what does a pharmacist do?

  • job profiles
  • September 10, 2020

Pharmacists are the friendly white-coated healthcare pros who ready your medications in a host of different settings: local drugstores, nationwide grocery store chains, medical centers, hospitals, military bases — even marijuana dispensaries, in some states. As people-facing health professionals, they deliver many other services as well, often stepping in to plug critical gaps in the U.S. healthcare delivery system. The fact that many pharmacies these days offer flu shots is a case in point.

On a day-to-day basis, what are some of the major responsibilities of pharmacists?

  • expertly preparing medications based on prescriptions from physicians
  • watching out for therapeutic incompatibilities or contraindications
  • filling prescriptions and dispensing medications
  • answering questions from insurers, doctors, consumers, patients and more, often in a consultative capacity
  • fielding a variety of prescription requests
  • playing a managerial role in directing pharmacy operations
  • packaging and labeling pharmaceuticals in accord with recognized best practices
  • playing an active role in disease management and recovery processes by monitoring drug therapies
  • monitoring inventory and arranging for shipments as needed
  • providing timely advice on potential interventions, where applicable
  • keeping accurate records and reporting required information to health authorities
  • mentoring and coaching more junior colleagues and staff members
  • carrying out wide-ranging administrative and managerial responsibilities
  • staying up to date on the latest therapies as well as recommendations for various treatments

how do you become a pharmacist?

Non-pharmacists might be surprised to learn that there are only two core requirements that must be met in order to become a pharmacist. That said, fulfilling them is going to take some time — about four years, generally, at a minimum. Those requirements are as follows:

  • holding a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from an accredited educational institution, which typically requires four years to attain
  • being licensed to practice in your state (the exact requirements vary from one state to the next)

Beyond these core requirements, ongoing professional education is also key for pharmacists. After all, new medications and treatment options are constantly emerging on the market — and these people-facing health pros have to be up to date on all of it.

If that’s an area where you think that, perhaps, you could afford to brush up a bit, be sure to check out the most relevant courses for pharmacists on platforms like Udemy, our learning partner, right now. There, you’ll find everything you need to get started.

what are the key skills of a pharmacist?

With relatively little in terms of background or training to distinguish one pharmacist from the next, it stands to reason that the right soft skills can go a long way in helping you land your next great role as a pharmacist.

What soft skills should you try to highlight on your resume? Do your best to call out the following:

  • analytical and critical thinking
  • emotional intelligence (EQ)
  • empathy
  • patience
  • attentiveness to detail
  • problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities
  • baseline administrative and managerial acumen
  • interpersonal, communication and social skills

how much does a pharmacist make?

Pharmacists are a key part of the U.S. healthcare delivery system, and naturally they’re going to be well-compensated as a result. At the same time, these lab-coated professionals will likely encounter some variation in wages on the job market today, and that can be frustrating.

To help simplify things, we looked at the latest data and found that average hourly wages for pharmacists can be grouped into three tiers — low, mid and high — as follows:

  • low $53.52
  • mid $61.36
  • high $68.37

From a salary standpoint, average annual compensation can be grouped in a similar fashion, as follows, based on the latest nationwide salary data:

  • low $100,751
  • mid $113,647
  • high $122,988

Looking for a deeper-dive analysis of the latest and greatest salary data? We’ve got you covered. Just head on over to our free salary comparison tool. There, you’ll find in-depth and at-a-glance intelligence about pay rates for pharmacist roles across the U.S.

key takeaways

As we have discussed, pharmacists are highly in-demand professionals today, a fact you can see reflected in their generally high pay grade. Perhaps just as importantly, this is a role that’s effectively COVID-19-proof, too, as pharmacists have been classified as “critical essential workers” throughout the pandemic. That’s good news, because it should mean pharmacists can likely look forward to significantly higher-than-average job stability in the weeks and months to come.

To briefly recap, in this article we’ve covered:

  • what pharmacists do on a day-to-day basis
  • training, experience and other requirements for this position
  • key skills
  • salary
  • and more

Ready to land your next great role as a pharmacist? Start searching for pharmacist job openings today.