healthcare is becoming more complex day by day. america's aging population is in need of more prescription drugs. scientific advances are leading to the development of new drugs, and more people than ever before are now on multiple medications. this is fuelling the demand for properly trained pharmacists.
the fact that this line of profession has an excellent job outlook is attracting more and more people into this field. the u.s. bureau of labor statistics (bls) has predicted the growth rate of 25% for employment in this occupation from 2010 through 2020. this is much faster than the average for all occupations. job growth and pay is quite good for a pharmacist. salary package is determined by experience, work hours, and the type of employment industry. in may 2010, their median annual wage was $111,570.
in order to become a pharmacist, you will need a doctor of pharmacy degree (pharm. d.). this will generally take four years to complete. the first two years of the degree focus on building a sound base in physical, biological, and chemical sciences. the last two years concentrate on mechanisms of diseases and drug action. students will study courses in pharmacology, chemotherapy, pathology, medical ethics, and therapeutics. the program also includes supervised work experiences in the last year of study in settings such as community clinics, retail pharmacies, and hospitals.
admission into this program requires applicants to have studied postsecondary courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and anatomy. the pharmacy college admissions test (pcat) is also required. further education and training is required if you want to apply for a research or clinical pharmacy position. you will have to complete a residency program that lasts for about one to two years after you have completed the pharm. d program. in addition to this, all states require pharmacists to be licensed. for this they will have to pass two examinations. one of the exams will test the applicants' pharmacy skills and knowledge in general, and the other will be about state specific pharmacy laws.
what are the job responsibilities?
their main responsibility is to advise patients on the safe use of medications. pharmacists are employed in hospitals, physicians' offices, outpatient care centers, retail pharmacies, and nursing homes. they verify the exact dosage from the physicians, and check for any possible drug interaction or adverse reactions by analyzing patients' conditions and other medicines that are being taken. they may further educate patients on the proper intake of medicines, as well as on any possible side effects that can be expected. close work is required with the insurance companies to ensure timely dissipation of medicines. not all pharmacists are involved in the dispensation of medicines however. universities and pharmaceutical manufacturers hire pharmacists and involve them in researching and testing the latest medications. clinical and consultant pharmacists also have a more specialized role.