Healthcare services industry has no dearth of employment opportunities. There are good job prospects for candidates who want to become pharmacists. Though pharmacists may need to work long hours, the career proves to be a profitable one. Some of the pharmacist may also work at weekends and during holidays. The major role of pharmacists is to dispense drugs to patients as prescribed the physician. In addition to providing information about the use of prescribed medications, pharmacists are also responsible for monitoring the progress of patients. These professionals also guide patients about the effective use of medication and their side-effects.

Job Description
Pharmacists who are employed in healthcare facilities work closely with the medical staff. Not only they monitor the progress of patients and guide them, but they also advise the medical staff on how to select medications and what their effects are. Right from the time patients are in the hospital till they are discharged, pharmacists keep them giving advice on the use and effects of the prescribed medications. Pharmacists are also responsible for the assessment, planning and monitoring the drug regiment and the drug programs.

Those are interested in a pharmacist career can also choose to specialize in specific drug therapy areas including nuclear pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy, oncology, psycho pharmacotherapy and intravenous nutrition support among others. Pharmacists also work in close contact with pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aides who help them in the dispensing of medication.

Today, a good number of pharmacists prefer to pursue non-traditional pharmacy work. There are different areas of work where they are employed. Some of these professionals are involved in research work where they formulate new drugs and identify their effects on people. Research work is available with pharmaceutical manufacturers. There are others who are employed in the area of sales and marketing where they provide expert knowledge on the use of drugs and their effectiveness. Employment opportunities for pharmacists are also available in healthcare association companies, government associations, pharmacy associations. Apart from this, some of the pharmacists also work as college faculty busy teaching and doing extensive research work.

Educational Requirement & Training
To work as a pharmacist, candidates need to be formally trained. Today, there are several pharmacy colleges and professional schools offering degree programs in pharmacy. The Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy), which takes 4 years to complete, is the standard requirement to make a successful career in pharmaceutical field. During the degree program, students are trained in dispensing of prescriptions, communication with patients, drug information, patient care etc. Whichever state you may be a resident, you will need to obtain a license to practice as a pharmacist. A graduate degree from a pharmacy college and passing an examination are required to acquire the pharmacist license. If you are living in the United States, you must ensure that the pharmacy degree program you get enrolled into is accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE).

The graduate study pharmaceutics, pharmaceutical chemistry and pharmacology. Besides having a degree in pharmacy, candidates also need to possess scientific aptitude, good communication skills and a keen interest to help others and see their lives improve.

Career Prospects
Abundant career opportunities await pharmacists. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth rate for pharmacist jobs is expected to grow at a faster rate than the average of all occupations through to the year 2012. As the elderly population increases, the use of medication increases as well. Jobs can be landed in hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical wholesalers, home healthcare agencies, research, sales, marketing, production, pharmaceutical manufacturing etc. The role of pharmacists is being emphasized in both primary and private health services.

Annual Salary
Pharmacists earn an annual salary between the range of $66,210 and $87,250. Those who are employed in grocery stores earn around $78,270 annually. Pharmacists working in health and personal care stores earn an annual salary of around $76,800. With growing experience and skills, the salary can be as high as $94,570 per year or more.

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