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Promoting health through medicine and consultation

Pharmacies are located in community settings like drug, grocery and department stores as well as in hospitals and ambulatory settings like surgery centers.

Although the pharmacy is routinely a place where medication is dispensed, the role of the pharmacy has evolved dramatically over the past 25 years. In addition to their primary responsibility of filling prescriptions with precision, pharmacists also:

  • Determine if a patient’s prescription will interact adversely with other drugs that the patient is taking.
  • Provide patient education on how to properly take prescribed medicine and advise on possible side effects.
  • Provide routine clinical services like vaccinations
  • Interact with insurers and other healthcare providers to be sure that patients get the medication that they need.
  • Advise patients on diet, exercise, and managing stress.

Careers in pharmacy

  • Retail pharmacist
  • Pharmacy technician: Work under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist while carrying out many pharmacy-related tasks. Pharmacy technicians typically have either an associate’s degree or have completed a certified technician program.
  • Clinical pharmacist: Involved in direct patient care, typically in a hospital or healthcare setting. Work closely with doctors on prescribing medications and counseling patients on appropriate use.
  • Consultant pharmacists: Improve efficiency in pharmacy services by consulting with healthcare facilities or with insurance providers.
  • Pharmaceutical scientist: Working in a lab environment, pharmaceutical scientists research, test, and manufacture new medications. Typically, a master’s degree or higher is required.

What does the future hold for careers in pharmacy?

Pharmacy is considered to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of healthcare in the United States. Job opportunities in this sector are expected to increase by 25 percent until 2020. In part, this is a result of significant advancements in the development of new medicines and the expected increase in insurance coverage for medication.

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An Initiative of

This website was funded in part by Workforce STAT (Skills, Talent, Awareness, Training): Transforming Regional Capacity for Healthcare Education, Grant # CB18820. Workforce STAT was a $1.66 million Community Based Job Training Initiative through the U.S. Department of Labor. The website is also funded in part by a Healthcare Skills Gap Partnership grant through the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The grant program was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and administered by Commonwealth Corporation.