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What are the Different Pharmacist Jobs?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2016
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There are several different pharmacist jobs available to those looking for a meaningful career in the health services field. With the appropriate level of education and training, one can find work as a pharmacist in retail settings, hospitals, universities, or research institutions. New opportunities for pharmacist jobs are constantly being created due to an expanding global population and the resulting need for new medications and drug therapies.

Retail pharmacists typically work in drug stores and grocery stores. Their primary task is to fill prescription orders, though they also play a vital role in patient care by providing information and advice to customers. Retail pharmacists must be very knowledgeable about a wide range of both prescription and over-the-counter medications, so that they can answer customers' questions and recommend appropriate products to treat various illnesses and ailments. Retail pharmacists often work long hours, which can include overnight shifts, weekends, and holidays.

Clinical pharmacists in hospitals, health clinics, and nursing homes often work directly with doctors to determine which medications are appropriate for specific patients. They counsel doctors and patients about different types of drugs and treatment plans available. After drugs are administered, they monitor patient reactions and, when necessary, formulate long-term medication regimens. In order to provide the best possible care to patients, many clinical pharmacists specialize in certain areas, such as cardiac health, cancer medicine, psychiatric medicine, or geriatrics. Clinical pharmacists often work long shifts, including nights and weekends, and may be placed on-call to deal with emergency situations.

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Many research universities and pharmaceutical companies provide alternatives to clinical and retail pharmacist jobs. They frequently employ pharmacists to research new drugs and treatments before they are made widely available to the public. Research pharmacists study the chemical composition of existing drugs and experiment with new compounds to develop potentially marketable medications. In addition, some are put in charge of organizing and conducting clinical trials to test the effectiveness of new medicines. Research pharmacists typically work long but steady hours.

To be eligible for pharmacist jobs in any setting, a person must graduate from an accredited pharmacy school, often complete several hundred hours of practical training, and pass a series of licensing exams. Once licensing is obtained, many people find that pharmacist jobs are readily available. There is an ever-expanding need for qualified people to research, test, distribute, and monitor new medicines and treatments. More pharmacists are needed to ensure that a growing number of people will have access to quality care.

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robbie21
Post 3

@starrynight - Getting a job with just a liberal arts bachelors can be tough, but remember that becoming a pharmacist requires a doctoral degree. Even to get into pharmacy school, you must have met a lot of prerequisites, almost as if you were going to med school - you might have to take organic chemistry, for instance!

Pharmacist job openings are plentiful, but you don't have to pursue a doctoral degree to have a lucrative and satisfying career in the health professions. Anything from phlebotomy (an eight-week course plus an internship) to advanced practicing nursing or physician assistant (master's degree) is an option. And almost all health care positions are pretty sought-after.

JaneAir
Post 2

@starrynight - A lot of people in the medical field work weird hours. Patients can get sick or have an accident at any hour, after all!

In this field, it sounds like you should work as a research pharmacist if you want to work steady hours. Also, research pharmacists don't deal directly with patients, which I would consider a bonus. I'm not a big people person myself.

I think it's cool there are so many options in this field though. Retail pharmacy work where you deal directly with patients, clinical pharmacy where you work closely with doctors, and research pharmacy where you research.

starrynight
Post 1

This sounds like a great field to go into. Imagine having a job readily available when you finish school! When I finished my bachelors degree, it was not easy for me to find a job in my field.

I do think it would stink to have to work nights and holidays though. The pharmacy near my house is a 24 hour pharmacy! They don't even close for holidays! This is great if you're sick, but not so great for the poor pharmacist who has to work on, say, New Years Eve!

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