may sell non-medical merchandise, hire and supervise personnel, and oversee the business operations.
Nontraditional pharmacy work includes teaching in pharmacy programs, conducting research for pharmaceutical manufacturers, developing benefit packages for health insurance companies or working for pharmacy associations.
Across the United States, according to the US Department of Labor, pharmacists held 243,000 jobs in 2006. About six out of 10 worked in community pharmacies. About 23 percent of salaried pharmacists worked in hospitals, and others worked in clinics, mail-order and Internet pharmacies, pharmaceutical wholesalers, home health-care agencies or the federal government.
Employment of pharmacists is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2006 and 2016 which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This is due to the increased pharmaceutical needs of a larger and older population and greater use of medications. The growing numbers of middle-aged and elderly people — who, on average, use more prescription drugs than do younger people — will continue to spur demand for pharmacists in all practice settings. Other factors likely to increase the demand for pharmacists include medical and scientific advances that will make more drugs available, new developments in genomic research and medication distribution systems, and increasingly sophisticated consumers seeking more information about drugs.
The annual earnings of pharmacists in 2007 ranged from $88,000 to $125,000 a year. The mean income for pharmacists in 2007 was $107,403 according to a Drug Topics magazine survey.
In addition to traditional benefits, such as health care insurance, and paid vacations and holidays, many pharmacists receive compensation through bonuses, overtime and profit sharing.
Visit the following Web sites to learn more about pharmacy:
Mayo Clinic does not own or control any of these sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of these sites does not imply endorsement from Mayo Clinic.