Top 10 Career Paths in Pharmacy

Pharmacy is a health care profession which prioritizes the provison of quality care to patients. It is a diverse field, allowing room for innovations of any kind.  Depending on where the pharmacist chooses to practise, they get to take on more specialized roles. In community and hospital Pharmacy, they get to validate patients prescriptions, and dispense over-the-counter medications. They handle movement of drugs from one place to another, as well as procurement and storage. They fill in prescriptions, and ensure drugs are safe. They are required to show empathy in their dealings with the patients, and a superior knowledge of pharmaceuticals, as they are the drug experts. If you would like to learn more about the career paths in pharmacy, consider taking a free online course.

Pharmacy is such a great field, as it allows you explore a lot of exciting opportunities. You could work in a number of areas, such as community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, industrial pharmacy, in research and development, in laboratories, or companies dealing with food, in academia, or in communicatios via social media, radios, journals etc. A brief overview of the specialized roles of pharmacies in different fields is below:

Clinical pharmacists:  they work in healthcare settings – primary, secondary or tertiary healthcare. This is one of the recent advancements of pharmacy, together with consultant pharmacy. They are more involved in the patient outcome as opposed to when dispensing was the goal of pharmacy. They go on wardrounds with other healthcare providers, and collaborate to achieve pharmaceutical healthcare. They oversee the patients health, provide drug information to the team, ensure right dosages of the right medicine are given at the right time, while considering the economic implication to that patient. They also keep a tab on the patients file, and records.

Consultant pharmacists: these pharmacists have taken on bigger roles by virtue of the advanced learning processes they’ve undergone. They majorly advise wherever it is needed. This could be directly to the patients, or to organizations, or healthcare facilities, rehabilitation centres, nursing homes etc. They ensure these groups understand medication use thoroughly, as well as ways to improve their health, or manage several conditions. They could also work in a hospital or as long-term care pharmacists where they prescribe treatments for different illnesses as a way to ensure each person lives an optimum life.

Pharmacists in Academia: if passing on knowledge is something dear to you, then you are in the right place. You could lecture and oversee the training of pharmacy students. You could also be a coach, and attend events where you lecture people on the contributions of pharmacy to the world, and ways to make even more contributions. You get to advice young pharmacists, and get them started on the right career paths to follow. Even more, you could work on research, which could range from little work done in your faculty laboratory, to a big scale job where you come up.with an award-winning or world-saving innovation.

Medical Communications Pharmacist: This is sort of linked to academia. You might want to do more than teaching budding pharmacists or pharmacy students. Your interest might be to reach a much wider audience, covering the general public as well as other healthcare professionals on all things pharmaceuticals. This area allows you educate using social media, books, journals, magazines, brochures, pamphlets, videos, to educate all and sundry on pharmaceutical products, and ways to get the best out of them.

Research and Development phatmacists: This is also linked to academia, and the industry, and is where innovation in pharmacy really occurs. The pharmacists in R&D work to better pharmaceuticals. They evaluate already existing ones, devise new means to create better ones, or ones that suit more people, develop new dosage forms, make completely new drugs, and carry out various tests on them to ensure their efficacy, all within the confines of the law, and ethics of the profession.

Community Pharmacists: this is one of the highest paying pharmacy jobs, and one of the most common too. It could be a private ownership, or just work in a general community. They are required to be highly vast in the topic of pharmaceuticals. They fill prescriptions, dispense medications, cover managerial roles, and handle all the inventory in the pharmacy. They are the first point of call for most patientss, hence it’s highly expedient that they are knowledgeable and have great communication skills to pass information on drug use, drug interactions, counselling etc.. They are also required to provide certain primary care services such as simple testing -blood pressure, blood sugar, adminstration of injectibles, prescription of medications, small scale compunding  etc.

Industrial pharmacists: several industries depend on pharmacists to work on drug or dosage form design, conduct clinical trials, devise marketing and sales strategies, assist in research and development, or oversee the quality control and/or quality assurance unitts of the industry.

Food and Drug Agency Pharmacists:  they work in a food and drug agency, ensuring safety and rational drug use. They get to monitor the drug cycle starting from the procurement, and ending with the use of these drugs. They pay attention to formulation, storage, dispensing etc. They could also work in laboratories there, testing to see the components of drugs and ensure zero contamination is permitted, or no ounterfeit drugs are imported or exported

If you’re interested in something more unique, check out thesee are less-followed paths:

NASA pharmacists: they get to collaborate with other professionals and figure out the effect of different medications in space, prepare medication kits including emergency drugs, and provide recommendations whenever it’s needed.

Nuclear pharmacists: they focus on radioactive medications – use, storage, compounding, dispensing and research on it. They are trained in radiation safety, and seek out ways to utilize radioactive drugs in healthcare provision.

Poison Control Pharmacists: Pharmacists could also serve as toxicology specialists in the poison control field. They ensure safe and effective use of drugs by educating various groups through provision of necessary drug information. They also handle cases of poison ingestion, or exposure.

Mail Service Pharmacy: telehealth is gradually gaining momentum, and moving past simple counselling or provision of drug information. These days, people are fast buying into the idea of receiving their medications by mail order, after speaking to a pharmacist about their condition. The pharmacist gets to fulfil basic pharmaceutical duties over the phone. They listen to the patient, counsel them, prescribe or fill their prescriptions and send them over, after ensuring they understand the use and side effects of the medication.

QUALIFICATIONS: With the continuously expanding field, most countries require the minimum degree to be pharmD for advanced positions, except you’re interested in being an entry-level clerk. Depending on your country of study, you’d need 3-4 years of professional training, after the basic training of 2-4 years. Some schools admit undergraduate students straight away for 6 years. You could also combine your application for a PharmD with an MBA or other Master’s courses you’re interested in.

A pharmacist is required to have excellent communication skills as they frequently have to interact with other members of the medical team, as well as the patients. They also require managerial skills, as well as basic accounting knowledge as they have to carry out inventory and balance accounts. Analytical skills come in handy for patient evaluation.

Depending on the country, you are required to write licensing exams, and follow up on continuous training to keep up.with current trends. You could also take specialized trainings to further advance your career, such as residency training, fellowships and certificate examinations.

SALARY: Seeing as there are many career paths for a Pharmacist to take, the salaries earned differ. However, the average basic wage for pharmacists in the United States is $113,853 per annum. On a general level though, Pharmacists are paid quite well in most countries of the world, as they are crucial to the functioning of the health system