Pharmacist Job Description, Qualifications, and Outlook
Pharmacists are a very important part of the health care system. They have to fill prescriptions, help patients with their doctors’ orders, and detect therapeutic incompatibilities. The pharmacist job description also includes dispensing medication, packaging, compounding, and labeling pharmaceuticals, giving advice regarding interventions, and monitor drug therapies.
Aside from the educational requirements, there is a wide array of qualities anyone aspiring for a pharmacist job description has to possess. Regardless of whether they are an industrial pharmacist, an assistant, a hospital pharmacist, a pediatric, nuclear, ambulatory, oncology, retail, or clinical pharmacist, there are some important qualities they all must possess.
Job Overview: What Does a Pharmacist Professional Do?
While there are different responsibilities one can have as a pharmacist, depending on the industry in which they’re working, most of the basic responsibilities remain the same. A certain set of personal skills and abilities is mandatory in order to be able to perform the job well.
The job description of a pharmacist varies wildly depending on the job sector. The hospital pharmacist job description differs from the retail pharmacist job description in working hours and requirements. Still, the two share many similar responsibilities such as giving health advice.
Pharmacist Job Duties
The responsibilities of a retail pharmacist often include the following:
- Giving health advice to the customers.
- Delivering meds to clients unable to leave their house.
- Visiting shelters and care homes to give advice on how to store and use medication.
- Preparing prescription medication at the counter.
- Commercializing products, controlling and ordering the medicine stock.
- Doing administrative duties, alco training and supervising staff.
Meanwhile, those of a pharmacist working in a hospital are usually as follows:
- Giving advice on how to dose and administer medicine.
- Teaching the use of injections, tablets, and inhalers.
- Producing medicines and creating treatments when existing ones are unavailable.
- Visiting various wards and distributing medicine in the hospital.
- Providing colleagues with the latest information.
- Buying medicine and quality testing medicine.
- Supervising trainees and training junior pharmacists.
Pharmacist Job Essential Skills
Interpersonal skills. It is very important for pharmacists to have great verbal communication skills. Also, a willingness to administer medication is mandatory. Compassion and caring about people’s health and wellbeing are as well necessary for doing this job.
Management skills. Good management skills and the ability to organize and prioritize a workflow are important for this job. Also, a logical approach to problem-solving and a huge attention to details are necessary. The pharmacist has to have the capability if managing stress and the ability to analyze information. He also needs good training and supervising skills in order to manage the trainees and staff.
Knowledgeable. The pharmacist job description entails having a good knowledge of pharmacology. Also, possessing a high level of scientific understanding and good mathematics skills are mandatory in order to perform the duties of the job.
Integrity. Last, but not least, a pharmacist has to prove a responsible behavior towards his duties and the patients. Very importantly, the willingness to follow FDA Health Regulations, as well as a legal compliance and moral judgment.
Becoming a Pharmacist Professional
There are multiple career paths that somebody with a pharmacist job description can follow, particularly in retail pharmacies or drug stores and in hospitals. A 4-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy degree is mandatory to work in the field, as is being licensed. Getting licensed is impossible without first passing two exams.
Qualifications and Training
Seeing as the job comes with such a high pay grade, it’s understandable that all of the pharmacist job descriptions come with serious prerequisites. So, unless one is willing to invest a great deal of time and money into their education on the long term, it’s unlikely that they will be able to obtain any pharmacist jobs.
While in the UK the usual pharmacist job description requires a one-year pre-registration training course held in a pharmacy, a four-year Master of Pharmacy degree, as well as a registration exam, things look a bit differently in the US. Regardless of whether one is following a path towards obtaining a clinical pharmacist job description or any other one in the field, the following requirements have to first be met:
- graduating from a Doctor of Pharmacy program (community colleges work just as well)
- a 1 or 2-year residency
- a license in pharmacy skills and knowledge
- a license in pharmacy law
- a number of hours spent as an intern
- vaccination certification (optional, depending on the state)
- additional courses and certifications (also optional)
While theoretically one could easily get hired as a pharmacist after completing all of their education requirements, the high job competition makes that nearly impossible. Most employers prefer employees with experience, and a large number of courses and training programs makes getting hired in the profession even more difficult.
There are a great many courses, classes, and training programs which pharmacists can go through in order to get more experience. And to get specialized in a field (i.e. hospital pharmacy), or to increase their chances of getting a job. Fortunately, these can be found easily, and their costs are usually fluctuating.
Seeing as the pharmacy technician is usually in charge of the more mundane parts of the pharmacist job description, a pharmacist’s work hours are usually shorter than those of the tech. What that means is that most pharmacists work on average 37.5 hours per week.
However, despite the generally short schedules, pharmacists are usually either part of an on-call rotation or they work in shifts. This means that weekends and holidays can very easily be work days, as can nights. It all depends on the employer and on the industry in which the pharmacist is working.
Job Outlook & Advancement Opportunities
Because of multiple factors such as the complex education requirements, long training times, the expanse of nontraditional pharmacies, and the continued development of drug store chains, the employment of pharmacists is only projected to grow by 3% by 2024, much slower than the national average for all professions.
Some of the pharmacists which will suffer the most from this slow employment growth are those looking for jobs in traditional pharmacies. Hospital pharmacists will see a faster employment increase because of the constant need for specialists in that particular work environment.
If you ever wondered how much does a pharmacist make you need to know that the median annual wage for a pharmacist is more than four times the minimum wage, even though that is so, the job outlook isn’t all that favorable. The fact that someone with the pharmacist job description has so many career paths and such a high salary makes the low employment rates a risk worth taking.
One of the most important professions in health care, people with the pharmacist job description well deserve their high salaries. With their many years spent in the education system and with the lives of their patients hanging on the line, the dedication and responsibility pharmacists have to own up to are definitely some of the highest out there.