Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Pharmacist
Deciding what career, you wish to pursue is never easy, especially when there are so many different options out there. If you are interested in the health sector, becoming a pharmacist can be a great choice. However, it isn’t for everyone and requires an extensive skill set.
In this article, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about becoming a pharmacist so that you can see if it is the right fit for you. Sound interesting? Then keep on reading!
The role of a pharmacist can’t simply be described in a few terms. In fact, they have a lot of different responsibilities, which all require the proper training and necessary experience. One of their most primary roles is to dispense prescriptions. Since many of these are complex drugs, it’s vital that they are measured and given out appropriately. In some cases, they may even need to know what sort of drugs they can substitute with a generic brand instead.
Another aspect of the pharmacist’s job is to counsel patients and recommend over the counter medications. Whether it be a simple cold, a sore tooth, or the fact you are having trouble sleeping at night, these professionals can provide advice for small conditions that don’t require a doctor’s diagnosis.
On top of all the scientific aspects, many pharmacists are tasked with administrative duties as well. They need to manage staff, ensure all the paperwork is completed, and put through regular orders so that the store remains stocked. They certainly do a lot of tasks that keep them on their toes.
One of the most critical skills that pharmacists need is accuracy. One small mistake can have detrimental effects when you are dealing with complex drugs. Entering information and measuring may seem easy enough, but when you have a line-up of individuals waiting for their prescription, it can be extremely overwhelming. This is also why multitasking is very important. During a busy hour, you’ll need to be sorting out medications while instructing staff and entering data into the computer.
You also want to have a fair bit of patient counselling skills up your sleeve alongside all of this. You will often have individuals come in looking for advice before going in to see a doctor. They may be stressed and anxious, and it’s up to you to provide the best support possible.
Pharmacists also need to have very good communication and interpersonal skills. Not only do you have to deal with angry customers like many jobs, but you need to ensure that you can explain the potential side effects associated with some medication. All of this, including managing staff, means you will definitely need some excellent time-management skills if you are interested in this type of career.
The very first step to becoming a licensed pharmacist is to enrol in pharmacy school. The Pharm.D. degree program lasts for two years of undergraduate study and four years of graduate study. Once you have completed this, you need to then take an examination before becoming licensed to practice. This exam is called the NAPLEX, which is administered by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. There are 185 questions, and it is to ensure that you provide the most accurate and safe pharmacotherapy possible. Once completing this, you can then obtain your license. However, the process of this can vary depending on the state. Take a look at these pharmacy school rankings if you are thinking of getting started.
As of 2020, the average salary for a pharmacist in the US sits at $113,745 a year. However, those with less experience generally earn around the $101,803 mark, according to Indeed.com. Alongside the salary, many individuals that work in the health care sector get quite a few benefits, including dental, vision, and health insurance. However, this ultimately depends on your employer.
Pharmacists are a type of individual that will always be needed. However, there has been a decline in jobs recently. This is due to online and mail order pharmacies, which many people are now turning to, especially due to the recent pandemic.
While your degree is primarily for use as either a community or hospital pharmacist, it can be useful in other jobs if you choose to leave the field. For example, it may benefit those looking into clinical research, medical sales, toxicology, or regulatory affairs.
Become a pharmacist isn’t exactly a job for everyone; however, if you are looking for a clean job with great benefits in the health sector, it can certainly be something to consider. However, just make sure to ask yourself some questions first so that you can determine if it really is going to be your dream career. Four years of study is a very long time, so you want to be positive about your choice.