Clinical Pharmacist

Clinical pharmacists focus more on clinical work than dispensing medications compared to other pharmacists.  Many work in hospital settings and visit patients along with physicians to determine the best treatment options.  The role of a clinical pharmacist is essential because potent drugs have side effects that can be detrimental if the wrong dose is given.

A clinical pharmacist needs to document the amount of drugs given and the concentration of the drug in the patient to assure that enough drug is given to be effective and that not too much is given to be harmful.  The clinical pharmacist also needs to know about conditions in the patient that may affect the drug level.  For example, liver and kidney damage can affect the concentration of drugs in a person’s body and the pharmacist needs to determine a special dose for the unique situation.  Common areas that clinical pharmacists monitor relate to anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, infection, oncology, and mental health.

Clinical pharmacists also check for drug interactions and the appropriateness of drug use.  It isn’t uncommon for a clinical pharmacist to notice that a prescribed antibiotic isn’t effective for a particular strain of bacteria and suggest a change.

Most clinical pharmacists have a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm. D.) and 2 years of residency experience.  Since they are experienced professionals with specialized knowledge, some clinical pharmacists are affiliated with pharmacy schools and participate in educating future pharmacists.

The job as a clinical pharmacist is challenging, but can be very rewarding for pharmacists who enjoy the clinical aspects of pharmacy more than the dispensing and manufacturing parts of pharmacy.  The most important thing is to find a fit that is right for you.

Poison Control Pharmacist

Almost everyone knows someone who has eaten something by accident at one point or another and it is often hard to tell if it is safe or not.  Fortunately, we have pharmacists who work at Poison Control Centers (PCC) with the education and training to help us.

Pharmacists who work at Poison Control Centers receive calls from medical professionals and patients about drugs and toxicity.  Some calls may be from a concerned parent of a child who ingested several gummy vitamins, while other calls may be from a physician asking about the use of expired medications in an emergency situation.  The variety of calls involved puts the pharmacist in many different unique situations and is great for those who like to tackle many different challenges.  Regardless of the nature of the call, a pharmacist must use their clinical knowledge to provide the best answer and recommend appropriate treatment options if necessary.

Pharmacists Help with Drug Questions

Most Poison Control Centers are open 24 hours so rotating shifts may be necessary if you want to be a pharmacist at a Poison Control Center.  The salary is usually competitive with hospital pharmacists and may exceed $100,000 a year.  There are over 50 Poison Control Centers across the nation in the US so there is a lot of flexibility in job locations.  However, pharmacists must have the appropriate license for their state requirements.

Since poison control pharmacists are clinically oriented, a residency after pharmacy school is preferred.  Also, knowing multiple languages can help since there may be calls from people who are more comfortable speaking a foreign language.  The road to becoming a poison control pharmacist isn’t easy, but the rewards are worth it for people who enjoy helping others and solving multiple types of problems.

Industry Pharmacist

There is a variety of job roles for a pharmacist in the pharmaceutical industry. Most involve market research, regulatory affairs, and clinical development. Major pharmaceutical companies are usually located along the east and west coasts in the US so relocation may be necessary if you want to pursue a career in industry.

Industry pharmacists work with a team of professionals to bring a new drug to the market or to manage an existing drug that is already on the market. The corporate workday is usually 8-9 hours a day, but occasionally some work may be required outside of the office. Many entry level pharmacists enter the industry in drug sales, drug safety, or medical writing.

Salary for industry pharmacists in the US vary depending on position and pharmacists usually move around from one position to another in the industry. Starting salaries may begin around $70,000 a year, but there is a lot of potential for increases in the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.

To get a job as an industry pharmacist, it is important to go through a fellowship program if you are about to graduate from pharmacy school. Otherwise, you should get a few years of work experience prior to making a career switch into industry. Also, getting a job as an intern in the pharmaceutical industry will help you find a job.

There is a lot of competition for pharmaceutical industry jobs because people from various educational backgrounds can apply, but a specialized knowledge from the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) degree will help you stand out from the crowd.

Retail Pharmacist

Retail pharmacy is one of the most popular career choices for pharmacists. With a pharmacy around the corner in every major city and in most towns, retail pharmacists have the flexibility to choose to work in various different locations around the world.

Retail pharmacists have the most face to face interactions with patients and are an important part of the community. Many patients trust the judgment of their pharmacists and often ask questions about both prescription and non-prescription medications. The pharmacist checks medications prepared by technicians for adverse drug reactions and provides counseling to patients before the drug is dispensed. Many retail pharmacists also provide additional services and counsel patients on topics as diverse as blood pressure and diabetes monitoring. Additionally, many retail pharmacists now also provide immunization services for flu. The role of the retail pharmacist is constantly expanding to provide better service for patients.

Retail Pharmacist Counseling

Retail pharmacists in the US can make over $60.00 per hour with an annual salary over $120,000. A license is required to become a retail pharmacist. Check this list to view what is necessary for each state. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.

To get a job as a retail pharmacist, it is important to network during on campus recruiting events if you are still in pharmacy school. Also, getting a job as a pharmacy technician or intern at a retail pharmacy will help your chances. Many new hires start off as a floater and move between different stores, but eventually is assigned to a single store.

Retail pharmacists can advance to a pharmacist in charge (PIC) position or a management position if they are part of a large corporate chain such as CVS and Walgreens.

Hospital Pharmacist

A career in hospital pharmacy is rewarding, but competition is intense. This article will give you an idea of what the job entails and what you can do to increase your chances of landing the coveted staff pharmacist position.

Hospital pharmacists work with healthcare professionals to provide the best treatment options for patients. The pharmacist checks orders for drugs for potential side effects and drug interactions and dispenses the medications. Hospital pharmacists may also prepare IV bags and TPN solutions for infusion, oral syringes with specific doses, and creams or ointments, but in many cases the hospital pharmacist supervises pharmacy technicians for drug preparation and checks the finished product prior to dispensing to patients. At some hospitals, pharmacists also make home visits to provide patient counseling to patients that have been discharged from the hospital with medications to ensure proper use.

In the United States, hospital pharmacists can make over $53.00 per hour with an annual salary over $110,000 a year. To become a hospital pharmacist, you need a pharmacist license for the state that the hospital is located in. Licensure information for each state can be found in this list. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the growth rate of pharmacist jobs is faster than average for the future.

In addition to getting a pharmacist license, it is helpful to go through a 2 year residency program after pharmacy school to get a job at a hospital. Not only will this give you additional hands on experience, but it will also let you network with other healthcare professionals. It is also beneficial to work as a pharmacy technician during school and to learn as much about the hospital pharmacy as you can before applying for a job.

Hospital pharmacists can advance to a pharmacist in charge (PIC) position or a director of pharmacy position to take on additional responsibilities.