A pharmacists main duty is to distribute prescription medications to individuals. Compounding the medication is also a part of their day to day job duties, which is the mixing of the different ingredients to make the drug. However, they also help to advise their customers about the drugs that are being prescribed to them, such as dosages, interaction with other drugs, potential side effects and to answer any other questions the patient may have. Pharmacists also counsel their customers on the use of over-the-counter medicines, and can provide information on general health topics, including diet and exercise.
Pharmacist Job Responsibilities
The majority of pharmacists work within the community, such as at a private pharmacy or one within a local retail chain. They can also work in healthcare facilitates, such as within a hospital. A pharmacist may also work within the veterinary field, by administering medications to the veterinarians they work for.
Pharmacists may also work in a research setting, and help in the development of new drugs. This will include testing them, studying them for safety as well as any possible interactions they may have with other drugs. Many pharmacists work with agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration to help perform the necessary safety test on the new medications that are awaiting approval.
Pharmacist Training and Education Requirements
Pharmacists who wish to work as a pharmacist in the US must first earn a pharmacy degree from either an accredited college or from a school of pharmacy. Before the applicant is admitted to the pharmacy program, they must have first completed 2 years of pre-requisites. This will include classes in math, chemistry, biology, physics, social sciences and natural sciences.
The pharmacy program require 4 years to complete. These classes are designed for students to learn about every aspect of drug therapy, as well as how to communicate with the public about all drug information. Students who work in the pharmacy field will also learn about public health and business management skills, and will work both within the classroom and with licensed pharmacists in a controlled practice setting.
Many pharmacists go on to obtain a master’s degree in business administration, while some may also go for an extra degree in public health or administration.
Pharmacist Salary and Wages
A pharmacy technician can enjoy a very good salary once a degree is completed. In the year 2006, around 285,000 jobs were held by pharmacy technicians nationwide. Most pharmacists worked within retail settings, and the rest worked within hospital settings or with mail-order pharmacy companies. Job outlook is expected to remain good throughout the year 2016.
A pharmacy technician is also able to work administrative duties which are typically performed by pharmacy aides. This includes answering phones, operating the cash register and more. This can make them even more desirable to potential employers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average mean annual earning in 2007 was $27, 560 for a certified pharmacy technician. The highest wages were earned from those who worked with the Federal government, with annual wages of about $36,590. Different geographical locations may also come into play for salary for pharmacy technicians looking for employment.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Those who wish to practice pharmaceutical skills in the United States must first obtain their license to do so. This must be obtained from a college or a pharmacy that has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Once the pharmacy degree has been obtained, the student must then pass a series of different examinations. Every state will require the individual to pass the North American Pharmacist Licensure Exam, or the NAPLEX. Other states may require additional testing, such as the Multistte Pharmacy Jurisprudence Exam. Every jurisdiction will require the student to complete a specific amount of hours working in a practice setting. In most areas, this can be performed while the student is in class for the pharmacy degree.
The National Pharmacy Technician Association, or NPTA, is one of the biggest professional associations dedicated strictly for pharmacy technicians. It is open for all those who have a degree, as well as students and teachers. Members enjoy update on the newest drugs, information on continuing education and more.
Additionally, the American Association of Pharmacy Technicians represents the interest of both their pharmacy technician members, as well as to the public and health care organizations. They help to provide information on safety concerning the dispensing and distributing of both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, as well as offer continuing education programs. These programs can help technicians in the pharmacy field keep their skills updated and learn about any new advancements in the pharmacy field.
Pharmacists must always further their educational skills, as new and improved drugs hit the market all the time. Keeping up-to-date on the latest advancements will in turn help those looking for a new job improve their chances of being hired.