While it is easy to assume that pharmacists spend their days counting out pills and dropping them into little bottles, the pharmacy profession has dozens of interesting and high-paced specialties that are anything but boring. There are currently hundreds of thousands of pharmacy jobs available and the U.S. Department of Labor suggests that the demand for licensed pharmacists will only increase. If you have a passion for helping and educating others, then becoming a pharmacist is something you might want to consider.
Getting Into Pharmacy School
The process of getting into a pharmacy program alone can provide several interesting educational and career options in the sciences and healthcare fields. While many students decide to work strictly on their pharmacy school prerequisites, others decide also to pursue undergraduate degrees in areas such as nutrition and dietetics, psychology and biological sciences. Some students may also take this opportunity to pursue pharmacy technician jobs and internships to explore some of the many pharmacy specialties awaiting them in pharmacy school.
There are dozens of specialties that offer exciting career options outside of the retail pharmacy industry. Compounding pharmacists work with patients who may have allergies to certain components in a medicine and create new drugs specific to their patient's needs. Pharmacists interested in working with patients diagnosed with cancer or other severe illnesses that require the use of radioactive materials may find a home in the practice of nuclear pharmacy. Nutritional support pharmacists work with a team of dietitians and nutritionists to develop nutritional and medical treatment plans for patients who cannot eat by traditional means. Finally, those with a passion for teaching may pursue a career as an academic pharmacist and teach at one of the colleges of pharmacy across the country.
Regardless of their specialty, many pharmacists will find employment in retail stores, private pharmacies and hospitals. Because many pharmacists work in establishments that may provide urgent or emergency care, pharmacists can expect to work some nights, weekends and holidays. Like physicians, some pharmacists will spend some off-days being on-call for services within their facility.
Gender Pay Gap
In 2013, Forbes magazine ranked pharmacy as the top-paying profession for women in the U.S. The pharmacy profession is also one of the handful of careers nation-wide that boasts a near-equal pay rate for both men and women. In the same study, Forbes reported that women comprise approximately fifty-two percent of all pharmacists and earn approximately ninety-eight thousand dollars per year.
Anthony Oster is a licensed professional counselor who earned his Master of Science in counseling psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has served as a writer and lead video editor for a small, South Louisiana-based video production company since 2007. Oster is the co-owner of a professional photography business and advises the owner on hardware and software acquisitions for the company.