Pharmacists hold a very important role in the healthcare industry. They fill prescriptions and answer customers' questions about medicines. They need to be knowledgeable about a wide range of medications in order to prevent drug interactions, and educate patients about possible side effects. In the United States, a person must complete a Doctor of Pharmacy program after completing a four-year undergraduate program. Because of the aging US population, and the resulting health care claims, the need for pharmacists is increasing.
Pharmacists dispense prescription medications, provide patients with information about their medications, and they also assist patients in choosing appropriate over-the-counter medications. A pharmacist must have a strong knowledge base about the composition of medicines, the chemical and the physical properties of medicines, and knowledge of how these medicines will work in a person's body. Since many pharmacies are now carrying medical equipment, most pharmacists will also need to know how to educate their patients on how to operate the equipment. In addition, in order for pharmacists to stay compliant with the laws in their states they must be able to keep comprehensive records about all the medications that they have dispensed.
Most pharmacists work in the retail environment. This includes drugstores, grocery stores, some warehouse type stores, and some discount department stores. However, they can also be employed in hospitals, some doctors' offices, research firms, public health departments, and even the military hires pharmacists.
In order to be a pharmacist in the United States, a person must complete a four-year Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. Earning this degree requires a person to complete four years worth of classroom work and research study. Some doctorate programs include hospitalization programs, which allow students to gain experience or allow them to participate in a research project. When a person has completed the educational program he or she will then be allowed to take the licensing examinations that are required by each state.
The average starting salary for a newly graduated pharmacist is approximately $ 81,000 a year. By the time a pharmacist has around five years worth of experience he or she can expect to earn about $ 97,000 a year. Those pharmacists that are employed by larger organizations, this includes hospitals and some retail chains, have the potential to earn around $ 105,000 a year. Individuals employed by pharmacies in smaller towns usually make less, averaging around $ 80,000 a year.
The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects the job outlook for pharmacists to be excellent. This is due to the fact that people are living longer and the fact that there is more emphasis placed on preventive health care than had been in the past. Because of this most pharmacists can expect to be able to find employment almost anywhere they want and in almost any type of environment they choose.
The long-term job outlook for pharmacists is very promising. Due to the rigorous educational demands that a pharmacist must meet, an individual, first starting out in this career, can expect to earn a very decent annual salary. Pharmacists are a valuable part of the healthcare industry because of their ability to dispense prescription medications and educate patients about their use.